By John Tang Jensen, District Heating Expert and Jørgen Røhr Jensen, Consultant, Niras

Why community-owned companies? Privately owned district heating companies will set their heat prices just below the apparent and potential prices of individual heat supply technologies, which, from a company perspective, is the best way to maximize profit. The economic advantages of having a district heating network compared to individual solutions will only be shared with the consumers to some extent.

In Denmark, consumers own around 280 out of 360 district heating companies, with one share of the company per dwelling connected to the district heating network. This community ownership is unique for Denmark and has proven suitable for district heating network companies in urban areas. The story of how these companies were established is often forgotten, and this article aims to recount it. The story may guide urban areas and governments in setting up similar community-owned district heating companies. First, exploring why consumer-owned companies can be a suitable organisational solution compared to private ownership might be helpful. Consumer ownership has some of the same advantages as public ownership but requires less involvement from local authorities. It also avoids some disadvantages, such as getting involved in delivering on local political targets that are not related to heating and are covered by the legal regulations of local authorities.

Community ownership has four main advantages: 1. Non-profit monopoly. 2. Local involvement. 3. Long-term planning and investments. 4. Focus on efficiency, energy security, and comfort.

From a consumer perspective, it is an advantage if the operation of the district heating network company does not

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