Does heating in a block of flats use my electricity?

When you move into a block of flats, you might wonder whether your energy bill still works the same way. After all, a block of flats isn’t just a bunch of apartments stacked on top one another, there are communal areas such as hallways, elevators, stairwells and perhaps even a lobby.

All of these areas will need heating, you might assume. Who pays for this? Is this included in your rent or electricity bills? How is that fair?

acasa have put together this guide to different scenarios to help you decipher whether or not your electricity bill is being used to heat the rest of your apartment building.

Does heating in a block of flats use my electricity bill?

If you have your own contract with an energy supplier, you will only be paying for the heating, gas and electricity you personally use. However, more and more blocks of flats are using communal boilers for their energy needs, in which case you will typically be paying a flat rate towards the community heat network.

  • Personal contract: Also known as ‘traditional energy supply’, you set up a contract with your preferred supplier and pay monthly, quarterly or yearly for the energy you use.
  • Community heating: Energy is distributed around the block of flats from a shared boiler and each user pays a flat rate towards it. It’s usage, including when it can be switched on or off, is controlled by the property manager.

District or Communal Heating

The government is keen to roll out more and more district or community heating as a more energy efficient alternative for heating in urban areas. Apartment buildings will usually use ‘communal heating’, whereas ‘district heating’ refers to larger-scale networks that may stretch across several miles.

Communal heating area a great idea in theory, and some users may actually get more energy for their money depending on what rate they pay. However, it’s currently unregulated despite affected more than 210,000 UK households and counting. This means that users are finding themselves overcharged and under-supplied with nowhere to turn to.

At the moment, communal heating is working out more expensive and unfair for users than traditional energy supply. This is all alongside the fact that many users don’t have the option of switching away from communal heating if they are dissatisfied.

Use acasa

acasa is designed for anyone sharing a house, from students to young professionals to couples. With acasa, you can avoid unnecessary conflict around splitting utility bills with our direct billing and balance tracking systems.

Get a free quote for your property and enjoy a more stress-free approach to managing your shared house.

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