Price benchmarking tool will force heat suppliers to ‘step up’

Heat Trust has today launched a calculator which allows heat network customers to compare the cost of their heating against the typical gas boiler.

Price benchmarking tool will force heat suppliers to ‘step up’

The Trust has launched the tool to improve transparency in the sector on the price breakdown of heat network bills.

All heat suppliers that have registered heat networks with Heat Trust will be required to inform their customers that the Heat Cost Calculator is available.

Its head of scheme, Bindi Patel, said the increased transparency will be an opportunity for suppliers to “step up” and ensure fair pricing across the industry.

But she added the tool would also act as a “trigger point” for increased engagement between customers and suppliers.

SSE Heat Networks, one of the founding members of the heat trust, told Utility Week that most enquiries from customers on heat networks are for a bill breakdown, with 10 customer representatives specially assigned to the task.

SSE Heat Networks’ director of heat Mike Reynolds said it is helpful to have a third party provide the information, but is unsure of the level of use the tool will receive among customers.

“A lot of customers don’t care, but for those that do, it’s important the information is there,” he told Utility Week.

Reynolds warned that the tool can only be used as a benchmark rather than an accurate comparison as it does not take into account operational costs.

He said the calculator is an “excellent first tool” but it will need to adapt to technology changes and an increasing diversification between individual heat networks, making them increasingly difficult to compare.

Currently only customers on new schemes will individual meters can get an accurate comparison against a gas boiler system.

The Heat Trust expects to expand the calculator to include electric heating, which in many cases is a more accurate comparison, next year.


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