Heat network (again)

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danco
danco Posts: 210 Forumite
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I live in a block of sixty flats whose heating is communal. The heating is usng Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) which goes through a fan system in the individual flats providing warm air heating.

Apparently VRF is not covered by the Heat Networks (Billing and Metering) regulations. I confess I don't understand this, as chilled liquid is specifically mentioned in the regulations, but this has been stated by our supplier and confirmed by the regulator. I would be interested to know where this is clarified.

The main trouble from the residents' point of view is that the charging uses virtual metering rather than actual meters and that the billing is monthly. That means that we have no way of seeing how our programmer settings affect our usage.

The billing firm provide the following explanation of the virtual metering.

Electric use per compressor is recorded by the head end
Head end records how long each FCU served by compressor has been on
At the end of the month, system produces daily apportionment CSV
This is processed by Switch2, with daily consumption per property added togethe
rThis gives a total monthly consumption figure per property
This is added to previous consumption totals to give a virtual meter reading
Bills issued for monthly kWh total at kWh rate

I think we all find this somewhat confusing. We have asked if more frequent figures can be produced (Ideally daily, but even weekly would help). We have been told that this may not be feasible, and that even if it can be done there would be additional costs.

I am wondering if any of the experts on the forum know if another billing company might be able to produce much more frequent billing, and what costs are likely to be (either one-off for new individual meters, or continuing using the data more often). We would all like a change if it can be done without too much extra expenditure.


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  • MattMattMattUK
    MattMattMattUK Posts: 8,763 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
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    danco said:
    I live in a block of sixty flats whose heating is communal. The heating is usng Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) which goes through a fan system in the individual flats providing warm air heating.

    Apparently VRF is not covered by the Heat Networks (Billing and Metering) regulations. I confess I don't understand this, as chilled liquid is specifically mentioned in the regulations, but this has been stated by our supplier and confirmed by the regulator. I would be interested to know where this is clarified.

    The main trouble from the residents' point of view is that the charging uses virtual metering rather than actual meters and that the billing is monthly. That means that we have no way of seeing how our programmer settings affect our usage.

    The billing firm provide the following explanation of the virtual metering.

    Electric use per compressor is recorded by the head end
    Head end records how long each FCU served by compressor has been on
    At the end of the month, system produces daily apportionment CSV
    This is processed by Switch2, with daily consumption per property added togethe
    rThis gives a total monthly consumption figure per property
    This is added to previous consumption totals to give a virtual meter reading
    Bills issued for monthly kWh total at kWh rate

    I think we all find this somewhat confusing. We have asked if more frequent figures can be produced (Ideally daily, but even weekly would help). We have been told that this may not be feasible, and that even if it can be done there would be additional costs.

    I am wondering if any of the experts on the forum know if another billing company might be able to produce much more frequent billing, and what costs are likely to be (either one-off for new individual meters, or continuing using the data more often). We would all like a change if it can be done without too much extra expenditure.
    Unfortunately even the most informed on here will be unable to help without knowing very detailed specifics of the system, likely needing to inspect what is installed and how it functions, unless there is a full technical document of the installation available. I am surr that it would be technically possible, the system is already recording the data at at least the daily level and likely the actual data is much more granular, although how easy it would be to understand could be another question.

    The key questions though us what structure is the system and billing operated under, do you as the residents have control to dismiss the management company and/or force them to change contractor?


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