/ Home & Energy, Sustainability

Could you warm to a district heating scheme?

A tiny house in someone's hands

District heating schemes could be a low-carbon solution for energy supplies, but customers are not protected by consumer regulations. Are you part of a shared heating scheme?

At Which?, we believe that for the energy market to be truly competitive, it needs to be far easier for people to compare the prices of different suppliers and switch to the cheapest one for them.

But for the 200,000 or so households who get their energy from a district heating scheme instead of through the wires and pipes of the National Grid, there is no choice of supplier. So with major interest in increasing the number of homes connected to district heating, otherwise known as a heat network, how do we ensure these people get a good deal?

What are district heating schemes?

If you’ve never heard of district heating schemes, they supply homes and businesses with heat through a network of pipes that take hot water or steam from a power plant (essentially a huge boiler) to individual properties.

Schemes can be powered by a diverse range of fuel sources, including low-carbon and renewables. Typical technologies used include energy from waste incineration, biomass fuel, and combined heat and power (CHP) plants.

CHP is an efficient use of fuel. Electricity is generated and the heat created by the process (which would usually just be waste heat) is used for another purpose, such as heating water that can then be pumped round pipes to heat homes. CHP can be gas-fired or fuelled by biomass. Therefore, district heating is potentially a more flexible and environmentally friendly way to heat more homes, as it is not dependent on just one type of fuel.

Turning up efficiency, but turning down choice

The downside is that directly connecting homes to a specific source of energy means it is virtually impossible to give people a choice of supplier. Households have very little control over who supplies their heat and the price they pay is not subject to the competitive pressures you find in a market where companies have to compete to attract and retain customers.

Households on mains electricity and gas are also protected by regulations set by Ofgem that suppliers have to comply with as a condition of their licence to supply energy. The same is not true for people on district heating. There is no consumer protection regulation at the moment and, therefore, no standards of service for the sector.

Are you on a heat network at the moment? Do you think you pay a fair price for your energy?

If you’re not on a heat network, how would you feel about living somewhere that’s connected to one? Does Ofgem need to step in to protect consumers, or could industry self-regulation be enough to ensure consumers benefit from good service and fair prices?

Comments
Andy Davies says:
25 September 2013

Does any body know the law regarding the correct positioning of utility meters. The developer has placed all ours in the ceiling and will not allow our tenants or our letting agents to read them?

Are there any energy experts out there who can clarify whether the costs of our utilities are correct? The bills in our block are costing just for the heating over £200 per month and the heating of water is on top. We and our tenants must have some rights surely, hopefully, pleadingly.

Robert Vesty says:
10 January 2014

Me and my partner moved into a 1-bed apartment in the Olympic Village, London at the end of November and we have just challenged the DH supplier (East London Energy) 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. We’re paying about £40 per month and we’ve had the heating set at 10 degrees a lot of the time. One resident was charged £180 for one month (3-bed). Standing charge is £17 per month, so we can predict that even in summer we will have sizable costs. Then we have general electricity to deal with, water etc. Olympic legacy was supposed to be about affordable housing, innovation, carbon and cost saving – it isn’t. I’m glad we’re not alone, and obviously looking at these comments consumers are in need of some regulatory body to protect them.

HNguyen says:
25 January 2014

Hi Robert, both myself and my sister are due to move into our flat in the east village soon. We have been following residents on social media with regards to the cost of Energy bills and are now really concern-we are buying our flat through shared ownership so affordability is key! So far has there been any progress regarding the matter? Has east london energy responded with any kind out outcomes? I don’t see how this can be economically sustainable in the long run.

Robert Vesty says:
27 January 2014

Hi

It’s ongoing, and I don’t intend to let it lie. A recent email from East London Energy to me in respect of my complaints stated that the ODA have said they never intended to offer the energy to East Village residents cheaper than regular supplies. And yet, in a letter published this month explaining our bills it said that the scheme was designed to offer both carbon and cost saving. I have put this too them, with a short list of other questions. I am told they’ll get back to me on this, but I’m still waiting. You’re right, it’s not sustainable in the long-run. It’s cheating us for profit’s sake, and we all need to keep some collective pressure going on them to acknowledge that and adjust their tarrifs so that they’re fair.

Concerned DH User says:
27 January 2014

Have you spoken to Louise Strong at Which? who might be able to provide advice?

