In May, the government announced a £400 discount to help households with rising energy bills this winter, as part of a £15 billion government support package to tackle the cost of living crisis. While this was welcome, it was not clear whether or how this might include heat network consumers who do not have a domestic electricity meter.
The NHF, in unison with other stakeholders, have been raising this issue on behalf of our members with The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) over the past few months. BEIS have now confirmed that support equivalent to £400 will be available for households who will not be reached through the Energy Bills Support Scheme. This includes those who do not have a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with an electricity supplier such as heat network consumers on a private wire system.
There are 153,000 housing association residents in England living in social housing on a heat network, many of whom would have missed out on the £400 reduction in bills because they do not have a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with an electricity supplier. Together with members, we raised concerns and asked ministers to close this gap in support, and we also raised the issue in parliament. So we are pleased that the government has listened and promised to close the gap for residents on some of the lowest incomes.
It is still not clear how this this support will be provided but we will work with BEIS to ensure all customers receive the equivalent of £400, including many residents in supported and sheltered housing.
You can find more information on GOV.UK.
Following the significant increases in global energy prices over the last 12 months, BEIS are looking to better understand the pressures faced by the heat network sector. To ensure the social housing sector is represented, we encourage all members who currently run a communal heating system to respond to their Sector Outlook survey. It should only take around 10 minutes to complete.
To gain a better picture of the state of the market, BEIS are also running a Heat Networks Pricing Survey, which we would also encourage you to respond to if you can.