Updated legislation for heat networks came into force on 27 November 2020. The revisions aim to drive best practice in smart metering & billing and improve network performance.
Heat network operators and stakeholders have been eagerly awaiting updates to the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations, particularly legislation surrounding the requirement to install final customer meters on existing unmetered networks.
Heat network specialist Switch2 Energy has updated its eGuide to the Heat Network Regulations to explain the latest changes. The publication provides advice on the steps heat suppliers must take to achieve compliance.
“The most significant update is the availability of the long-awaited cost-effectiveness/feasibility tool. “, explained Ian Allan, Head of Market Strategy for Switch2. “This viability tool enables operators of unmetered networks to assess whether or not they are required to retrofit final customer meters or heat cost allocators into individual homes. It is already mandatory for new build heat network projects and most major refurbishment projects to install final customer meters.”
The assessment of financial and technical feasibility of the heat scheme must be completed by 27 November 2021 and any required corrective action completed by 1 September 2022. In addition, heat suppliers are permitted to submit additional information to improve assessment accuracy.
New building classes will be introduced (viable, open and exempt), with a stipulation that the cost-effectiveness assessment must be completed for all buildings that fall into the ‘open’ class. Individual meters must always be installed in viable class buildings and a small number of properties will be classed as exempt.
Revisions to the heat network notification template have also been announced, including a process to help operators determine whether their network meets the criteria of newly-created metering and billing exemptions.
To give heat suppliers time to comply with the changes, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) will delay the requirement to submit the re-notification template during a ‘transition period’ (from 27 November 2020 to 1 September 2022). This will apply to any operators who should be subject to the four-yearly re-notification deadline during this time.
Ian Allan added: “It is vital that heat suppliers understand the new requirements of the Heat Network Regulations and are fully compliant. This will ensure that they avoid civil and criminal penalties, but will also help to raise network efficiency, reduce emissions and improve customer service.”
OPSS has published the latest Heat Network Regulations documentation, which is available to download at www.gov.uk/guidance/heat-networks.