Here you can find out more about District Heating schemes and the benefits of being connected to one.
EBRS: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the EBRS and who is eligible for it?
The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS), is designed to provide a discount on the cost of wholesale gas and electricity unit prices. This means that we can purchase gas and electricity at discounted rates and then pass this benefit on to our customers.
All residential & business customers connected to our heat networks will automatically receive the benefit of any discount provided to us under the EBRS scheme.
How much will the discount be? What do I need to do to get this discount?
The EBRS discount you will receive is applied automatically and you do not need to take any action in order to receive it. The value will be based on the discount we receive from our suppliers and will be communicated to you both by letter and shown on your next bill.
The scheme will be running from 1st October to 31st of March 2023, after which we understand the UK government will conduct a review before deciding on any further support or any potential extension of the scheme.
How will it be administered?
The scheme will be administered by way of credit be applied to monthly bills. Your tariff and the level of credit provided will be reviewed by us on a monthly basis as we keep in close contact with our suppliers.
Because of the potential variable estimation of the EBRS discount, we are reducing the unit charge (pence / kWh) of your tariff – the discount is directly proportional to the demand for heat and hot water in your property and the monthly recalculated tariff will reflect this.
Does the EBRS affect the standing charge too?
No, EBRS only applies to the variable unit cost of gas or electricity, standing charges are unaffected.
Why did I receive 2 October bills? Which one shall I pay for?
Some of our customers may have received their October bill at the beginning of November as usual. However, in order to ensure the benefit of EBRS is passed on to you as promptly as possible we took the decision to re-issue these bills with an estimation of the EBRS benefit.
If you haven’t made already made payment for the first October bill you can disregard this and pay the value of the second bill. The bill reflecting the estimation of the EBRS discount is also visible on your Portal.
What happens if I already paid against the first October bill?
In the case where you have made a payment into your account based on the first initial bill, the amount you overpaid compared against the EBRS discounted bill will remain in your account as credit, which will be used to support payments for the November billing period.
My October bill was based on a read estimation – how will it be recalculated?
Where a bill has been calculated base on an estimation of consumption (due to no reads being available from your meter), we will apply the EBRS discounted tariff based on your estimated consumption.
Once meter reads are available your bill will be recalculated to reflect the accurate consumption and application of the EBRS discount. This will happen automatically.
What happens if your estimate for the discount is too high?
We are working closely with our suppliers and are dedicating internal resources to make sure our team does not make an estimation higher than what we expect. Because of this, it is unlikely that the discount we estimate will be higher than the actual benefit we receive.
In the event that we have inadvertently passed on a greater level of discount that we received, your next bill will be adjusted to reflect the accurate level of discount.
Why does the level of discount vary each month?
The discount is applied to your consumption, therefore the level of credit will adjust to reflect your consumption in month. We will also adjust your bill as we finalise the calculations of EBRS applicable to each month.
What happens if I moved out in the middle of a month?
In instances where a resident moves out in the middle of a billing period, we will be reviewing your bill and applying the EBRS discounted tariff accrued to the days you lived in that property. This means that your balance will be recalculated to reflect the discount in the same way as your balance would adjust at the end of the month you move out. You will not need to do anything for this adjustment.
Is there any other support available?
The government has introduced 3 measures that will support customers on heat networks:
- £400 credit via the Energy Bills Support Scheme
- Customers on heat networks will receive a one-off £400 credit via the Energy Bills Support Scheme.
- As you have a domestic electricity tariff with another supplier, you do not need to apply for this £400 credit, it will automatically be added to your electricity bill.
- Heating and hot water bill support via the Energy Bill Relief Scheme
- Battersea heat network customers could be eligible for heating and hot water bill support via the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.
- The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) is to be applied to energy usage for all domestic and non-domestic heat network customers between 1st October 2022 and 31st March 2023.
- Energy Price Guarantee Cap
As you have a domestic electricity tariff with another supplier, you will benefit from the Energy Price Guarantee Cap which limits the unit cost of electricity to 34.0p/kWh. This cap applies to usage from the 1st of October 2022 and ends on 31st March 2023. You do not need to apply for this benefit, your electricity supplier will apply it to your bill.
What about the £100 discount from the Government?
Unfortunately, it has been decided that heat network consumers in Great Britain will now not receive the Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment which will be further targeted on those fuels mentioned above.
Heat network customers will still see reductions in their heat price through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, through receipt of the Energy Bill Support Scheme payments of £400 and benefit from the domestic Energy Price Guarantee for electricity, which was extended in October by an extra 12 months from April.
What do I do if I am struggling to pay my bills?
We are aware these are challenging times for everyone, and we are committed to act fairly with our customers. If making payments into your account is becoming challenging, we are here to help – we can explain options (discussing your direct debits or repayment plans) to fit your circumstances.
We are available Monday to Friday 0800 - 1800 and Saturday 0800 – 1300 on:
Tel: 0800 999 5080
To view our EBRS Discount Battersea Powerstation letter please click here
To view our EBRS Discount The Residence and Lexington Gardens letter please click here
What exactly is “District Heating”?
Here in the UK, heating tends to be generated on-site, in individual buildings. The most common sources of heat are gas boilers, electric heaters and oil-powered boilers. However, in many parts of the world it is common to use local networks to transport heat to consumers through insulated pipes. This process is called “district heating”.
In these cases, the heat source is not contained inside each individual building, but is generated locally at a combined heat and power (CHP) plant – reducing the losses normally associated with electricity or gas heating production. The heat is distributed to many consumers via a network of pipes, in a similar way to a domestic central heating system, but on a much larger, community-wide scale.
How is my home heated?
Heating and hot water is generated centrally and is distributed around the local area via a network of insulated pipes. This primary network links with the secondary network in your building which provides your heating and hot water.
