Switch2 has published a free e-guide entitled “How to Charge for Communal Heating”, including advice on new regulations and recommendations for metering and billing.
The 2014 Heat Network Regulations include the strong recommendation that by December 2016 consumers should know how much heat they are using, which would require the installation of meters for each final customer. This is in line with recommendations from Which? The consumer body states that residents should receive clear and accurate information on district heating pricing.
The guide covers the steps scheme managers should follow in introducing final customer metering, including the initial consultation and communication phases and how to select metering technology and automatic meter reading systems. Key considerations in commissioning and billing, including use of next generation pay-as-you-go metering, are also covered.
Kirsty Lambert, Director of community heating metering and billing specialist Switch2, said: “The majority of district heating schemes don’t have heat meters and bill on a flat-rate charge each month, no matter how much heat residents use. This is both unfair and wasteful because there is no incentive to reduce consumption. In our experience, residents prefer a transparent system where they can see how much energy they are using and what it is costing them.
“New generation pay-as-you-go meters are helping residents to cut heat and hot water bills by as much as 50%, which is helping to tackle fuel poverty, while eliminating debt risk for heat scheme operators. Sheffield City Council has used this technology to cut tenants’ heating bills by an average of £238 over the first 12 months of operation. There are many practical and legislative arguments for installing meters and considering modern pay-as-you-go technologies for district heating schemes. Our best practice guide shows how.”
The guide covers the steps community and district heating suppliers, such as developers and landlords, should take to develop compliant metering systems that adhere to best practice and can help reduce heating and hot water bills by as much as 50%.