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Frequently Asked Questions

As part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park development there is a key feature to your property which you might be unfamiliar with. Your new property does not have an individual boiler. Instead, it relies on a “District Heating Scheme”. There is nothing to worry about here, as we will seek to explain what the District Heating Scheme is and the benefits of being part of the Scheme to you on this site.

Our Current Charges are shown on this page.

  • So what exactly is “district heating”?

    Here in the UK, heating tends to be supplied 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 have 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 the individual building. It is generated locally and is distributed to many consumers via a network of pipes. It’s not dissimilar to a domestic central heating system, but on a much larger community scale.

    As it is built on a far larger scale than a typical domestic central heating system, District Heating Schemes allow those participating in them to benefit from low carbon technologies and the economies of scale. A more efficient generation of heat and fewer carbon dioxide emissions also helps the environment.

    In addition, as there is no gas supply or gas boiler in your home and therefore your home is inherently safer, and annual safety checks associated with a gas boiler due to the risk of carbon monoxide are not required.

  • How exactly is my home heated?
    Your home is supplied with heat from a local, environmentally friendly, sustainable energy centre located on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that also supplies other local buildings, including the Velodrome, the Aquatics Centre and the whole of the Westfield Shopping Centre.

    The heating and hot water is generated centrally and distributed around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park via a network of insulated steel pipes some 18km in length. This primary network links with the East Village secondary network delivering heating and hot water to each building.

  • Why is the East Village connected to a District Heating Scheme?
    The Olympics had ambitious sustainability targets, so the decision was taken to build a site-wide District Energy Scheme powered by two local sustainable energy centres. There are also ambitious London wide targets to reduce carbon emissions and District Energy Schemes have a big part to play in making these targets a reality. Our Energy Centres contain a mixture of low carbon combined heat and power engines, renewable energy boilers and traditional boilers that will reduce carbon emissions due to heating by more than 30% over traditional fossil fuels like gas.
  • Who provides the District Heating?
    The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Stratford City District Energy Scheme is owned and operated by East London Energy.
  • Where does my hot water come from?
    Your hot water cylinder in your home is fed by a heat exchanger called a heat interface unit (HIU) which provides hot water for your shower, baths and sinks.

    The hot water tank can be programmed to come on at certain times using your Honeywell Smile Controller shown in your East Village residents handbook provided by your landlord.

  • How does my heating system work?
    The energy for your heating system comes from the District Heating Scheme. The hot water from our network passes through the equipment in your home’s airing cupboard where the heating controls are located and circulated through your home like a conventional central heating system.
  • Is the heating I receive enough?
    The Heating Network operated by the Energy Centre is a variable volume and the parameters are:

    • Our low temperature hot water distribution system operates with a constant temperature differential, nominally with a flow temperature of 95°C and a return temperature of 55°C. However, the primary flow temperature may increase up to but not exceeding 100°C at the Energy Company’s discretion (with no changes to the temperatures on the secondary side of the Substation). Under fault conditions the H&C Network temperature may reach 110°C.
  • I’m going on holiday, will I still get charged?
    Yes, you will still be required to pay towards the standing portion of the charge. If you switch off your heating and hot water system, you will only pay for the fixed Standing Charge portion of your bill and the Common Heat Availability Charge. Please note that, although your home is highly insulated to the latest standards, we would not recommend switching off your heating during the coldest winter months to avoid the risk of frozen pipes.
  • My property is too hot / too cold – how can I adjust the temperature?
    The room temperatures are controlled by wall mounted controllers and the operating instructions for these are contained in your East Village resident’s handbook provided by your landlord.
  • Is district heating ‘greener’ than conventional systems?
    Yes.  Developers of new homes are required by government planning policies to cut carbon emissions by using technology like this district heating scheme, rather than traditional systems using boilers in individual homes with miles of gas pipe work. Our carbon emissions are a fraction of what they’d have been if a conventional heating system had been installed.
  • What are the advantages of district heating?
    The district heating system has many advantages, in addition to its environmental strengths – it is expected to be more price stable than electricity or gas utilities, is highly resilient – not just being reliant on a gas supply, and it is safer, because there are no boilers and gas pipes within apartment blocks to maintain and check for leaks.
  • Is District Energy subject to the same outside factors as buying gas for a traditional system?
    Any price change (one a year will be the norm) must reflect three main criteria: the wholesale price of gas, inflation, and the cost changes of labour and materials via an index known as BEAMA. We expect this to provide East Village residents with a stable pricing structure that will protect customers against outside factors that have led bills from traditional suppliers to rise sharply or be higher – for instance, fluctuating company profit margins and subsidies for green energy that are required by the government.

    In fact, the latest 12 monthly price review using this criteria has just been carried out and the overall effect on a typical annual bill for residential customers is actually neutral, which is good news for customers. This begins to demonstrate that the pricing model is favourable and stable, particularly when compared to recent increases imposed by other utility companies.

  • Why is my billing different to a traditional energy providers bill?
    The ODA requires that ELE is transparent in our billing and show standing charges, consumption, and a common heat availability charge (CHAC) separately. Despite this transparency, bills should be judged overall, rather than singling out component parts.

