Citizens Advice Response to the CMA’s Heat Networks Market Study (Update Paper)
Citizens Advice welcomes the CMA’s interim findings. In particular, we welcome the CMA’s recommendation that the heat networks sector should be regulated and that heat network consumers should be provided with the same kind of protections that gas and electricity customers currently enjoy.
Given that heat network customers have limited opportunities to switch to an alternative form of heat supply, we also support the CMA’s recommendation to regulate prices in the sector. While the evidence suggests that households connected to heat networks typically enjoy lower prices than households heating their home with a gas-fired boiler, it also indicates that there is considerable variability in the prices they are charged.
While buildings on heat networks currently represent a small share of total heat demand in the UK, this share is set to grow rapidly over the coming years as the government seeks to rapidly decarbonise heat in order to meet its statutory climate targets and carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act. In this context, it is important that effective consumer protections are introduced for heat networks customers as soon as is practically possible.