What is heat metering and why do we do it?

The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 requires all homes on a district heating network to have a heat meter where it is possible.  

A heat meter accurately measures the energy you use to heat your home and the hot water you use. It means we can charge you accurately for the energy you use and you can monitor how much energy you are using. We have been rolling out a long-term programme to install heat meters in our council homes.

When you can see how much energy you are using, it makes it easier for you to better control how much you use and could even save you money. This would also help the planet by reducing carbon emissions which fits with our Camden Plan to reduce carbon emissions in the borough.  

Find out more in our Heat Meter Booklet

How do we calculate your bill?

We bill for heat in arrears, which means we calculate your heat charges based on the heating and hot water that you used the previous year from 1 April to 31 March or part-year if you moved in during the year.

Every year you receive an annual review of energy charges, which gives you information about your heat usage and charges for the previous year. The review sets out how much you currently pay and advises you of your new weekly heat charge.  

Your energy charge breakdown has three parts:

  1. An energy use cost, which takes into account the heat and hot water you used in the previous year and supplier costs for gas and electricity. If you are a low user and don’t use very much energy, you will have a lower energy use cost compared to higher users. 
  2. A standing charge to cover costs such as maintenance of the heat network and administration. This charge is the same even if you are a low user, since we still incur the costs to get the heating and hot water to each home which we need to recover. The standing charge may vary slightly for each site according to the costs incurred.
  3. A charge for cooking gas (in homes where this is provided).  

We compare the weekly charge you paid the previous year against the energy charge for the actual energy you used. We then adjust your weekly heat charge for the year ahead in line with your actual energy usage the previous year.

How we calculate tenants' heat charges

Tenants pay for their heat through a weekly heat charge on their rent account. 

If you are a tenant and your weekly charge last year was higher than the cost of the actual energy you used, we will credit your rent account. If your rent account is in credit, you can request a refund. If your rent account is in arrears, the credit will go towards paying off your arrears. We also reduce your heat charge for the current year. This reduction may be staggered over a few years to make sure we do not operate at a loss if your heat usage goes up or down a lot from one year to the next.  

To request a refund if your account is in credit, call Central Rents on 020 7974 1486 if you pay by direct debit, or Rent Support on 020 7974 2390 if you pay by another method.

If your weekly charge was lower last year than the cost of the actual energy you used, we will increase your charge this year based on a new estimate of the energy you will use.  

Find out how we calculate tenants' heat charges

How we calculate leaseholders' heat charges

Leaseholders pay for heat charges through their service charges. Leaseholder Services calculate your service charges based upon the information on your unit rate, weekly usage and standing charges. 

Find out how we calculate leaseholders' heat charges

How can I find out my monthly energy use?

Most residents with heat meters can now view and monitor their monthly energy use in their Camden Account in the Housing section/Energy usage. We have written to all residents who have this option.

 

How can I save money on my heating bill?

If you control how much heating and hot water you use in line with what you actually need, this will reduce your energy use cost, which we take into account when we calculate your weekly heat charge.  

With just a few small steps you can stay warm, save money and reduce your CO2 emissions.

Save money on your heating bill by: 

  • Familiarising yourself with your heating controls – the programmer, thermostat and radiator valve
  • Turning down your thermostat by just 1°C
  • Use your programmer to turn your heating on only when it is needed
  • Draw your curtains just before the evening to keep the heat in your home
  • Have a quick shower rather than a bath – showers use a lot less hot water
  • Keep internal doors closed to reduce draughts.

Find out more about energy saving tips

When will I switch over to metered charging?

We are trying to install heat metering in as many of our properties as we can, as quickly as possible.  

We work with external suppliers to fit the equipment in your home and get the data flow set up so that we can charge you for the heat you use. 

It is really important that you allow us to carry out the works by letting our suppliers into your home to install the equipment. This will enable us to get your heat metering up and running as quickly as possible.  All contractors will be following government guidelines and guidance from our own public health team to keep you and them safe and well when they visit your home. 