Or feel free to join our case with the OFT by contacting them with your issue and the case’s reference number EPIC/ENQ/E 149219, contact is via Enquiries@oft.gsi.gov.uk

Robert Vesty says:
27 January 2014

Hi, thanks. No, I haven’t contacted Louise Strong. Should I? I have however added to the open OFT case with that reference.

Concerned DH User says:
3 February 2014

Hi there

Would be handy perhaps to let her know about your case since she has details of a few similar ones.

Robert Vesty says:
17 January 2014

Could anyone tell me what standing charge and consumption rate people are being charged in their district heating scheme? We are paying £17:15 and then £0.068 per kWh for consumption? I’d really appreciate some help with my research. Thank you.

Concerned DH User says:
23 January 2014

Hi Robert,

My prices via EON in SE London:
standing charge: 85.871p/day (31 days=£26.61)
usage: 7.29p/kWh
VAT @ 5%
My spend with EON (district heating only, electricity is on top of that through a different supplier) in 2012/13: £814.84 for a 2 bed flat.

collene says:
15 June 2014

Hi Robert.

I moved into the Olympic village last month. Just got my first bill £17.48 fixed charge. £10.48 common availability charge and just £6.59 usage. Seems ridiculous to me. Is there anything we can do?

NO CHP THANKS says:
26 June 2014

Acccrding to the FAQ page on http://www.eastlondonenergy.co.uk/ you guys are locked in for 40 years. that is a very long contract I have to say. Not sure if you were told about it and financial implication properly ( by the property develop or the ESCO or both) while you were completing the process to buy the property.

andy davies says:
24 January 2014

16p per kwh which includes the standing charge for heating.
27p per kwh for hot water supply.

Lawrence Paulson says:
21 February 2014

I would welcome such a scheme. I have had two boilers die in the past eight years. It means struggling with the gadget, trying to get it lit, failing, freezing (typically they die when it’s coldest) and then paying thousands for a new one. How great it would be to have heating provided by an external utility, provided of course that they had an obligation to fix breakdowns quickly.

That would be great indeed, but think about the charges that you pay monthly, in my area I pay about £35 a month just to have the service. If you open a savings account and pay this amount every month, when you need to change your boiler, then most likely you will have the amount need to have a new one.

Robert Vesty says:
23 February 2014

I too welcome the scheme. I think in principle it’s great. The UK should have more of these schemes, as Europe does. But like Europe the benefits should be more equally distributed with cost savings being shared with the consumer – this is not the case currently here in the Olympic Village where we are being asked to pay inordinately high costs for all of this.

Michael Hardman says:
26 February 2014

Guys.

This is a subject as a professional in the industry i am very keen to explore. I am looking to produce an academic report and industry white paper on the exact subject.

The key headlines here for me are:

– The Mayor of London and wider government is imposing policy for low carbon energy schemes on developers through planning requirements. I.e the development doesnt get planning without low carbon energy investment.

– The developers who cannot sell this to leaseholders and landlords as a marketing advantage on property prices face the burden of the additional investment cost of this planning requirement. Normally into the millions of £.

– The developers as profiteering organisations “sell” for a better word the rights of consumer heating to ESCOs (energy services companies), who provide the developer with the capital investment, thus maintaining the developers profit margins, whilst meeting planning requirements.

– The ESCOs effectively have the “rights” for 20-30 years, charing consumers annual fees, higher unit costs with little transparency for competition.

– The effect is, as many of you state, unclear, unregulated, low carbon, but higher cost energy.

I would very much like to hear from you if you wish to participate in a study concerning this. I am also looking to engage with Louise Strong who is creating waves in the industry for consumer benefit.

In consideration and respect of the T&Cs of Which? Website policy i am not in anyway advertising services, or solutions to your problems. I am merely looking for case studies to produce academic research on the problem in hand, which i intend to publish to the industry.

My views within this comment are yet to be sufficiently proven or referenced by other industry professionals. My statements are views personal to me.

Regards

Mike Hardman.

PS. Keep shouting, they will have to listen in the end.

