15 December 2015: Useful response to the following PQ on district heating – especially in relation to work to launch an online heat ‘comparator tool’

Lord Black of Brentwood: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any assessment of the cost of energy bills to people served by District Heating Networks.

Answered by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: 15 December 2015

In March 2015 DECC published a report by AECOM titled ‘An Assessment of the Costs, Performance, and Characteristics of UK Heat Networks’. The report included a review of the prices charged to final customers by a representative sample of heat networks (7 in total). The average heat price was found to be 6.43p/kWh but with a wide range of 4.64 to 9.88 p/kWh reflecting differences in network design, construction, commissioning and operation. On average this is less than the modelled cost of gas central heating in flats and terraced houses when boiler ownership costs are included (7.22 to 10.24p/kWh).

The Government is aware that costs to the consumer can vary and achieving cost savings is dependent on the quality of the individual network. DECC has supported industry development of a technical code of practice for heat networks, and worked closely with industry and consumer groups on the development of Heat Trust, an independent consumer protection scheme that launched in November 2015. There are also plans to launch an on-line cost comparator tool in 2016 to allow a consumer to assess their charges against gas central heating. This greater transparency of heat charges is complemented by the billing information requirements in the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014.