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Decide on supply and maintenance contracts

A reliable source of consistently good quality fuel is critical for reliable operation of a wood fuel boiler, as is maintenance of the system.

There are a number of different contract options. Fuel suppliers, equipment suppliers and energy service companies (ESCos) will all offer varying levels of service.

Heat (ESCo) contracts

The ESCo contract is a complete package where the company will manage the entire installation and operate the system including fuel supply and operation and maintenance. The customers simply purchase metered heat at a fixed tariff.

This model reduces the risk, capital outlay and effort required for the customer. In some cases the heating plant is owned by the customer, and in others the ESCo owns the boiler and leases it to the customer, with an option to buy the boiler back after a fixed period of time.

Fuel contracts

These offer more price flexibility but require careful attention to contract details to ensure reliability and quality of supply.

Your suppliers will offer one or more of the following types of contract:

  • fuel-only
  • installation services
  • operation/maintenance services

The supply contract will depend on the level of control that you want:

  • Full control: you arrange your own fuel supply, boiler servicing and maintenance separately
  • Reasonable control: you will arrange your own fuel supply but have servicing arranged for you
  • Minimal control: you have fuel supply, monitoring and servicing arranged by one supplier.

Suppliers will deliver the fuel to a specified size and moisture content. Payment can be based on weight or energy content but it is advisable to base payments on kilowatt hours of heat supplied.

Example contracts

For examples of fuel/heat supply contracts go to the Carbon Trust website.

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