Why is my home connected to a District Heating scheme? What are the benefits?
There are global, European and UK targets to reduce carbon emissions. One way of significantly reducing carbon emissions is to generate energy as close to the end users as possible. Using a district CHP plant allows electricity and heat to be generated and distributed locally.
As they are built on a far larger scale than typical domestic central heating systems, district heating schemes allow those participating to benefit from low-carbon technologies and economies of scale. More efficient generation of heat and fewer carbon dioxide emissions also help the environment.
As there is no gas supply or gas boiler in your home, your home is inherently safer, and you don’t need to pay for annual safety checks and maintenance of a gas boiler.
Who provides my District Heating scheme?
EQUANS operates the energy generation and distribution plant and systems in your area.
Where does my hot water come from?
The energy for your heating system comes from the combined heat and power plant (CHP) at an energy centre within your district heating scheme. The hot water from our network passes through the equipment in your home’s airing cupboard and is circulated through your home like a conventional central heating system.
The hot water in your home is fed by a heat exchanger, called a Heat Interface Unit (HIU). The hot water can be manually programmed to come on at certain times using a time clock-based programmer in your home.
Is the heat I receive enough to provide heat and hot water to my home?
Yes. Our heating network is a variable volume, low-temperature hot-water distribution system. It operates with a constant temperature differential, nominally with a flow temperature of 95°C (+15% under certain conditions) and a return temperature of 55°C.
Is District Heating ‘greener’ than conventional systems?
Yes. Developers of new homes are required by government planning policies to cut carbon emissions. They can do this by using district heating schemes, rather than traditional systems that require boilers in every home and miles of gas pipework. Our carbon emissions are a fraction of what they would be if conventional heating systems were installed.
Is District Energy subject to the same outside factors as buying gas for a traditional system?
Any price changes (one per year will be the norm) must reflect three main criteria: the wholesale price of gas, inflation, and the cost changes of labour and materials as measured by an index known as BEAMA.
We expect this to provide residents with a stable pricing structure, which will protect them against outside factors that have caused bills from traditional suppliers to rise sharply. These factors include fluctuating company profit margins and subsidies for green energy that are required by the government.
Community Energy Tariff Enquiries?
The increase in global energy prices has had dramatic effects on the cost of living across the UK, and we know that this is affecting all our customers. Firstly, we want to assure you that we are doing all that we can to help mitigate the impact of rising prices and secondly, we wanted to share more about how our tariffs are managed as part of your heat network.
Receiving your heating from a heat network comes with many benefits, offering improved efficiency and reduced carbon emissions when compared to a localised gas boiler. Whilst this does mean that you are restricted in choosing your energy supplier, it doesn’t mean that our tariffs are not competitive.
How are tariffs calculated?
As each heat network involves significant upfront investment in the infrastructure of buried networks and central energy plant, long-term energy supply contracts are needed to allow that investment to be recovered over time, typically for between 25 and 40 years. Accurately projecting costs (especially fuel) over that time is very difficult as prices constantly change (similar to petrol prices on a forecourt station) and can be affected by global events or economic shocks.
To keep prices affordable and competitive for the customer across the life of network, operators use a controlled process agreed at the point of construction, for the management of tariffs. This takes a baseline tariff at the time of first occupation and provides for the tariff to be changed after agreed time periods in accordance with a prescribed formula, based on published indexes, or 12-month energy price forecasts.
Tariffs comprise of fixed charges (to cover the cost of operation, maintenance and life-cycle plant replacement) as well as variable charges (to cover the cost of energy/fuel consumed). Each component of the tariff uses different indexation mechanisms to determine what changes are justified at any one periodic review.
The biggest impact on tariffs this year has been the price of wholesale gas, which has risen significantly. This has affected prices on a whole range of energy systems, including heat networks, and domestic gas boilers, across the UK.
Why am I not protected by the OFGEM price cap?
Heat networks operators can only procure their gas supply through commercial markets, unlike large residential energy suppliers who procure through the wholesale market, which is typically less expensive. As such heat networks are classified as commercial supplies, and therefore the OFGEM price cap does not apply.
The government is proposing legislation that would provide OFGEM powers to improve consumer protection for residential customers of heat networks, including powers to regulate tariffs. This is a decision that we support, and we are working closely with the government and industry bodies to bring this forward.
EQUANS Urban Energy Limited
Registered in England and Wales. Registered No: 01506399. Registered Office: Shared Service Centre, Q3 Quorum Business Park, Benton Lane, Newcastle Upon, Tyne NE12 8EX
Importantly, our tariff is set for 12 months and will not increase until April 2023. As you may be aware residential customers under the OFGEM price cap are likely to see a further material rise in energy costs in October of this year. This will not affect you.
What are we doing to help reduce the impact of rising costs?
We are determined to seek the best market prices for our gas in order to offer you the best tariff we can. This combined with the 12 months fixed price for your heat offers advantages not available to other residential customers.
We are also managing the increase in the price of gas in line with the requirements and guidelines of the Heat Trust Scheme, which is a self-regulation initiative that recognises best practice and champions customer protections specifically for the district heating industry.
What other support is available?
As you may be aware the Government has launched a number of initiatives to help manage the recent energy pricing challenges, that we recommend you access if applicable. These include:
- The Warm Home Discount,
- Household Support Guidance,
- £150 Council Tax Rebate, and
- Other Government resources
If you are struggling to keep up with costs or manage debt and personal finances, you can also contact the Citizen's Advice Bureau and StepChange for free support and advice.
We want to assure you that we are continually reviewing the current situation and are actively working on initiatives to support our customers. If you have any questions, please contact us. In the meantime, we will make sure to keep you up to date with any further changes.