Heat Networks - building a market framework

Topics:
Consultation opened on 12 January 2022. Closing date 13 February 2022 at 17:00.

Summary

The Department for the Economy is seeking views on proposals to introduce new legislation that will provide greater consumer protections for people connected to heat networks and support the growth of the heat network sector.

Documents

Consultation description

Heat networks can provide a crucial element of the path towards decarbonising heat. In the right circumstances, they can reduce bills, support local regeneration and can be a cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions from heating. In this consultation, proposals are set out to drive forward low-carbon heat networks’ growth in a regulatory framework that protects consumers and ensures fair pricing.

In this consultation, it is proposed to introduce a regulatory framework that would introduce greater oversight and enforcement powers in relation to quality of service, provision of information and pricing arrangements for all domestic heat network consumers. Options are also explored for ensuring networks are built to robust technical standards. Because of the limited numbers of heat networks, it is proposed to use an authorisation regulatory model for consumer protection rather than a licensing model.

Proposed future legislation would build on the UK Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014, which place legal obligations on organisations operating heat networks. This includes a requirement for all heat network operators to submit a notification to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) when a heat network becomes operational, and every four years thereafter. Heat network operators must also install metering devices on heat networks where this is required.

Further information on the UK Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 and the notification process can be found at Regulations: heat networks (metering and billing).

Ways to respond

Email -
DfEHeatpolicy@economy-ni.gov.uk
Write to -
Heat Policy Team
Department for the Economy
Netherleigh
Massey Avenue
Belfast
BT4 2JP

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