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Heat charges

A renewable heating bill looks like an electricity bill, it includes a standing charge and variable charge. Bills will be issued by Cambridgeshire County Council, according to an individual’s preferred payment method, which is selected at sign-up.

Swaffham Prior never connected to the gas network, and most homes use oil boilers for heating and hot water. To support new customers, heat charges have been set in comparison with the costs of oil heating. This pricing strategy will be applied until 2027, from then an electricity comparison will gradually be introduced.

To understand how much heating and hot water could cost when connected to Swaffham Prior Heat Network read the how much will my heating cost section on this page.

Compare the cost of heating on the Swaffham Prior Heat network with alternative heating costs by visiting the Heat Trust website.

Variable charge

  • The variable charge is a payment for the heat you use. The heat used is measured in kWh, by the heat meter installed in your home.
  • The current charge for 2024 is set at 9.68p/kWh (9.22p/kWh + VAT) until 31 December 2024.
  • The heat meter installed in your home measures your heat usage and automatically sends the information to us for billing.
  • This price is reviewed annually against the heating oil component of CPI until 2027 (it will transfer over time to electricity CPI).
  • Note: The variable charge in 2023 was set at 12.3p/kWh from 1 January to 31 December 2023. However, to help households with the cost of living crisis the Council limited the tariff increase in line with the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee to 10.3p/kWh from 1 January to 31 March 2023.

The variable charge was set in 2021 as a direct comparison with the equivalent cost of oil to produce the same amount of energy (kWh).

1 litre of oil contains 10.3 kWh of energy The boiler has an efficiency rating of 85% This means that only 85% of 10.3kWh of energy can be converted into useful heating 8.8kWh of heating is produced (85% of 10.3kWh in 1 litre of oil) 1 kWh costs 5.15p (45.3p/8.8kWh useful heat produced). This is the heat network base price set in 2021.]

How the base price was set

  • This base price was set in 2021
  • 1 litre of oil costs 45.3p
  • 1 litre of oil contains 10.3 kWh of energy
  • The boiler has an efficiency rating of 85%
  • This means that only 85% of 10.3kWh of energy can be converted into useful heating
  • 8kWh of heating is produced (85% of 10.3kWh in 1 litre of oil)
  • 1 kWh costs 5.15p (45.3p/8.8kWh useful heat produced).

Charges are indexed to the heating oil component of the consumer price index (CPI). This will be reviewed annually. Charges will increase or reduce in line with CPI each January, the index is published on the GOV.UK website.

Standing charge

  • The Standing Charge is set to be an equivalent cost to owning and maintaining an oil boiler
  • The charge contributes towards the costs of installing and maintaining the heat network, as well as customer and billing services
  • This price is reviewed annually according to inflation

Current standing charges

The standing charge covers the infrastructure costs required to deliver heat. It is an annual fixed charge included within your bill.

Floor area of property

2022 Annual cost

2023 Annual Cost

2024 Annual Cost

50 - 99m2

£267 (254 + 5% VAT)

£289 (275 + 5% VAT)

£313 (£298+VAT)

100 - 149m2

£337 (£321 + 5% VAT)

£359 (342 + 5% VAT)

£389 (£370+VAT)

150 - 199m2

£408 (£389 + 5% VAT)

£435 (414 + 5% VAT)

£471 (£448+VAT)


£480 (£457 + 5% VAT)

£511 (487 + 5% VAT)

£553 (£527+VAT)

The base standing charge was set in comparison to the lifetime costs of owning, maintaining, and replacing a boiler.


The table below shows a breakdown of the average costs used to set the charges.




Annual cost

Oil boiler


18 years


Oil tank


60 years


Boiler maintenance and repair (3 callouts over 5-year period)






The average annual cost was adjusted by house size to set the final standing charges. Each January this charge will be reviewed and indexed to the consumer price index (CPI). * In 2024, there was a 8.3% increase and average annual standing charge is now £432.

How much will my heating cost?

Your bill will include a fixed standing charge depending on the size of your property, and a variable charge which will depend on how much heating and hot water you use. The final amount on your bill will depend on how much heating and hot water you use; we have provided some examples of annual heating costs below based on Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and data supplied by Swaffham Prior residents.

Base Data

2024 - Price increase

House Types


Floor area

Heat usage

Hot water (kWh)

Standing Charge estimate

Variable Charge estimate

Indicative Annual Heat Bill


Jan - Dec

2-bed bungalow








3-bed bungalow

Tothill Rd







3-bed semi-detached

Fairview Grove







3-bed semi-detached

Greenhead Road







3-bed terrace

Mill Hill







3-bed detached house

Tothill Rd







4-bed detached house

High St
Lower End







4-bed heritage home

High St
Lower End







How will the heat charges change?

The variable and fixed standing charges will change annually in January in line with inflation. The measure for this is the average Consumer Prices Index (CPI) published for the year to October. This is compared with the average for the preceding year and charges adjusted in line with the change. The Heat Supply Agreement commits to increase charges in line with CPI. We will reduce charges in line with CPI if it falls.

For the fixed standing charge, we base the change on the whole CPI. For the variable charge, for years one to five, we base the change on the 'liquid fuels' (oil) component of CPI. For years six to ten, change moves to being based on electricity component. From year ten, we only use CPI's electricity component.

The CPI information we refer to above is included in table 2.1.3 published monthly on the GOV.UK website.

Transition to electricity CPI

Other charges

Other charges you may incur include:

  • Abortive call out charge - this applies if you don't provide access to your property during an agreed time for an agreed purpose on more than one occasion
  • Debt processing charge - this reimburses us for any costs we face in recovering overdue payments
  • Compensation charge - covers the cost of repairing or replacing damaged Heat Interface Units or Heat Meters where the fault lies with the customer
  • Cancellation charges

We include in your bill any charges payable by you, or compensation payments owed by us.

For further details on these charges, please read the Heat Supply Agreement.