The UK’s Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) is poised to resolve rising concern over poor regulation in Britain’s booming district energy sector.
Heat supply is unregulated, unlike electricity and gas, and this poses a risk to district heating’s image, CHPA Deputy Director Ian Manders told COSPP.
‘Clearly there needs to be some formal self-regulation,’ he said. ‘That’s what we are setting up and almost certainly it will have some performance standards.’
‘Before district heating gets much bigger in the UK there needs to some form of self-regulation in terms of how domestic customers are treated, to mirror the rights of customers of the regulated utilities.’ he said, ‘Therefore our focus is on creating, by the end of the year, a UK residential heat customer protection scheme with independent governance.’
‘In addition, a good service to a customer is only as good as the performance of the system, so it may be helpful at some point to consider minimum district heating performance guidelines. We are interested in outcomes for the consumer, rather than specifying technology used in the heat supply network’, he added.
While the UK’s district energy sector has recently seen calls for technical standards – and speculation these could be over-restrictive – the CHPA is concentrating on residential customer protection, he said.But the rules the CHPA is developing for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will focus on final performance not technology, he added.
‘What we are offering to the industry are standards for the final performance of the system to the customer,’ he said.
‘Most people consider that the business also needs technical standardisation but that’s being established on a regional basis, as is now happening in London.’
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