Switch2 Energy CEO calls for new focus on standards of Heat Network management

Communal heating specialist Switch2 Energy today (19 January) called on UK heat suppliers to re-focus their approach on the way heat networks are developed, operated, and managed - to prioritise efficiency, technology and customer service.

In his opening address to the heat suppliers' ‘Cost, Carbon, Compliance' forum in London, CEO Richard Harrison said: "A relentless focus on efficiency is crucial to driving better carbon and cost performance for UK heat networks. This is essential to delivering on sustainability targets in the journey to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while also providing good value to residents.


"Housing is a major greenhouse gas contributor, with 28 million homes accounting for 15 per cent of the UK's annual carbon emissions", he explained. "Heat networks are seen as a ‘no regret option' in the government's decarbonisation strategy. That's because they can operate more efficiently than individual domestic boilers by providing heating and hot water from a central flexible fuel source.

"Better efficiency, better technology and better customer service are the three key challenges that must be tackled to deliver cost and carbon saving benefits to residents," he said. "This is also essential to supporting the government's heat network expansion target to provide 18% of domestic heat from communal heat schemes by 2050 - a significant increase on the current 3%."

Meeting 3 challenges

Better Efficiency - use key data to identify operational peaks and troughs and drive greater heat network design, development and efficiency.

Better Technology - migrate heat networks away from gas to more efficient operating systems that use low carbon technologies to deliver long-term, reliable and low-cost heat.

Better Customer Service Delivery - understand the intricacies of heat networks and use specialist support to help residents and landlords reduce energy costs, carbon emissions and meet customer expectations in all areas of heat network management.

Richard Harrison added: "Heat suppliers need to re-focus their efforts to develop and retrofit the next tier of low and zero carbon heat networks and strengthen delivery of low-cost, efficient heating to homes. This will also meet regulatory requirements and contribute to the government's net zero target. Above all, this will ensure heat networks achieve consistently high standards, deliver sustainability benefits and fully meet customers' needs."

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