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New heat network regulations demand meter retrofits

Heat suppliers to properties connected to heat networks will be required to retrofit heat metering devices, where it is cost-effective and technically feasible to do so, by September 2022. They must also bill individual consumers based on their actual energy consumption.

 

Insite Energy’s managing director, Anthony Coates-Smith

This is as a result of an announcement of amendments to the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations on 6 November,

Within just 12 months (by November 2021), heat suppliers must have completed initial assessments to classify their buildings according to the legislation and show which meter type they will install.

The legislation, which comes into force on 27 November, 2020, is estimated to affect between 84,000 and 97,000 properties in the UK, with the aim of facilitating fairer billing, reduced energy consumption and heating system efficiency improvements. It has been law to install heat meters in new build heat network properties since 2014.

Insite Energy, a provider of heat network metering, billing and payment services, advises heat suppliers avoid any delay in planning for the financial, operational and resource implications of achieving compliance.

“It is good news that the Government has extended its proposed six-month implementation timeframe to 21 months, although it is still ambitious and we recommend landlords make early assessments of their building portfolio,” said Insite Energy’s managing director, Anthony Coates-Smith. “The sooner you know the extent to which your estate is affected by the regulations, the longer you have to understand and specify the different technologies on offer. Heat metering is not something to rush. It may, for example, save money in the long term to undertake complementary metering and heat network upgrades, such as the installation of low-cost pay-as-you-go solutions, at the same time as the mandated work. We’ve seen in the past how hasty and purely Capex-focussed purchasing decisions can result in equipment lasting just five years before it all needs replacing,” said Mr Coates-Smith.  

Financing retrofit work is a concern among Insite Energy’s clients, despite the regulations’ feasibility assessment, which is designed to ensure only properties with a maximum 10-year payback period for the cost of the metering works are affected. “We’ve been waiting for this legislation for some years, and even though the cost of implementation can be spread over two financial years, it will still come to many as an inconvenient and unbudgeted surprise,” continued Mr Coates-Smith. “Our message to landlords and residents’ organisations is, if you don’t have the funds or have other financial pressures, we can help with financing.”

“Where technical and cost assessments and remedial installations, are required, we urge heat suppliers to select only experienced contractors with suitable references in the field of installing heat metering and meter reading solutions. Aim to get it right first time,” concluded Mr Coates-Smith.

 

18 November 2020

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