Why is metering important for Communal and District Heating Systems:

The introduction of metering is proven to deliver to benefits for Residents and Owners/Operators alike:

  • All Residents are charged fairly based on consumption
  • Heat charges fall by on average 20%
  • Carbon emissions related to the heating system also fall
  • Risk of non-payment is reduced when charging is transparent and fair
  • Metering equipment and billing costs are paid for through energy savings

The attached link to a Europe wide study shows the impact of introducing metering to several existing heating systems in a variety of countries – this strongly supports the potential savings of 20%

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Our team would be very happy to discuss the detail of the requirements and to assist the assessment of feasibility for metering – free site surveys and quotations will be provided to allow the economic assessments to be completed is the simplest fashion.

Our Metering Solutions

If you have a heating system that uses heated water then the chances are we have a metering system to suit.

In newly designed heating systems a smart ultrasonic heat meter is typically installed for each apartment within a property and then the consumption of each flat is continuously monitored.  This requires that each flat has a dedicated flow and return pipe.   In many cases older heating systems are not configured this way and heat supply is shared between flats (single pipe systems) – and hence normally the heating charges are included in the rent or service charges, irrespective of how the heating is used.  In this situation we have a retrofit solution that allows consumption based billing of heating costs, that is non-intrusive and quick to fix.  This is known as Heat Cost Allocation.

ista provides both ultrasonic heat meters for more modern systems and is the market expert in the Heat Cost Allocation.

Heat Cost Allocators

Heat cost allocators are simple pieces of metering equipment that have been designed specifically for the metering of existing heating systems.  Each radiator in a property is fitted with a heat cost allocator – it takes around 10 mins per radiator and is non-intrusive.

These units then collect details of the radiator use and remotely transmit this data via a secure radio network back to ista so that the consumption-based bills can be produced.

The low cost of the allocators and the simplicity of the billing process – which is currently used for 13m homes across the world – means that the overall system is very cost effective. It is expected that most unmetered heating schemes will deliver cost savings to Residents using heat cost allocation, even when taking account of all costs to install and operate. The additional benefit is that the billing is fair to all Residents at a time when occupancy patterns have changed dramatically.

Heating Control

In combination with Heat Cost Allocators, it is important that residents have the potential to control heating use, therefore if thermostatic radiator valves are not installed then these should be introduced at the same time as the metering solution. These valves will be specifically selected according to the design of the heating system, with special high flow models used in single pipe systems.  ista can undertake these works with the metering installation or support any designated maintenance organisations.

Hot Water Meters

Hot water meters are often installed to measure and recharge consumers in addition to the use of HCAs for billing of the heating system.  These are installed on the hot water supply pipes for each flat and depending on the arrangement of the pipework, more than one might be required for each unit.  These sit in the pipework and it is therefore more disruptive than installing HCAs.  The energy savings potential for heating is much more significant than from hot water and so the use of hot water meters is typically restricted to installations where there is an easy access to the hot water supply pipes.  The Hot Water meters are supplied with a remote communication capability and talk via the same radio network used by the HCAs.

Ultrasonic Heat Meters

Most recent heat network installations (last 15 years) will include an ultrasonic heat meter for each flat supplied by the heating system.  These give accurate heating consumption throughout the day which is used for billing of the energy supplied and also manage energy consumption.  If meters are fitted then ista can normally use the existing devices to provide these services.  We also have a range of upgrade and improvement options to get poorly performing metering systems or to introduce remote data collection and even remote control of the heating system.  As meters reach an age of 10+ years then it is likely that the installed batteries will begin to fail and as the calibration is unlikely to extend beyond this time, a replacement programme for the meters is recommended.

Heat Network Regulations

If you are responsible for a Heat Network then there are an increasing number of obligations to follow, the most important being the Heat Network (metering and billing) Regulations.  Any heating system providing heating to more than one domestic or non-domestic customer is a Heat Network and is covered by the Regulations. 

  • All Heat Networks must be Notified to the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) – this to be replaced by a new notification to OFGEM later in 2023.  This will require a new submission, irrespective of any prior notifications.
  • The Notifications require an assessment of feasibility for metering
  • For any Heat Networks where metering is feasible, meters should have been be installed by 1st September 2022.

The infographic shown is a handy summary of the implications and requirements of the updated legislation.


Unmetered supplies of heating to Residential an Commercial properties from a communal system

ista view: 

This will mostly impact the operators of Residential flats in urban locations


To promote the metering and billing of consumption, which is proven to reduce energy consumtpion by on average 20%

ista view: 

This is an opptortunity: saving energy is good for Residents, the Operator and the environment


All multi-dwelling properties with Communal Heating(except Student Accomodation, Sheltered Housing , Almshouses and some leaseholde properties) need to be assessed for the potential to installe metering devices.

ista view:

Local authorities, Social Housing Providers and Property Managers will be significantly impacted.


Operators need to complete a notification process by 27th November 2021 and install meters by 31st September 2022

ista view:

ista can support any Customer with technical and fincancial information to complete the Compliance process

How much?

The work must progress of the metering device installation is cost effective – where the savings from energy recution are greater than the cost of the metering system

ista view: 

In nearly all cases Heat Cost Allocation ist technically feasible and costs effective – delivering real savings to Residents. 

In addition to the above Regulations, Heat Networks can also benefit from energy bill support via the Energy Bill Discount Scheme – especially configured to support residetns connected to communal or district heating systems.  As a result of this being introduced there will be a new mandatory requirement for all Heat Networks to be registered with Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) or risk a £5,000 fine.   The benefits are effective from 1st April 2023 and the DNSNZ registration portal is expected to be accessible in early April.

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