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Legislative proposal on measuring heating, cooling and water consumption per household and related billing to Parliament

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 17.6.2020 13.29
Press release

On 17 June 2020, the Government submitted a legislative proposal to Parliament in which it proposed a reform in the system used to measure and bill district heating, district cooling and water consumption.

The purpose of this reform is to encourage people to save energy by adopting more energy-efficient household water and heating energy consumption patterns. The reform would also involve a billing system based on actual consumption, and ensuring access to information on energy consumption.

The proposal is related to the implementation of the amending Directive on Energy Efficiency.  The Government proposes amendments to the Energy Efficiency Act, the Limited Liability Housing Companies Act, the Act on Residential Leases, the Act on Interest Subsidy for Rental Housing Loans and Right of Occupancy Housing Loans, the Act on the Use, Assignment and Redemption of State-Subsidised (ARAVA) Rental Dwellings and Buildings and the Right-of-Occupancy Housing Act. The legislative amendments are due to enter into force on 24 October 2020.

Water bill to be based on actual consumption per household

According to the legislative proposal, the water charge per household must be based on actual measured consumption. After the entry into force of the Act, billing in new housing companies should always be based on consumption indicated by remotely read water meters. Old housing companies would switch to billing based on actual consumption gradually, with the installation of remotely read water meters in connection with the water and sewage system renovations carried out after the entry into force of the Act. 

Currently a significant proportion of housing companies base their water charges on other metrics, such as the number of residents in an apartment, or water unit cost per square metre. Tenants are often charged a fixed amount for water consumption. The installation of apartment-specific water meters became a statutory requirement in new buildings in 2011, and in connection with water and sewage system renovations in 2013.

The proposed act requires that information must be provided to shareholders in housing companies, tenants and holders of right of occupancy on their measured water consumption and other billing criteria. A Government decree is to be issued specifying in more detail the information to be provided.

Measurement and billing of heating and cooling to change

District heating and cooling supplied to new buildings are to be measured with remotely readable devices. Any district heating and cooling meters already installed should be upgraded to or replaced by remotely readable devices by 31 December 2026.

More extensive obligation will be imposed on district heating suppliers to provide information on consumption and fuels to their customers. Customers should have access, either in their heating bill or on the Internet, to information on their energy consumption, the climate impacts of their consumption, fuels used for energy production, and a comparison of energy use by other similar consumers.

Further provisions on the allocation of costs of heating, cooling and water consumption will be laid down in a Government decree.

Inquiries:
Eriika Melkas, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7134
Pia Kotro, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7229
Markus Tervonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Justice, tel. +358 29 515 0558 (Limited Liability Housing Companies Act)
Johanna Hossa, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Justice, tel. +358 29 515 0195 (Act on Residential Leases)
Kaisa Kauko, Senior Engineer, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 29 525 0121 (building regulations)

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