The amendment to the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations that came into force in late 2020 introduced three classes of buildings: open – those that must submit a cost-effectiveness assessment by 27 November 2021 to determine whether meters are necessary; viable – those where meters or heat cost allocators (HCAs) are obligatory; and exempt.

Anthony Coates-Smith

Anthony Coates-Smith

Heat suppliers, defined as “the party with day-to-day responsibility for operating a network”, are responsible for carrying out assessments for their open-category buildings by the November deadline. They are then also required to ensure any necessary meters are installed and functioning by 1 September 2022.

These timeframes are tight but still achievable. And legalities aside, it is well worth doing. Modern smart meters provide accurate, transparent energy usage data that helps reduce consumption and quickly pinpoint inefficiencies and network failures. This also reduces costs, headaches and debt risk for both building managers and residents, while bolstering trust in heat networks and benefiting the environment.

Open-category buildings include new-builds connected to a communal heat network between 27 November 2020 and 1 September 2022, or after 1 September 2022 if used for sheltered or student accommodation. Buildings that already have meters or HCAs installed are also classed as open, along with buildings that do not fall under the other categories.

Heat cost allocator

Source: Shutterstock / Kzenon

If you manage a heat network, by 27 November you must check your building categories and conduct site visits as needed – your metering supplier should do this for you. If required, get costs for meters/HCAs.

Also, if required, complete the cost-effectiveness tool online, submitting your results to the Office for Product Safety and Standards. If you have your building’s energy consumption data and quotes for metering costs, you can complete the reduced-input assessment.

If you need help with any of this, call your metering supplier. It is our job to help.

Anthony Coates-Smith is managing director of Insite Energy