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Heat is vital to our everyday lives. So why is it not central to our energy debates?

Posted by on in Heat 2014
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The British public is increasingly concerned about the cost of heating their home this winter.

A survey commissioned by the BBC showed that 38% of people are worrying about how they will pay for their heating bills this year, with 25% saying that they had endured ‘unacceptably cold’ homes due to rising heating bills in the past year. 

Which? Consumer Tracker recorded that worries about energy bills topped the polls again this month, with 79% expressing their concern.  

Whilst consumer concern about how our energy system can keep heating costs affordable is growing, the centre of the debate continues in the opposite direction with a focus on the electricity market and the regulator. Just last week, MPs in the House of Commons debated the increases in the average household energy bill and the financial challenges for consumers, but the vast majority of discussion focussed on electricity which accounts for about a quarter of a typical household's energy needs.

The debate among MPs saw little discussion regarding heat and how consumers' needs will be met in a low carbon energy future.

With half of the UK's energy use coming from heat, debate on this issue must become front and centre.

Heat 2013 provides the opportunity to explore these questions and give space to the heat debate. In the first session of the conference we’ll be considering the consumer’s perspective. Is improving switching between suppliers sufficient to deliver affordable heat for consumers, or do we need to do more to address the worries they are currently expressing?

And, against a backdrop of rising concern about how we can access to affordable heat, can we create consumer demand for a transition to low-carbon heat supply?

We hope you will join us at Heat 2013 to debate, learn and inform.

Tim Rotheray is the Director of the Combined Heat and Power Association, read his biography here

Tim was appointed Director of the CHPA in August 2013 having previously led the team as Head of Policy and Communications. Tim is responsible for the development and implementation of the Association’s vision for the energy system and oversees the Association’s strategic relationships with members, government, regulators and wider stakeholders. 

Tim joined the CHPA as policy manager at the beginning of 2010 from the Micropower Council where he also held a policy role. During his time in the sustainable energy sector, Tim has also worked for the National Assembly for Wales where he researched the renewable energy potential and barriers in Wales. 

Tim sits on a number of working groups including the RHI industry advisory groups for OFGEM and DECC, the National Grid embedded generation benefits focus group and also OFGEM’s smart grid forum. Tim is also part of OFGEM's future trading arrangements working group, the CBI’s energy policy committee, the business energy forum and an observing member of the Electricity Market Reform collaborative steering group.

In his spare time Tim enjoys cycling and recently completed the Prudential RideLondon; a 100 mile route.


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