District Heating Networks in England and Wales: The evolving regulatory and contractual regimes
Produced in partnership with Sandy Abrahams of Lux Nova Partners
District Heating Networks in England and Wales: The evolving regulatory and contractual regimes

The following Energy guidance note Produced in partnership with Sandy Abrahams of Lux Nova Partners provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • District Heating Networks in England and Wales: The evolving regulatory and contractual regimes
  • District Heating Networks
  • Regulation of district heating
  • Voluntary standards
  • Heat Networks: Developing a Market Framework
  • Key DHN project documentation and issues arising in negotiation

District Heating Networks

In the UK, District Heating Networks (DHN) provide heating to multiple customers within a building (sometimes referred to as communal heating) or a number of buildings (referred to as district heating) using a centralised generation system. The heat is provided in the form of hot water or warm (or more rarely, steam), before being piped throughout a building (communal) or across the local area to more than one building (district). Typically, where a DHN spans multiple buildings, heat exchangers are used to hydraulically separate the central system from local systems, allowing different pressures and rates of circulation and easier control of temperatures (and ownership) in local buildings.

The regulatory regime applicable to DHN is currently limited, notwithstanding that DHN schemes tend to be monopolies in relation to the heat that they provide, with customers often having little or no choice in relation to their district heating provider. Gradually, various mechanisms for governance are being introduced, for example under EU regulation and through the voluntary Heat Trust scheme. The Competition Markets Authority (CMA) investigation (see further below) is however, likely to pave the way to further regulation, as may the Scottish Government’s consultations on regulation of district heating (which is outside the scope of this note). (For the latest publications and next steps on the Scottish Governments consultations,