A risk or an opportunity to alleviate fuel poverty?


The updated Heat Network require that Operators of all unmetered shared heating system must, where possible, charge Residents for their measured heat use.  So, what does this change do for Fuel Poverty asks David Lewis, managing director at ista UK

It is proven in numerous studies across the World that the introduction of consumption-based charges reduces energy use by an average of 20%.  So, while this seems like a further Compliance demand in a property sector, that is already burdened with legislation, it could offer tangible benefits if a suitable solution for retrofit installation can be implemented.

It would be reasonable to assume that installing metering for all properties in an existing building is a daunting, expensive, and highly disruptive major works project, however this is not the case.  A specifically designed solution for retrofitting to almost any traditional heating systems is available and has been used successfully in over 50million homes worldwide.

Heat Cost Allocation is the proven technology adopted for existing buildings and the process is both straightforward and cost effective.

Whilst not currently common in the UK it is estimated that over 250 million such devices have been successfully installed throughout Europe – indeed ista patented their first such solution in 1924.

Therefore on the face of it the updated Regulations seem like a burden the industry could do without, but the potential to contribute positively to the challenge of Fuel Poverty for cash-strapped consumers mark this change out to be a great Opportunity rather than a Risk.

In addition to lowering costs and reducing carbon emissions there are further benefits of the improvements, which are all very relevant in the current unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves:

  • Residents are charged fairly. At a time when the use of the home is changing at an unprecedented rate paying only for what you use is essential
  • Each month only the actual cost of operating the heating system is recharged to the Residents, reducing the risk of a shortfall in operating budgets, and there is no over-charging
  • The installation is not disruptive, with works typically completed in less than an hour

The Regulations require that the Operator of every unmetered heating system MUST complete a feasibility check for retrofit metering.  If feasible then the Operator MUST install meters and then provide consumption-based bills for each Resident.


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