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What is an open access heat network?

Posted by Ian Allan

How smart metering is achieving outstanding customer service on heat networks

Posted by Ian Allan

 

Our latest SlideShare explains how smart metering can deliver exceptional levels of customer service across heat networks, while helping heat scheme owners and operators to reduce debt risk and comply with the latest regulations.

 
The advancement of smart metering technology is helping solve the urgent requirement to design heat networks around the needs of residents and to match and exceed the customer service standards of mainstream utilities. 

Heat networks: A solution to decarbonising heat

1909 Smog claimed over 1,000 lives across Glasgow and Edinburgh
1940's Coal was distributed to each home by horse and cart across towns and cities
1952 The great smog of London (caused from coal fires) claimed over 4,000 people urging the Government to do more to clean the cities
1960                          District heating gains momentum across the UK
1970-80s Gas in the Northern Sea is established and starts to be used across the UK - halting the uptake of district heating
1990 - 00s  Climate change takes centre stage as a major concern globally
2012 Energy Efficiency Directive establishes a set of binding measures to help the EU reach its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020
2014 The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations are put in place

 The spotlight is now on heat networks

There are many new initiatives that are putting heat networks centre stage: 

  • The Heat Network Regulations 
  • CIBSE/ADE Code of Practice CP1, providing minimum standards to design and operation of heat networks
  • The Which? Report into customer protection 
  • The Heat Trust, providing protection and minimum standards to customers on heat networks
  • The BEIS report into the heat networks consumer survey 
  • The CMA preliminary findings 

But first, what is a heat network?

A heat network is the general term to describe both community and district heating networks. They take heat from a central source and distribute it to buildings and apartments within the network. 

What is community heating? 

Community heating is a centralised heating system that supplies heat and hot water to one building block with more than one heat customer. 

Key issues: Uncovering the cracks

When things are not designed to the right loads of a heat network, many things can go wrong... here is just a few! 

  • High heat losses from pipework
  • High operating temperatures
  • Poorly sized plant
  • Incorrect design
  • Poor customer experience
  • Poor handover

Key issues: The apartment heating system

The apartment heating system is a key issue that must be perfected. The issues can be split into two sections:

HARD

Design and construction 

Operation and maintenance       

 

SOFT

Knowledge and understanding of heat networks

Transparency costs

What is a smart meter? 

A smart meter combines automatic meter reading with an in-home dispaly that allows residents to understand in real-time how much energy they are using. 

Smart metering can contain the following:

Automatic meter reading: This could include half hourly  or hourly reads being taken

In-home display - Providing transparency and information about their consumption history

Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) - Research shows that this is becoming increasingly popular! With 18-35 year olds preferring prepayment. 

Customer Access Device (CAD) - A protocol that allows third party devices to exchange data with the SMETs smart metering system.

 

Are people ready for it? 

Well, Switch2 statistics say yes! 

  • 1 in 4 residents are using our Switch2 app to make payments
  • 89% overall customer satisfaction thanks to PAYG smart metering
  • 59% of 18 - 34 year olds are interested in prepaying for their utilities

How is smart metering relevant? 

  • Accurate and timely bills
  • Convenient PAYG
  • In-home display
  • Bringing together cost and control
  • Data for scheme optimisation 

Scheme optimisation

  • Understand loads (peaks and troughs)
  • Reducing temperatures (flow and return)
  • Reducing pumping costs
 

Key takeaways

  • The spotlight is on heat networks with the latest CMA report leading the way
  • Smart metering, along with customer engagement can help deliver exceptional customer service
  • They help to make heat networks transparent and flexible
  • Reducing risks for scheme owners and operators such as; debt risk and help comply with the latest regulations

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Ian Allan

Head of R&D at Switch2

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