The Heat Networks (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 came into force on 18 December 2014 under the EU Energy Efficiency Directive. This affects all businesses in the UK that supply and charge for heating, cooling or hot water to a final customer through communal heating or a district heating network including multi tenanted buildings with a shared heating and cooling system.
For phase 2, qualifying businesses must submit notifications of existing heat networks by 31 December 2019. The feasibility study and potential requirement to install heat meters, is currently on hold as the legislation is under review. However, for those with heat meters already installed there is still a legal obligation that must be met with penalties in place for non-compliance.
Landlords must provide accurate billing to tenants where heat meters are already installed if cost effective and technically feasible to do so. It is therefore critical that an appropriate and accurate recharging methodology is put in place to reflect each tenant’s actual usage with recharges being undertaken on a regular basis. There is also a legal requirement to use and maintain the meters.
For anyone with experience of buildings with heat meters, you will know that 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 operating meters does not exempt landlords from recharging tenants, the meters must be put back into good working order and used to provide accurate billing.
The Government is currently consulting on proposals to amend the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations to ensure, where technically feasible and cost-effective, final consumption metering devices are installed on heat and cooling networks and billing is based on consumption. The proposals will address the issue with the cost-effectiveness assessment of buildings to determine the viability of installation.
The consultation will lead to revised legislation will introduce an updated methodology and associated tool for assessing the cost-effectiveness and is likely to extend the scope of the current requirements on meter accuracy, maintenance and billing to all installed metering devices.
To avoid the risk of non-compliance, whilst taking advantage of some of the opportunities the regulations bring, we have outlined 6 steps detailing everything you need to know and do as a heat supplier.
1. Submit your re-notifications
Notifications providing information on the details and characteristics of heat networks are required to be submitted every 4 years. With the first notification deadline being December 2015, many networks are required to re-notify this year.
2. Don’t forget notifications for new sites
If you have any new build networks, notifications are required to be made on or before operation of the new communal/district network. If you have any existing buildings which are new to your portfolio you should also check that the notification has been made and submit if this is not the case.
3. Maintain and periodically check your heat meters
For networks where heat meters have already been installed in accordance with the regulations, there is a requirement to ensure that these are periodically checked and recording accurately.
4. Keep up to date on future requirements for feasibility studies
The requirement to install meters for heating/cooling/hot water on communal networks is subject to cost effectiveness and technical feasibility. Due to some of the challenges of installing heat meters and the difficulty in producing a tool to assess feasibility, this aspect of the regulations is currently on hold. The Government is currently consulting on changes to address this.
5. Know the mandatory requirements around heat metering
There is a common misconception that all metering requirements under the regulations are subject to feasibility study. Some of the metering requirements around district systems and new builds within district systems are mandatory and not subject to feasibility. It is important to make sure you understand these specific requirements and are complying.
6. Take advantage of the benefits of heat metering by voluntarily installing heat meters where appropriate
Heat meters bring about a number of benefits including; ensuring that the recharge of heating/cooling/hot water costs is fair and equitable, keeping energy costs within the service charge low by enabling the direct recovery of these costs, and providing an enhanced level of data for energy management and monitoring purposes. Why not consider whether there are any buildings/networks within your portfolio where these benefits can be realised by installing heat meters ahead of any future mandatory requirement.
For further advice and support on complying with the regulations contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01252 878722.