Landlords are reminded that they must ensure continued compliance with The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014. The deadline for the second phase of regulatory implementation is imminent. Multi-let commercial and domestic property landlords (i.e. “heat suppliers”) who charge two or more tenants (i.e. final customers) directly or indirectly via the service charge in multi-occupancy buildings for heating, hot water and/or cooling services from a district heating network (DHN) or communal heating network (CHN), must offer detailed information measuring levels of energy consumption to the National Measurement Office (NMO) by 31 December 2015.
Duty to Notify – 31 December 2015
According to 3(1) of the regulations, notifications need to include an estimated yearly total of installed heating capacity, together with heat generated and supplied by the DHN/CHN to tenants. The number and types of buildings, meters/heat cost allocators installed and tenants/final customers supplied will also need to be specified. This information must be updated every 4 years. Although there is no charge to the landlord for submitting the requisite notification to the NMO, it is important to note that the central body can impose civil sanctions in the event of non-compliance. These may include notices, powers of entry and financial penalties.
Duty to Install Meters – 31 December 2016
As part of the third and final phase of regulatory implementation, landlords must ensure that where there is more than one tenant, meters are installed to measure consumption of heat, hot water and cooling services by 31 December 2016. The only exception to this rule is where it would not be technically feasible or cost effective to do so. The regulations offer a set method for calculating cost effectiveness by listing specified costs to take into account alongside hypothetical energy savings over a 10 year period. This assessment must be repeated every 4 years.
In accordance with the first phase of regulatory implementation that came into force on 31 December 2014, all billing information issued by the landlord to the tenant must be accurate and based upon actual consumption where meters or heat cost allocators have been installed. However, in practice this may highlight issues for landlords with the service charge payment, which is usually based on proportionate floor area, as opposed to the more exacting personal consumption figures.
Clearly it is important that property professionals view the full regulations for further details applicable to their particular situation.