Heat Networks: Consumer Protection Regime

Consumers should be the “central pillar” of the regulatory environment for heat networks, says Energy Systems Catapult in its report, Heat Networks: Consumer Protection Regime, which was funded by European energy company, Vattenfall.

Produced using a combination of market research and a stakeholder workshop, the report examines the appropriate regulatory approach, and consumer protections, rights, and outcomes, which the sector should be striving for as part of a new regulatory regime.

The report makes three key recommendations:

  1. Specific and measurable outcomes are required to help provide heat network suppliers with a clear expectation of what is expected of them and how these will change over time. This should be supported by clear minimum technical and operating license conditions.
  2. Evaluate key consumer outcomes against the ability of heat network market to deliver, over the short- and medium-term. This should consider how a data driven approach can support in profiling the specific types of risk that organisations pose to consumers.
  3. Data can and should play an increasingly important role to ensure outcomes can be measured. Previous work by the Energy Systems Catapult has highlighted an approach for using data to both digitalise licenses and also support with measuring the success of regulations.

What is a heat network?

A heat network (or district heating) is a network of insulated pipes which connect multiple buildings in an area of a city to centralised sources of waste or environmental heat, removing the need for property-by-property generation. A heat network owner funds the design and construction of the network and guarantees service to the end customers, taking risk on their ability to balance and manage the energy system.

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Heat Networks: Consumer Protection Regime

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