Could you warm to a district heating scheme?

March 2014: As part of work Which? are helpfully taking forward on consumer protection rights issues for people connected to district heat networks, Which? held an online discussion on consumer attitudes to district heating. Though the thread started some time ago in 2013, contributions from unhappy customers signed to a number of new networks in London are still raising their issues as of only a few days ago.  Schemes in Dalston, the Olympic Village, and an unnamed SE London scheme are referenced (some of which are copied below). It should be said that one commenter does also mention “The Pimlico district heating scheme has been running for many years without any consumer issues.

“Hi. I have just recently moved into a 2 bed new build in Dalston, East London a year ago. I have now received my first E-On bill for our heating and it comes in at a whopping £579 / 3600kWh (and this is just for 10 months). Whilst I normally welcome any energy saving initiative, I am left ultimately baffled why…”

“I have been living in a building in SE London with such a scheme for nearly two years now. Our heat bill is never below £45 per month, even in summer when it’s only used for showers for 2 people. In the summer months half of our monthly heating bill is made up of the service charge!”

“I live in an apartment block in London which operates such a scheme. Whilst this is my main residence I only occupy the apartment four nights per week. My average bill is circa £36 per month. Only £5 of this is the actual usage, the remainder being standing charge and VAT.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

Which? are now following up their 2013 work  – see ‘District heat users – are you happy with your service?

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