ADE welcomes CMA study into heat networks

ADE welcomes CMA study into heat networks

08 December 2017

Channel: Research & Development

The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) has welcomed the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) study into domestic heat networks.

The market study announcement coincided with Government survey results which revealed heat network customers on average pay £100 less than gas customers and enjoy similar satisfaction and reliability.

The value of heat networks as a low carbon, secure and cost efficient energy source has been recognised by Government in its Clean Growth Strategy and the number of customers connected to heat networks is expected to grow significantly.

According to ADE, the market study and survey reaffirms Government's commitment to growing the heat network market and to do so having carefully considered the experience of existing customers and armed with the CMA findings and recommendations.

ADE Director Dr Tim Rotheray (pictured) said industry had already been working with Government to ensure heat network customers had strong protection and it was positive to see Government carrying out its own independent research and investigation.

"The heat network industry has been proactive in raising standards publishing a Code of Practice setting out minimum standards and best practice in 2015.

"As noted by the CMA, the ADE has also been leading a Task Force to consider how to ensure that heat networks can increase investment and that customers receive good service and a fair deal.

"The Task Force was created in March to consider how to build on the existing customer protection scheme, Heat Trust, including important issues such as heat pricing, contract length and contract structure - areas which Heat Trust is not permitted by law to address.

"We will publish our findings in early 2018 and we welcome the opportunity to support the CMA with its investigation."

Dr Rotheray said the Government survey results were positive and highlighted the work by industry to drive up standards.  

"It is excellent that Government's survey has found that on average heat network customers are paying less than those on gas.

"This report demonstrates that heat networks can alleviate fuel poverty at the same time as move to a low carbon energy system.

"The finding that heat network customers and non-heat network customers have equal levels satisfaction and reliability for heating as those using gas is welcome and the industry is continuing work to drive up standards through the independent Heat Trust and work on heat network building standards."

DISCUSSION

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Lily Frencham, senior policy manager at the Association for Decentralised Energy, on why the CMA and industry agree that customer protection is imperative.

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Community and district heating specialist Switch2 Energy has welcomed proposals to regulate the heat network sector by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has called for regulation of the heat network industry and says that Ofgem is best placed to be the regulator.