10 Feb 0
The first phase of the Heat Network Regulations 2014 which required participants to submit notification of communal and district heating systems by 31 December 2015 is now complete. Many UK landlords have heaved a sigh of relief that they have complied on time. The second phase, undertaking the feasibility studies for heat meters, what happens next is unclear. The government is rewriting the regulations with an announcement expected around June or July 2016.
For those with heat meters already installed there are now legal obligations that must be met. One thing that is evident is the lack of awareness from property owners and landlords that properties even contained heat meters. In most cases this was due to the installation taking place under a previous landlord and it never being brought to their attention on handover. No doubt there will be others out there completely oblivious to their legal obligations and are consequently at risk of being fined.
To avoid falling foul of the current legal requirements around existing heat meters the key points are outlined below:
Legal requirement to provide accurate billing
The Heat Network Regulations 2014 requires landlords to provide accurate billing to tenants where heat meters are already installed if cost effective and technically feasible to do so with some very specific information that must be included in the bill. It is therefore critical that an appropriate and accurate methodology is put in place to reflect each tenant’s actual usage and recharges must be undertaken on a regular basis.
Legal requirement to maintain meters
Many landlord are also unaware of the legal requirement to not just use the meters for recharging, but to maintain them. There are heat meters in numerous buildings and almost all of them have at some point had issues. Regular checks are therefore crucial to ensure they are in proper working order. Incorrectly installed or poorly operating meters does not relieve landlords from the requirements in relation to recharging tenants. Where inoperable, the meters must be put back into good working order and used for providing accurate billing.
The benefits of heat meters: It’s not all bad!
Alongside the legal requirements, there are a number of benefits to landlords using heat meters for billing:
- Fair and equitable recharges meaning tenants only pay for the heating and cooling they actually use.
- Increase in recovery of direct costs form tenants, keeping the service charge costs lower.
- Allows for the apportionment of all heating and cooling charges whether in or out-of-hours thus reducing issues with difficult out-of-hours usage calculations, tenant billing queries and unexpected service charge audits, as charges are based on actual data.
- Provides detailed data on heating and cooling patterns in the building which presents opportunities for identifying anomalies and acting on these to reduce energy consumption.
If any of your buildings have heat meters that require fixing or maintaining, Carbon2018 has a team of metering technicians who can undertake the necessary checks to confirm whether the meters are correctly installed and operating, diagnose any problems and undertake the required remedial works. We are also specialists in the development of heating and cooling recharging methodologies and can undertake the ongoing apportionments on your behalf providing an independent solution that some tenants may prefer. We have a lot of experience in dealing with complex buildings including mixed use premises (for example complexes including hotels, restaurants, residential apartments, offices etc.), onsite generation, out-of-hours usage and intricate heating systems.
For further information please contact 01252 878722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.