Northern Ireland consults on heat network legislation

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The Department for the Economy is seeking views on proposals to introduce new legislation in Northern Ireland that are set to provide greater consumer protections for people connected to heat networks and support the growth of the heat network sector.

Proposals in this new consultation aim to drive forward low-carbon heat networks’ growth in a regulatory framework that ‘protects consumers and ensures fair pricing.’

The proposals include a regulatory framework that would ‘introduce greater oversight and enforcement powers’ in relation to quality of service, provision of information and pricing arrangements for all domestic heat network consumers.

Options are also explored for ensuring networks are built to robust technical standards.

Because of the limited numbers of heat networks, use of an authorisation regulatory model is proposed for consumer protection, rather than a licensing model.

Proposed future legislation would build on the UK Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014, which place legal obligations on organisations operating heat networks.

This includes a requirement for all heat network operators to submit a notification to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) when a heat network becomes operational, and every four years thereafter.

Heat network operators must also install metering devices on heat networks where this is required.

This consultation closes at 5pm on 13th February.

More information about this consultation and how to take part is available on the Department for the Economy-website.