Community heating metering and billing specialist ENER-G Switch2 has published a guide to the legislative changes affecting the UK's estimated 1750 communal energy and district heating schemes.
The 'Detailed Guide to the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014' provides advice on the steps 'heat suppliers' need to take to comply with the new legislation, which transposed the EU Energy Efficiency Directive into UK legislation.
Those in charge of supplying and charging for community energy schemes (the 'heat supplier') have until 30 April to prepare detailed information on their district heating network and to notify the National Measurement Office. This will require estimates of capacity, heat generation capabilities and output. Each building supplied by the network must also be identified, alongside the number of meters or heat cost allocators in those buildings.
The legislation requires buildings attached to ‘District Heat Networks’ to be fitted with point of entry meters. Complete installation of meters to every final customer must be completed by the end of 2016, however, there are possible exemptions. This would apply, for example, in instances where individual meter installation isn’t considered technically feasible or cost effective.
There are also requirement to bill end consumers and provide ‘billing information’ based on accurate meter reads on a regular basis.
Kirsty Lambert, Director of ENER-G Switch2, said: "The clock is ticking for 'heat suppliers' to gather the detailed information necessary for the registration process this April. Compliance is not optional and there are penalties for those who miss deadlines, so it's essential for those responsible for communal heat schemes to act now to avoid any risk of prosecution. It's also important to be aware of recurring duties under the new legislation.
"In the race to install new meters, heat scheme managers shouldn't overlook new requirements on billing, which outlaw estimated billing, even if final customer point meters are not installed. New itemised bills must include current energy prices, comparative consumption data and information on how to improve energy efficiency. Fixed or standing charges must also be clearly indicated, showing customers what they’re paying for in terms of maintenance or contingency funds."