    Find out more information about reading your bill here

  • Do I have to submit a reading from a Standard Meter?
    Your meter is automatically read via data network and you do not need to submit meter readings. However, you may contact our Customer Services department in order to receive information on your meter readings. You might also find information on our web portal where you can view directly how much energy have been consumed.

    You may also adjust the temperature to suit your own requirements. If you need information on the temperature controls, please check our heating leaflet.

  • I think that my bills are higher than they should be?
    Across East Village, average winter bills so far for heating and hot water are in the region of £70 per month. We believe these stand comparison with what many consumers will be used to for previous homes, where they won’t have had all the advantages of this system and living in the area.

    East Village has one of the lowest-cost district heating schemes in the country.

    When compared to two other similar London based schemes

    • London Scheme One: East London Energy unit prices are about 10% lower and the East London Energy standing charge is approximately 50% of that charged by Scheme One .
    • London Scheme Two: East London Energy unit prices are more than 60% lower and the East London Energy standing charge is approximately the same.

    You may also compare your heating bills with other energy sources. Heat Cost Calculator allows customers to compare their bills with alternative heating systems taking into account not only the unit price but also other variables.

    http://www.heattrust.org/index.php/heat-cost-comparator

  • How are my bills calculated?

    Heat Price Control Formula

    The formula used to calculate your bill sets out that energy costs are comparable to or below market rates when considering lifetime operational, maintenance and replacement costs. Prices are revised on an annual basis using such a formula. Benchmarks and indices are used to make these revisions, such as Heren Index (for gas prices), the Retail Price Index (as a measure of national inflation) and the BEAMA Index (labour inflation).

    Our charges are adjusted in accordance with our agreement with the Supervising Body as below:

    Standing charges

    Your standing charge will be adjusted in relation to the Retail Price index (RPI) and a technical labour index (BEAMA).

    Variable charges

    Your variable charge will be adjusted in relation to market gas prices (ICIS Heren Index) and the Retail Price Index (RPI).

    Common Heat Availability Charge (CHAC)

    The Common Heat Availability charge will be adjusted in relation to market gas prices (ICIS Heren Index) and the Retail Price index (RPI).

  • Are contingency and maintenance plans readily available to me?
    Information relating to the maintenance and contingency plans is available upon written request.
  • Tariff Enquiries
    The unprecedented 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 such as East London Energy comes with many benefits, offering improved efficiency and reduced carbon emissions when compared to a localised gas boiler. However, this does mean that you are restricted in choosing your energy supplier, this does not mean that we do not offer you competitive tariffs.

    How are tariffs calculated?

    As each heat network involves significant upfront investment in the infrastructure of buried pipework and central energy plant, long-term energy supply contracts are needed to allow that investment to be recovered over time, 40 years in the case of ELE. 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 duration of the scheme life, 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 price control formula using published indexes or 12-month energy price forecasts. The Pricing Control Formula agreed with LLDC under the Concession Agreement and calculated considers a series of Relevant Factors that are defined on the RSA, considering the following factors among others:

    1. Increase in Retail Price Indexation (RPIX)
    2. Increases in the BEAMA Labour and Material Indices
    3. Fuel Price Indicator (ICIS HEREN offer price for NPB Gas

    Tariffs comprise of fixed charges (to cover the cost of operation and maintenance and life-cycle plant replacement), variable charges (to cover the cost of energy/fuel consumed) and common heat availability charges (CHAC – dependant on heat losses across the network). Each component of the tariff uses different indexation mechanisms to determine what changes are justified at any one periodic review.

    More specifically and regarding the CHAC charges, it is worth noting that heat losses are experienced in any centralised heating system. As shared with our residents in the past, the CHAC calculation attends to the same formula and variables shown in our 2021 communications. We will look to share more detail on this element as we progress towards regulation on the next tariff review exercise. Whilst the standard tariffs include 15% heat losses in ELE’s model, any further additional heat losses are charged via the CHAC element of your tariff. This is calculated using annual data collected from the bulk meter (located where the heating systems connect to the development network) and the annual accumulated residential meter data.

    After reducing the annual bulk meter data by 15%, ELE subtracts the residential meter data from the remaining 85% leaving the CHAC in kWh for the system. This figure is multiplied by the appropriate rate to obtain a monetary value, pence/kWh.  This value is then divided by the number of residential properties on the system and then divided by months in the year to give a CHAC value for each residential property for that month.

    The biggest impact on tariffs this year has been caused by the price of wholesale gas which is suffering from an enduring price spike. The cost of gas we procure has increased, which has caused the increase in variable rates you are now facing and being faced by householders across the UK.

    Why am I not protected by the OFGEM price cap?

    Heat networks operators 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 on the topic.

    Our tariff is set for 12 months. However, residential customers protected by the OFGEM price cap are likely to see a further material rise in energy costs in October of this year that 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 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?

    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:

    Also, if you are struggling to keep up with costs or manage debt and personal finances, you can 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.

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