Thanks for leaving this comment Mike. I’ll let Louise know that you’d like to make contact. We’ve removed your contact details from the above as we don’t allow commenters to exchange personal details publicly on a thread. However, we’re very happy for you to use the comments published here, and on Louise’s latest post, in your research. Thanks, Charlotte

Thanks for sharing all your comments with us – your views have inspired Dr Louise Strong to do some more digging on district heating. You’re welcome to join the debate here and you might like to help her out on her mission to collect energy bills… https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/district-heating-communal-heating-problems/

Robert Vesty says:
26 February 2014

Great to speak to Louise Strong at Which today. I’m looking forward to seeing further developments take shape and ultimately have our rights as consumers protected in relation to DH. It may take a while but we need to do all we can to protect the consumer and bring down costs for them. As it stands, it appears, (certainly feels), as if the consumer is subsidising the developers’ investment in this area, and therefore protecting the developers’ high profit margins. Here at Olympic Village we are trying to get through to the Olympic Development Authority and East London Energy who have set their costs too high to be sustainable for the consumer. At the moment, still waiting for something meaningful from them to show they’re taking our concerns seriously enough.

andy davies says:
26 February 2014

Charlotte how do we get the energy bills to Dr Louise Strong?
What also needs considering is the use of the right meters and their positioning.
We took the matter to the 1st Tier Property Tribunal if Dr Strong would like this information let us know.

Alan says:
11 March 2014

Just moved into a two year old development, and have found out my annual standing charge is £350; that’s more than my total annual gas bill in my previous poorly insulated victorian flat.

This compares to a flat in another development I saw where unlimted hot water usage bundled into the service charge was under £400 per year. I also have a friend in a new build who’s annual charge is under £200.

I understand that charges are going to be higher because maintenace is included, but considering the vast dispartiy in charges between these schemes, the fact they are unregulaled, the fact that consumers have no choice in who their provider is nor, it appears, a right of redress – this is something that needs to be looked into.

Added to this, I just had an engineer round this morning who informed me that the meters used in the develpment were wildly inacurate, resulting in one neighbour receiving a monthly bill for £1,000!

andy davies says:
11 March 2014

You don’t live in Leicester do you Alan as your bills sound similar to ours?

Alan says:
11 March 2014

No I’m in South London

Concerned DH User says:
11 March 2014

A Barratt development in Croydon with EON?
Just had my service charge increase btw for my flat in a SE London development. Is nearly £450/ year now.

Alan says:
11 March 2014

It’s in Lewisham, but yes, a Barratt development supplied by Eon. It would be interesting to know generally what the financial relationship between developers and the energy companies is. For example, when contracts for supply are tendered, do the developers make a profit; either one off or ongoing? And if so, what kind of profit do they make?

If a development bundles heating as fixed sum into the leaseholder service charge, there’s a big incentive for them to get a good deal. But if the supply is metered, then there’s little incentive.

NO CHP THANKS says:
29 April 2014

Let us count how many sites are Barratt/EON shall we?
Dalston Square, Waterside Park, Maple Quay, Renaissance, another one in Croydon.
beside that who else?
I think EON is involved in Drayton as well.
Millennium Village in Greenwich had/has issue as well.
It is just getting more and more.
I have been to a sales suite in Woolich Arsenal, the sales was from another country and she did not even know the district heating is something legally completely different from conventional heating while trying to push me to buy flat. Not until you move in, get your shocking bill, you will not be told EVERYTHING about it. That does not seem to be correct.

alan says:
20 May 2014

I recently found out from EON (at least in my Barratt development) that they provide an alternative tariff for low usage.So instead of:

Standing charge: 91p per day
Unit charge: 6.6p per day

I get:

Standing charge: 26p per day
Unit charge: 19p per day

So for the summer months bills will be coming in £20 cheaper. So that’s probably £100 off the annual bill. Obviously once winter comes, you have to change back to the standard tariff as the unit price is too high on the lower one.

None of this was explained to me when I set up the account. It was only when I phoned them to complain about the high prices that they offered me the lower rate.

It also begs the question: if these high standing charges are justified for maintenance then how can they offer a tariff that’s over £20 cheaper a month? Sounds like profiteering to me.

Mat says:
21 May 2014

Great spot Alan. I am living in the Dalston Square development and I myself have been left astounded by the exorbitantly high standing charge per month- often exceeding the unit cost of the heat itself. The irony is that one of the biggest arguments for buying an energy efficient new build is that it would offset future energy price rises. How naive of me. Instead I am currently left paying about twice as much for a fraction of the usage.

NO CHP THANKS says:
22 May 2014

Hi Alan,

Once you choose a certain tariff, I am afraid you have to stay on it for 12 month to breath though the full cycle of high and lows.

Do EON indeed allow you to change tariff without lock in? I doubt it.

Then if you can’t change tariff, all these high low usages tariffs are more or less the same thing if your annual usage is not extremely high or low.

alan says:
22 May 2014

No, I specifically asked EON if i would be locked into the tariff or if there would be a charge for changing, and they confirmed that i could change at any time with no penalty.

