Have your say on the consumer protection requirements the Heat Network Market Framework will enforce.
As explained on our Heat Network Regulations Know How page, The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) published an ‘Energy Bill Policy Statement’, relating to the ‘Heat Network Market Framework’ in March 2023. This relates to The Energy Bill which was first introduced into Parliament in July 2022. The purpose of the Bill is to outline how we can achieve a cleaner, more secure energy system long-term throughout the UK.
The Heat Network Market Framework is a DESNZ recognised framework and it aims to address the lack of regulation in the heat network sector, which disadvantages numerous stakeholders.
The Energy Bill has appointed The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) as the heat network Regulator throughout Great Britain; giving OFGEM the power to decide what conditions to include in the different types of authorisations the framework will encompass.
The following authorisation conditions are intended to be consulted upon:
- Installing or maintaining metering devices.
- The charges consumers pay towards their bills, service standards and the communication of information about the heat network and the services provided.
- Price regulation.
- Complying with technical standards.
- Continuity of heat supply.
- Greenhouse gas emissions limits.
- Providing information to the regulation.
- Payment of fees to the regulator, including for special administration.
On the 4th of August 2023, DESNZ and OFGEM published a joint consultation seeking views on the consumer protection requirements that heat network operators will have to comply with under the framework.
The main requirements this focuses on are:
- Quality of service
- Transparency of information
- Consumers in a vulnerable circumstance
- The scope of the rules and how they should be phased in
The consultation also allows for respondents to express their views on OFGEM’s approach to implementing and enforcing heat network legislation, including through guidance, market monitoring, compliance, enforcement activity and their approach to delivering the cost recovery regime.
Alongside the consultation, both DESNZ and OFGEM published an Impact Assessment which details what the advantages and costs of introducing consumer protections and a license regime for rights and powers would be under the Heat Network Market Framework.
The consultation closes on the 27th of October 2023 at 11:59pm.
You can provide your response to the consultation here.
Alongside this consultation, OFGEM is also running a course of online workshops with the purpose of providing stakeholders in the heat network sector to have a deeper understanding of their policy proposals and to have the chance to seek clarification about specific aspects of their plans – before the consultation response. The registration link for these workshops can be found here.
OFGEM expect to publish draft regulations within the remainder of this year and begin regulating the market in 2024.
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