Rotherham residents receive 23 per cent reduction in district heating charges

RESIDENTS who saw their district heating charges treble in the spring have been given better news with a 23 per cent reduction.

The price per kilowatt hour went from 7p to 20.7p in March, in line with the government’s Energy Price Guarantee.

But a reduction in energy prices since has allowed the unit cost to be reduced to 15.94p, with RMBC backdating the price to the start of the financial year in April.

The change — affecting all 1,260 properties across the 18 district heating schemes — will align prices with the new Ofgem price cap for July 2023.

Council leader Cllr Chris Read said: “I can’t remember the times we’ve had to change the district heating charges in this year but that reflects the uncertainty in the energy market that we’ve all felt in our bills.

“We set the charges in the usual way back in March. The prices were exceptionally high at that moment in time.

“With household bills and the general cost of living continuing to rise, we know many of our residents are facing a real struggle.

“We hope this reduction will offer them a little bit of breathing space.”

The council set up a £2.6 million “cushioning” fund in the spring to absorb some of the much higher unit costs of district heating, without which it was feared bills could be well above the £3,000 government cap.

Residents on credit meters will receive an adjustment to their rent accounts on July 31 and weekly payments for the remainder of 2023/24.

For those on pre-payment meters, a credit based on their actual usage will be applied to the heat meter in August 2023.

The change, approved by cabinet on Monday, will go before full council next Wednesday.

And senior officers will be granted permission to reduce the price again — without an elected members’ vote — should rates fall again during 2023/24.

James Clark, RMBC’s assistant director of housing, said: “In the event, for example, of Ofgen reducing the price cap again, the council would want to pass the benefit onto customers as quickly as possible instead of going through this process again.”

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