In the mainstream gas/electricity market there are no tariffs, as far as I’m aware, that contractually oblige you to stay on it for 12 months. You may have to pay an exit fee, but the energy companies cannot prevent you from switching. Obviously it’s different with the schemes we’re on, but I haven’t heard anything about people be locked into one tariff.

Tony says:
24 May 2014

This is a very interesting thread. I am a property professional and small scale Landlord with a few private rented houses, however we are just converting a former pub to 4 apartments and we were going down the route of a common heating system with heat meters. This course was considered not for any financial gain but to allow better management of the heating and hot water costs. The installation is more expensive to install than a simple system and should not be any greater overall cost to run even allowing for standing losses and allowance by way of a service charge, for repairs and renewals etc.

This small scale scheme is being installed at my own cost, whereas I believe that most of the larger schemes which are installed are provided/financed by energy companies etc during the development and this can be free of charge to the developer (saving them considerable cost) in return for which the energy company get a long term contract for the supply of heat and sometimes electric too and of course they can charge what they like to certain extent because:

A- The service charge is not regulated as far as I am aware
B – The consumer is tied in by a contract entered into by the developer who really has no ongoing interest in what costs the consumer incurs once the developments are sold.

Effectively the price you pay is for your home and then paying for the heating system on top over a 25 year period. It could be argued that the cost of the building would have been greater had the developer paid for this installation and that might have resulted in a higher selling price, however I personally believe it is just about maximising profit and would be very, very surprised if the negotiations with the system supplier/energy companies focused of giving the consumer best value. At least if the cost of the system had been added to the development costs you would have been able to shop around for a good mortgage deal and derived the best energy cost, but with this, you have no choice! Sounds a bit like PFI doesn’t it?

This financing model seems to have stemmed from planning requirements to incorporate a certain amount of low carbon/renewables into these developments but instead of creating a better environment for the consumer, it just seems to be another money making venture exploiting the unsuspecting consumer. I bet that it was not spelt out that you would be paying through the nose for your environmentally friendly fuel or that this might affect the value of your property on resale when all the evidence of high running costs are know? Also, now with commercial RHI there is no real incentive to minimise energy used as the heat generator can now also receive a payment per KWhr delivered to consumers for a period of 20years so long as the installation complies with requirements.

The above is just my personal opinion. I think it is motivated by profit and greed and needs to be controlled. In my small development, having borne the cost of installation, we will be free to negotiate the best rate for gas and employ renewables to lower the cost of heating & hot water for the benefit of the consumers. Whilst it is our intention to rent the flats, should we decide to sell some or all of the flats there is an opportunity for the management to shop around and make changes to the systems at there will.

NO CHP THANKS says:
24 May 2014

Thanks Alan, I will check if I can switch without cost again. But from what I remember, I can’t.

The whole CHP thing just does not work. As Tony said, on a small scale, if you choose the right type of boiler and get all relevant benefit from government, it is actually working out fairly efficiently. You potentially can get RHI, and either you use the electricity from CHP or you can sell it on at a reasonable price (feed in tariff?).

But on large scale, ESCO at my development is not billing me on combined heat and electricity. So residents are forced to sell the electricity to the grid at the whole sale price and then buy it back from the same energy firm paying large bid offer price. I think this game is at around 3-4p/kwh. And checking the CHP parameters, each house hold is actually generating a lot of electricity while they need the heat. (you can visit Ener-G website for CHP specification to check)

Then as far as I checked last, the CHP we have on site is NOT registered with government, so ESCO did not even apply for RHI!

In our S106, it is said that the ESCO need to provide council carbon emission report on yearly basis and report how much carbon was reduced, after the site is up and running for 3 years. Council told me that this has never been done.

So a lot of things Tony mentioned is actually happening right now on large scale.

It even drags on to equipment ownership issues. the heating facility is suppose to be “communal property” of the lease holders, ESCO is hired to run and maintain it. Leaseholder is only suppose to pay the actual cost. However, now, as everything is controlled by energy firm and property developers, the way it is done is ESCO sell heat unit back to residents at “market price” using property of leaseholders. AND, one thing that is very obvious is that every year ESCO charge a lot of money and put aside for future equipment replacement, and they don’t even disclose the balance of money they are holding.

