Thursday, 30 November 2017

District heating is locking Cranbrook residents into 'a costly scheme who have no right to switch' > the story continues

The benefits of a district heating network are numerable, as reported in this piece from the Guardian a couple of years ago:
District heating: a hot idea whose time has come | Cities | The Guardian

The only problem is that it needs a lot of capital up front - which means locking householders into standing charges:

The capital and running costs of DE systems are recovered by the owners levying charges on building occupiers. 
Tariff structures are frequently two-part, with some form of monthly standing charge designed to recover fixed-system costs...

District energy networks - Designing Buildings Wiki

Here is a thoughtful piece from the Observer from earlier this year:
Energy customers locked into a costly scheme who have no right to switch | Money | The Guardian

And this is what we have in new town Cranbrook - which has come to no surprise from the likes of the East Devon Watch which has been warning about the issues for years:
Cranbrook’s district heating system under fire – no switching allowed and developers get a cut for 80 year contract | East Devon Watch
District heating (as supplied in Cranbrook) heavily criticised by Which | East Devon Watch
“District heating network outage leaves Cranbrook without heating or hot water” | East Devon Watch

Here's the latest from the Western Morning News:

District heating network outage leaves Cranbrook without heating or hot water

Residents of the new town have to use the E.ON energy centre


By Daniel Clark 13:33, 29 NOV 2017

Cranbrook was left without heating and hot water on Sunday morning.

The new town in East Devon has its heating and hot water supplied by the UK’s first community-wide energy scheme based on emissions-free renewable energy sources. The project, to be funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, is based at E.ON’s energy centre in Cranbrook to the east of Exeter. The district heating network supplies the whole of the town and residents are required to sign up to the scheme.

But residents in the town reported that on Sunday morning they were left without heating or hot water and that it is not the first time that it has happened.

Aerial shot of Cranbrook

Sarah Jenkins, Acting Town Clerk for Cranbrook Town Council, said: “The Town Council is aware that there was an outage on Sunday morning and I understand that it lasted about one and a half hours. I do not know how many homes were affected. The Cranrbook Consortium was made aware immediately on Sunday morning and has followed up the matter with E.ON.”

Several residents contacted DevonLive.com to report they were facing problems.

E.ON have been contacted but have not responded to request for comment.

Energy giant E.ON is behind the development of a district network heating hub at Exeter’s Skypark that will service commercial buildings developed at the business zone, as well as homes and community buildings at the nearby Cranbrook village. Its combined heat and power engines, which will provide heat and hot water 24 hours a day, with surplus electricity generated fed back into the National Grid. Fuelled initially by natural gas, it will develop over time to run on waste wood biomass.

E.ON in Cranbrook

The community energy centre will be located on the £120 million Skypark development and will supply heat and hot water to both the community of Cranbrook and the Skypark business development. The low carbon heat source will change as the developments grow, with gas-fired boilers being supplemented by gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP), and later by biomass fuelled CHP.

Alongside the lower carbon heating solution, renewable microgeneration technologies can be added to the Cranbrook and Skypark properties to further meet low carbon targets in the future.

How would you shape the future of Cranbrook?

E.ON though has an 80-year contract to supply Cranbrook, and once people have bought into a development, residents are locked into a deal with E.ON and are not allowed to fit solar panels or heat source pumps and, whether or not they use their heating, remain liable for often large standing charges which include maintenance and repair of the infrastructure.

“District heating network outage leaves Cranbrook without heating or hot water” | East Devon Watch

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