The UK’s Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) today welcomed the publication of Heat Trust’s first report which found that the Scheme resolved 74% of referred heat network complaints to the satisfaction of the customer.
Launched in 2015, Heat Trust is a voluntary stakeholder led customer protection scheme that sets customers service standards for the heat network sector based on standards in the gas and energy markets.
Its establishment offers, heat network customers access to an independent dispute resolution service provided by the Energy Ombudsman for the very first time. At present the scheme covers 51 heat networks and more than 30,000 customers.
Of the 73 complaints referred to the Energy Ombudsman through the Scheme almost three quarters of complaints related to issues around billing or back billing with the most common query related to standing charges. Other complaints related to customer service, metering and sales.
The ADE is currently running a Task Force, exploring how to ensure that district heating can grow without the need for subsidy and ensuring that heat network customers are treated fairly.
Director of the ADE, Dr Tim Rotheray said, “We are very encouraged to see the material difference that the Heat Trust Scheme is making to improve customer service for heat network customers. It is bringing greater transparency and accountability to the heat networks industry and demonstrates industry’s commitment to making sure district heating works for all.
“The pioneering work of the Heat Trust is vital industry leadership and is considered as part of the ADE’s work to ensure district heating is investable, good value, low carbon and reliable for its customers. Heat Trust shows how the industry, alongside the essential support of the Government’s heat network investment programme, is investing in new networks, new jobs, and the move to a subsidy-free, sustainable footing.”
The Heat Network Task Force is set to publish its preliminary findings early next year.