The Independent Heat Customer Protection Scheme is a new initiative in the UK, designed to protect the interests of householders and businesses connected to district heat networks in the UK, Frontline Energy are supportive of the implementation of this scheme in the UK and hope to see a similar scheme being formed in Ireland in the near future.
About the Scheme
The purpose of the Independent Heat Protection Scheme is to create a common standard in the level and quality of protection given by heat supply contracts and to offer district heat customers an independent process for settling disputes.
Frontline recognises the value of this scheme in protecting as many heat network customers as possible while supporting innovation and best practice within the district heating industry.
The Independent Heat Customer Protection scheme proposals contain two key components:
Assessment criteria by which to evaluate the level of protection a Heat Supplier’s Heat Supply Agreement provides to the heat network’s customers. This assessment criteria is as follows:
- Heat Customer obligations (including access to heat infrastructure)
- Support for Vulnerable Customers and customers that must not be disconnected in winter
- Heat Supplier obligations – Performance Standards
- Customer service, reporting a fault or emergency, access and repair costs
- Joining and leaving procedures
- Measuring Heat Customer’s consumption – Heat meters
- Heat Interface Unit (HIU) maintenance
- Heat Bill, heat charge calculations and heat charge comparator
- Paying the heat bill and payment difficulties
- Disconnection and re-connection process
- Contingency and maintenance plan
- Heat Supplier complaint handling
- Adjudication from the Independent Heat Customer Protection Scheme
Independent adjudication, a low cost form of customer dispute resolution once a heat supplier’s complaint procedure is exhausted.
Where appropriate, the level of protection afforded by the Independent Heat Customer Protection Scheme seeks to replicate that provided to customers in the regulated gas and electricity markets.
How District Heating benefits users is explored in our infographic here.