The equivalent of above is that you own a car but you don’t know how to drive. While the fair cost is to hire a driver at his hourly rate and pay for the petrol, if there is any cost to repair the car, you pay the bill when it actually happens. Unfortunately, you ended up paying taxi rate to the driver, and you have to pay to the guy to put a side a huge amount of money the guy asks for future car replacement. I guess everyone know which one is fair.

Ali says:
31 May 2014

Hi. I live newly built property in Croydon we have District heating. we were told diz is environmentally friendly houses and da house is fully insulated doesn’t need a lot of energy to heat. And also my rooms don’t use most of winter times da heating as they r warm enough but da living room and corridor and da toilet just onetime early morning winter times but I was told to pay daily standing charge of £0.79 and per unit 8.6pence and plus vat 5 pence and to put figures £1200 yearly on heat only bill and I also have to pay electricity about £500 . We residents had complaint to Eon and housing association about the 25 years contract and da fact dat we wer told diz is 25% cheaper than any other energy means is now looks to b da most expensive system u cud have to warm ur house. Wer is da 25% cheaper dan normal energy system diz is 10 times expensive and is local government pushing new development must have district heating system is system for ripping da poor ppl and may be is another way of da councils and developers to get money they invested to get from the poor people.

One has to question the effectiveness of heat transfer using a HIU within the dwelling.

Maybe it’s time for the Which? Magazine to measure the performance of customers HIU and ask the Heat Trust why they don’t cover the technical aspect of the delayed control valve that influences the heat consumption without the customers knowledge.

Ali says:
31 May 2014

It Time For People Who Are Living In This Situation To Call Watch Dog And Shed Some Light Of Wat Is Happening Wit Diz Rip Off District Heating System Suppose To Be Cheaper Energy And Environmental Friendly. And Why Local Authority Pushing Diz Costly Thing To Da Poor Ppl They Suppose To Help. Now Every Newly Housing Development Must Have Diz Kind Of System To Save Coat Of Energy. But Diz Is Da Other Way Round. If U Live District Heat System With Eon Ur Life Is Not Going Easy As Is Like Living In Hell Bills Come Every Day No Matter How Much U Pay. U Use Tap Water Heat Bill Will Come Even Wen Is 30 Degrees Whole Year. Thinking disconnecting da system and used electric heaters and for da hot water may b to use kettle. Any suggestions wether do is da solution let me know as diz is wat I am thinking. May be I also seen I have emergency electric hot water system and I think dat wud work if I ask eon to disconnect da heat system as they re chagrin me for hot water coming through da tap too much as I am not using heaters.
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Tony says:
1 June 2014

HI Ali,
Gosh! If you were on a standard gas rate with your own boiler you would be paying about 50% of that figure based on average standing charges and gas rates. Sounds like someone has been miss sold this little money making scheme!

In some of the earlier posts there were complaints that the system clocks up heat usage even when not being used. From what I can determine, most district heating systems trickle heat through the hot water generation system to keep the heat exchanger warm and speed up hot water delivery, but if you have low usage this can add up!

Very interesting and also shocking. I used to manage blocks of flats with the largest around 200 units and generally speaking flats are , or should be substantially cheaper than houses to heat.

Hot water usage can be a real energy waster but even so!

I look forward with great interest to see how it all pans out. But I do wonder how now consumer protection body was on the concept from the start – tying people into long-term contracts without an out seems prima facie wrong.

Rachael says:
26 June 2014

We have just moved into a flat with one of these schemes and are renting through a housing association. I called Eon to query the extortionate standing charge and was told the charge included call-outs and parts etc. My gripe is that ALL landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure that their rental properties have hot water and heating. Yes, as a tenant I have to pay my bills but I am not responsible for paying maintenance costs. Am I missing something here as I cannot get my head round how tenants are being charged for maintenance when the charge should be going to landlords.

andy davies says:
26 June 2014

Totally agree with you Rachael you should on pay for the fuel used as you signed in the tenancy agreement and I say this as a landlord.

alan says:
26 June 2014

Rachael,

I would check again with EON and ask them if they usually have a separate tariff for tenants under these schemes. I know that the previous tenants in my flat were on a lower tariff than leaseholders are; maybe the landlords got charged for the maintenance side as well.

It could be the case that it’s not EON, but your housing association, that is the problem, and it is avoiding it’s responsibility in paying the maintenance costs.

