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Last edited 12 Dec 2020
Heat can be considered to be a utility, like water, gas, and electricity. Communal or district heating systems are becoming more common and these involve the centralised generation of heat and the distribution of this heat to individual dwellings. Heat meters are then used to measure the amount of heat delivered to dwellings, just like water, gas, and electricity meters.
The Heat Network (Metering & Billing) Regulations 2014 apply to systems such as this, in which water is heated at a central source of production before being piped to multiple buildings (district networks) or multiple customers in a single building (communal networks).
Under the Regulations, heat suppliers are required to register their heat networks with the Office for Product Safety & Standards. In the case of unmetered networks, they may be required to install meters measuring customers’ actual consumption of heat. Where such meters are installed, heat suppliers are required to use them to bill customers according to their actual consumption.
When a householder or business has a heating system which is classified as renewable, the government offers a financial incentive which is related to the amount of renewable heat generated. For businesses (and some homes), the payment is made according the metered quantity of renewable heat generated.
The fiscal nature of meters, whether they are being used to establish monies due or monies receivable, means that accuracy is extremely important. However, there is not a long tradition of heat metering in the UK, and building services engineers may have little or no previous experience of heat metering installation and operation. In addition, metering heat is a more complex than metering other utilities.
The research behind the report was directed at investigating the accuracy of different meter types, particularly when the meters are incorrectly installed. It touches on how the accuracy of meters can decline over time, and after how long recalibration should be carried out.
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