Thousands of landlords and developers are facing fines over a lack of awareness of heat network regulations, a compliance expert has warned.
It is thought an estimated 17,000 networks have gone through the process of registering sites with multiple tenants, but Michael Gallucci, managing director of consultancy MPGQS, says many more individuals and organisations have missed the notification deadline.
Discussing the issues, Gallucci said: “It is pretty clear that people are perplexed by the requirements for metering. I would urge people to seek professional advice.”
Shifting deadlines has added confusion and created a ‘moving target’ for compliance, claims Gallucci.
“Although regulations are an administrative headache for agents, and an unwelcome cost burden for landlords, managing the process well could help reduce energy bills and develop more efficient buildings.
“Managing agents must ensure their clients comply by reporting information about properties where residents are supplied with heating, cooling or hot water. They may also be required to install meters at occupier level, an obligation that’s set to roll out more widely in 2017, spreading the net of those who can be caught out.
“It’s complex but cannot be ignored. Non-compliance with any of the requirements to notify, meter and bill is a criminal offence that can lead to civil and criminal sanctions, including unlimited fines, not to mention damage to reputation.”
Under the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 and driven by an EU target to cut greenhouse gas emissions even a building owner or manager with a small sub-let is classed as a heating supplier if the tenant is charged for heating, cooling or hot water, whether it’s billed separately or included in the rent.
Suppliers were required to notify the National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO) by the end of 2015. NMRO can impose civil sanctions for non-compliance with the notification requirements, including compliance notices or enforcement undertakings and financial penalties.
Fines for landlords can be given for non completion of the notification, a new development or major refurbishment which hasn’t installed meters at occupier level and if meters haven’t been installed at building level existing properties managed or owned.