Sunday, 16 January 2022

Soaring communal heating bills likely to add to the troubles of residents in Brent's new developments


An article in yesterday's Guardian set alarm bells ringing for people in Brent who are buying or renting some of the new developments that have communal heating.  


Guardian Money explained:

While households with conventional heating systems have been told they could face 50%-plus increases to gas and electricity bills when the cap is increased on 1 April, people who bought or rent apartments in one of the 17,000 blocks in the UK that rely on communal heating and hot water systems are facing fourfold increases as suppliers pass on the huge wholesale price increases unchecked.

It is thought that up to 500,000 people live in developments where at least some of the heating or hot water is provided by a centrally controlled system, usually administered by the company that manages the estate.

Apartments in these developments are all supplied by a single energy supplier, and because this is classified as a commercial deal rather than domestic supply, the residents have not had bills protected by Ofgem’s price cap.

The article gives the example of a Manchester owner of a two bedroomed flat whose energy bill went up from £80 in November to £260 in December.

Individual occupiers cannot change their energy supplier so will be reliant on the managers of the developments to negotiate a deal. Systems designed to reduce carbon and lower bills may unfortunately prove to be an additional burden to people already facing high service charges and in some cases costs for cladding removal, building defects remediation and fire watches.

The Agenda for a June 2021 meeting of residents in George House, South Kilburn, gives a flavour of the range of issues facing residents at an L&Q development LINK:

Proposed agenda for 22nd June Swift George Residents Association meeting

  1. Clarification/update on works to heating & hot water pipe work (including explanation of recent system outages).
  2. Update on replacing terracotta cladding & issuing of EWS1 form 3 and clarification of fire safety policy
  3. Update on safety of windows following the failure of hinges in another L&Q development (we believe we have the same hinges)
  4. Update on service charge refund (the review Rob Hunter had been carrying out).
  5. Energy meters & billing – energy meters appear not to be working or faulty.
  6. Pigeons – reports received of them nesting on the roof of George House and leaving deposits on the flat roof of the 6th floor
  7. Any Other Business (AOB)

Some of the heating issues may have been resolved see HERE

Wembley Matters would be interested in hearing from residents in the South Kilburn, Wembley Park and Alperton regeneration areas who have communal heating  systems if they have been impacted by higher energy costs.


Anonymous said...

Add to that, inflated water bills and ever increasing service charges, in some cases the same size flat in some buildings have vastly different service charges for the same service, just because they are operated by different housing associations.

David Walton said...

As with tall building zones totally ignoring flood risk and removing all existing neighbourhood community infrastructure, another alarming injustice in pile mono-housing high corporatist zoned/ colonial governance projects Global Britain.