Melissa says:
30 June 2014

Really Syphathise with many comments here. I am a leaseholder on a 1970s south london (Lambeth) estate. I pay £1,200 per year for heating and hot water which i regard as quite high given i live alone and work full time and the property has double glazing and thermal upgrades. Lambeth also increased the bill by 50% mid year in 2013 and then removed the option of allowing leaseholders to disconnect from communal system. They also use an ESCo and the contract is let for 6 years wheras Southwark purchase every 2 years to get the best price. Furthermore, if a landlord fails to consult residents on expensive contracts, then legally costs are capped at £100 per year per service. ( I believe) Lambeth failed to consult on bulk fuel purchase and i am currently querying this. Legal firm Trowers have done a very useful legal note on this and there is a good article here http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/eco/landlords-warned-over-rush-for-district-heating/6523069.article

Andy D i would be really interested in getting some feedback from 1st tier tribunal on this.

To note there are a couple of relevant studies on this –

The Department of Energy and Climate is to hold a consultation on the EU Energy Efficiency Directive’s application of metering and billing within district heating systems, due to come into effect in June 2014.

OFT currently doing a study into residential property management which includes procerement of servides so some may wish to comment on this. the website is http://www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/markets-work/residential-property-management/ or http://www.gov.uk/cma Property Management Services – A Scoping Paper, OFT1513 December 2013 ( i have a copy of the scoping paper which im happy to share it is very interesting)

Melissa says:
30 June 2014

Really Syphathise with many comments here. I am a leaseholder on a 1970s south london (Lambeth) estate. I pay £1,200 per year for heating and hot water which i regard as quite high given i live alone and work full time and the property has double glazing and thermal upgrades. Lambeth also increased the bill by 50% mid year in 2013 and then removed the option of allowing leaseholders to disconnect from communal system. They also use an ESCo and the contract is let for 6 years wheras Southwark purchase every 2 years to get the best price. Furthermore, if a landlord fails to consult residents on expensive contracts, then legally costs are capped at £100 per year per service. ( I believe) Lambeth failed to consult on bulk fuel purchase and i am currently querying this. Legal firm Trowers have done a very useful legal note on this and there is a good article here http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/eco/landlords-warned-over-rush-for-district-heating/6523069.article

Andy D i would be really interested in getting some feedback from 1st tier tribunal on this.

To note there are a couple of relevant studies on this –

The Department of Energy and Climate is to hold a consultation on the EU Energy Efficiency Directive’s application of metering and billing within district heating systems, due to come into effect in June 2014.

OFT currently doing a study into residential property management which includes procerement of servides so some may wish to comment on this. the website is https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/residential-property-management-services (i have a copy of this scoping paper which i am happy to share)

andy davies says:
5 July 2014

Hi Melissa,

I’m happy to help in any way shape or form.
The following is a link to the ruling though it does not tell the whole story.
http://www.lease-advice.org/decisions/8587pdf/9001-10000/9596.pdf
You’ll see we working with our tenants to gain information from the Landlord/developer information we still don’t have.
We had thought that the tribunal system was more informal and less costly but we were up against the developers Barrister who knew the law and we didn’t.
There were so many things that we thought we had in our favour which didn’t appear to count. For example OFWAT and OFGEM have regulations and rules about the resale of utilities, hence a reseller can only charge the unit price per gas as they are charged. But the developer would not even tell us how much he was charged even when I asked at the tribunal. So much for openness and transparency hey.

The law needs to get a grip of this issue but as we have found out there are no regulations and no consumer protection.

RS says:
4 July 2014

A few professionals in the industry have been speaking about this for a few years but with little recognition from Government. Bill Watts is one such person: http://www.maxfordham.com/news/publications/a-case-against-the-widespread-use-of-district-heating-and-chp-in-the-uk

Justin says:
12 July 2014

I have moved in to the Olympic Village and just received my second bill. The first was for about £75 since it was for six weeks, and my second bill is for £53 for one month. I live alone and my usage was about £13, the rest is a standing charge of about £18 and then a common charge on top.

This pricing is absurd, it is insane that my usage is around a third of the bills I am getting, but there is no other option – there are no other suppliers to choose from.

I consider this a big problem and to be honest, I won’t stay here because I just can’t afford to waste this money. Luckily, I rent this flat so I can leave quite easily at some point, but I feel sick at being ripped off in this way. Who on earth came up with the idea of charging these extortionate charges on top of actual usage? I feel sick at the greed of it all. Worse still, the cost information isn’t provided to you until you have paid and signed on the dotted line for the flat, by which time you will lose out in non-refundable costs if you decide to cancel.