/ Home & Energy

District heat users – are you happy with your service?

District heating pipes

There are around 210,000 households who get their heat supplied through a heat network – known as district or communal heating. But little is known about people’s experiences or the prices they pay.

Homes or other buildings with district heating get their heating from a central source, such as natural gas or biomass boilers, with the heat then being transferred through a network of hot water pipes.

To meet its carbon reduction targets, the Government is planning for many more households to be on a heat network in urban areas. The last time we discussed the issue on Convo many of you had strong views on this topic and you’ve continued this discussion in recent months. Robert Vesty told us:

‘Me and my partner moved into a one-bed apartment at the end of November and we have just challenged the DH supplier about the costs. Many residents were shocked, as we were, to receive high bills. We were only told at the last minute that the DH scheme would be how our heating/hot water would be supplied, and while I’m all up for it in principle, I feel that the companies supplying it are ripping us off.’

District or communal heating challenges

We’re keen to find out more. District heating schemes are a monopoly and consumers have little choice but to remain with the same supplier even if they are dissatisfied. Also, unlike consumers with gas or electric heating, the supply of heat to homes on heat networks is not regulated and these consumers do not have access to the Energy Ombudsman. So it’s hard to know who to turn to when things go wrong. Ana is concerned about the lack of regulation:

”The Government should regulate the market first, and make sure they are not sending affordable housing dwellers into fuel poverty.’

I’m keen to hear more from you, so please continue to share your thoughts below as your interest has prompted us to take a deeper look into district heating.


Hello everyone, we’ve published a new debate covering our investigation into district heating: https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/district-heating-problems-gas-electricity/


I have a flat in London where the heating and hotwater are supplied, with huge cost of £1.44 per day standing charge and nearly 6.91p per kwh, so if as in august while we were away the standing charge alone was £46.34, and just £2.83 for 41Kwh we used, this is extortinate

Matt H says:
11 July 2015

I am not sure if I am posting this reply to the correct place, however, I get district heating supplied by my local council but I am paying £86 per month for this alone, it is extortionate.

What can I do about this?


Matt you can do nothing but pay their extortionate charges, every council is now doing this because of the government cuts. Probably with the government looking the other way. If you mounted a challenge in the courts, then your council would use unlimited council tax payers money to pay for legal manoeuvres and stall your case until you ran out of money and would be forced to abandon your legal action. Unfortunately parking charges and parking tickets and speed cameras as well as district heating charges are the favoured method of councils to raise money. The councillors high flying lifestyle and obscenely high expenses have to be paid for some how


Hi There my landlord ( hackney council) is try to push for us to have a communal heating system, they insisted that will cheap to run, but we will have to pay £ 0.55 a day to start with, the installation had start and they are doing a terrible job. We had a leak already even so the system is not fully working. They block sunlight in the corridors and air passage outlet, is really out of order.We had contact the MP but the work still going ahead, they never done a proper consultation. Because we had more then 50% of the tenants plus the leaseholder saying we don’t want, they now are offering to do a kitchen and bathroom. But this was already in this years budget.
Can we not do something to stop social housing landlords acting as they not have to keep us informed or take in consideration our concerns. In the end of the day we are the one that end up paying more, leave in the property and we are also tax payers.

Gav E says:
29 March 2016

Snap that’s the exact same amount (£994 per year now) Ealing Council recently introduced this and actually backdated it to 2013 and recouped £1500 that I ‘owed’ them. totally criminal. now my service charge to the council has doubled in the last year.

nick higgins says:
11 July 2015


You r lucky

£200 a winter month my billls are. Solar electric and biomass district heating.. Thanks to charter housing , south wales .


I live in a Southampton council flat and the council charge me £480 per year for my under floor heating which is electric supplied by southern electric. the heat is off in the daytime from 7am until 2pm. I have to use my own convector heater to keep warm at extra charge. I electronically monitored my heating last winter and if I had been paying for it on my domestic supply I would have paid £160. If a private landlord was reselling electricity to his tenants at 3 times the cost he would be committing a criminal offence. the council get away with this by calling it communal heating. This is disgusting, fat cat counsellors in their ivory towers overcharging the elderly and vulnerable probably to cover their extortionate expenses