Obligatory heating meter readings in Poland?
Recent increases in the price of electricity and gas affects the bills paid by owners and tenants. This includes heating bills. We already know that it will only be more expensive in the future, but it turns out that for those who use the municipal heating network, it may become cheaper.
In the near future, the Polish government plans to implement changes to the current regulations regarding the heating of homes. The government wants that it would be obligatory to measure the real usage of heating in all multifamily buildings in order for apartments’ owners to pay for real usage. It has to be added that only in newly constructed and relatively recently built multifamily buildings such metering exists. The vast majority of older housing stock don’t have such metering. In those buildings heating usage is calculated based on units sqm, which is very often not favourable for owners or tenants.
The obligations to apply the new regulation will be on building managers who will have to organise and conduct installation of heat meters or heat allocators in all apartments in the buildings they manage. In addition managers will be required to provide information on the current heat consumption upon owner or tenant request.
Unfortunately, like any changes this one also raises many questions and comes with uncertainties. The major issue is the method of measuring heat. While in newly built or recently built housing we have heat meters that are easy to use it turns out that they may not be installed in older buildings due to the inadequate heating installation. Older multifamily buildings will be forced to use heat allocators, which already cause trouble in real life usage today.
There are several ongoing court proceedings related to heat billing using allocators. This is not because they are faulty or the measurement is poor, but due to the fact that the data they provide are not properly read and/ or processed in order to calculate heat consumption. Therefore, it would be good, if the obligation to measure the heat usage would come with transparent and standardised rules on how the heat consumption should be calculated and reconciled.
Will the regulations come into force and when? This is not known yet. However the advancement of work and the fact the subject has been discussed for a long time now suggest we can expect such a regulation soon. There’s also talking that several buildings could be excluded from it, for example buildings that hasn’t been subject to thermal modernisation or where it would be not possible to install heating meters. As implementation of new rules would be on building managers, let’s hope they would be given enough time to apply it.