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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

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