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Response to CMA Statement of Scope on the heat networks market study

22 January 2018

Citizens Advice welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Statement of Scope [ 270 kb] for the CMA’s market study into Heat Networks.

Energy use in the home, including heat, is an ‘essential for life’ service. It should be affordable, safe, accessible and fair for all.

At present, based on evidence directly from consumers to our consumer helpline, the domestic district heating sector does not appear to be delivering value for money or consistently good customer service for its customers. This situation is exacerbated by a number of factors including a lack of regulatory scrutiny or  intervention and a clear disparity in consumer protections compared to the traditional electricity and gas markets. The CMA recognises that due to the monopolistic nature of heat networks there are limited options for consumers to take control, actively engage and switch supplier: given the Government's support for delivering new heat networks it is vital that the key issues within this market are tackled.  It is important to strive toward a better functioning heat market with stronger consumer protections and clearer expectations of suppliers in relation to price, billing, transparency and customer service. We welcome this timely intervention by the CMA.