The majority of the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 will come into force on 18 December 2014. The remainder come into force by the end of 2016. These regulations will affect developers and landlords who are responsible for building and running communal heating networks, as well as those who supply heat to them.
The regulations require anyone supplying heat to a communal heating network to:
- Notify the appropriate body (this varies whether you are in England and Wales, or Scotland) about the operation of the communal heating system. This must be done before 30 April 2015 and then at least every 4 years.
- Supply information to the appropriate body regarding the location, number and type of buildings and meters supplied in each communal heating system, together with an estimated total per year of:
- installed heating capacity;
- heat generated; and
- heat supplied.
- Ensure meters, individual heat cost allocators, thermostatic radiators and a hot water meter are installed. The meters must meet certain minimum requirements regarding the accuracy of measurement and be able to memorise the consumption of heat.
- Install meters when an existing meter is replaced or a building is renovated.
Heat meters must be fitted to all existing and new communal heating systems by 31 December 2016. It would be prudent to install heat meters in any new communal heating scheme going forward. There is a caveat to this rule in that a heat supplier only has to fit heat meters where it is cost effective and technically feasible to do so. There are guidelines set out in the regulations to determine whether installation is cost effective and technically feasible.
The regulations also require that heat costs to be billed to the end user must be accurate, based on actual consumption and include certain information on the bill, such as the current energy prices, comparisons with previous energy use and contact information for the heat supplier.
Not complying with these regulations can cause a fine to be charged of up to £5000 per offence.
The regulations are important because up until now communal heat supply has been unregulated and the models and method of supply has been different depending on the system and supplier. The regulations go some way to providing consistency of supply to the end user across any system unless it is not cost effective and technically feasible to install meters etc.
The regulations will require landlords and developers to quickly assimilate a lot of information concerning communal heating systems they run or are in the process of building and submit information about the communal heating systems that they have not previously had to do.