We can only meter for heat when your home is on the district heat network, and when it is technically possible and financially viable to install a meter. This means that some of our homes will not be metered.

Is your property ready for metered billing? 

Your home may already have a meter installed but the data flow to our IT system still needs to be set up. We will write to you to arrange an appointment for these works to be carried out.      

Where we have installed a meter and the data flow to our IT system has been set up, there may be a time lag before we can adjust your weekly heat charge for the year ahead, as we need a year’s worth of your heat meter reads from 1 April to 31 March.

As well as having a working heat meter in your home, for some estates we will also need the block meters to be working. The block meters provide the total heat usage for a block on an estate, which enables us to apportion costs accurately (costs are provided by Camden's energy supplier for the whole estate).

Why have I not moved over to metered charging?

We can only meter for heat when your home is on the district heat network, and when it is technically possible and financially viable to install a meter. This means that some of our homes will not be metered.

Sometimes there are reasons outside our control that mean we cannot charge you according to how much energy you use, even if you have a heat meter installed. These can include:

Technical problems

This includes the heat meter, the data logger in the block, our server, and the communications that run between them. To get your heat usage data and bill accurately, we need all the equipment to function correctly. We try to fix technical issues as quickly as possible, but until it is fixed we may have gaps in your usage data.

We can sometimes estimate your usage but this depends on factors like how much historic usage data we have, how many flats there are in the block, and how long the technical issues have been going on for.  

Technical issues with the equipment can also sometimes result in one block on an estate being charged on usage while another block on the same estate is not.

New build homes

Residents moving into new build homes can have their annual review of energy charges based upon part year usage as long as we have enough data.  However, we cannot forecast your weekly heat charge for the year ahead until we have a year’s worth of heat data for the period 1 April to 31 March. This is because heating and hot water usage is often seasonal, so residents will use more in the winter months than summer months. 

Until we have a full year of data, residents in new builds will charged in the same way as residents without a heat meter

Residents moving in part way through the billing year

We can only accurately calculate your annual review of energy charges if we have the heat meter reading on the date you moved in (‘the opening read’). Otherwise we will not know how much heat you used and how much was used by the previous resident. 

Please take an opening read when you move in to help us charge you accurately for the heat you use. If the opening read is not available then we will estimate it.

Heat metering definitions

This section explains some of the terminology in the annual review of energy charges that you receive. 

kWh This is short for kilowatt hours and is how much heating and hot water you have used. Some heat meters measure and display your usage in kWh.  You are billed in kWh and your usage on your Camden Account is also displayed in kWh.  
MWh This is short for megawatt hours.  You heat meter may measure and display your usage in MWh. Your usage in MWh will be multiplied by 1000 to give the kWh read for your billing and your Camden Account.
Energy use cost

The cost of the energy you have used is calculated by multiplying your energy usage by a unit rate. The unit rate takes into account the charges that we have to pay our suppliers for the gas and electricity supply, and is calculated in pence per kilowatt hour (p/kWh). 

We bulk buy our gas in advance to keep costs as low as possible for our residents. However please note that gas prices are reviewed and change every year which can have a significant effect on the unit rate.

Standing charge 

This is a set, annual charge that is applied to all properties at your block or estate in order for us to recover our costs for operating the heating and hot water network. This includes the costs when maintenance work is required and our administrative costs of running the heat metering and billing system.  

The standing charge is the same even if you are a low user of heating and hot water, since we still incur the costs to get the heating and hot water to each home which we need to recover. The standing charge may vary slightly for each site according to the costs incurred.

We run the heating and billing system on a cost recovery basis. If you are a low user, your heat charge will be lower. If you are a high user your heat charge will be higher. Your standing charge will not change according to usage. 

Weekly heat charge This is a weekly heat charge for the coming year which appears on your rent account. This charge takes into account your previous year’s energy usage, future gas/electric costs that have been forecast, future standing charges, and any charges you owe to Camden from the previous year.