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Landlord partners with energy firm so tenants can see fuel use

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Landlord partners with energy firm so tenants can see fuel use

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Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Sustainability

Landlord partners with energy firm so tenants can see fuel use Landlord partners with energy firm so tenants can see fuel use

A social landlord has partnered with an energy firm to allow tenants to see how much energy they're using in a bid to reduce monthly bills.

West Yorkshire ALMO Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), which manages 23,000 homes, has partnered with energy metering and billing specialist ENER-G Switch2 (ES2) in a project that is claimed to be the first of its kind and size in the UK.

Using new data collection technology, the new energy monitoring system installed in tenants' homes provides a “fair and accurate” billing process for both pay-as-you-go and credit billing consumers.

It incorporates an in-home display unit that lets customers see, in graphical form, how much energy they are consuming, when they are using it, how much it is costing them and how much credit they have available. This facility, which complies with the Code for Sustainable Homes, makes it easier for residents to budget and to monitor and manage their energy usage, helping them to reduce consumption and costs.

The pay-as-you-go element works  like topping up a mobile phone, using smart wireless technology to replace the traditional token-based pre-payment system.

Because the 1,036 homes are spread across 28 individual schemes throughout the Kirklees borough, a traditional energy pre-payment scheme involving small numbers of residents purchasing 'credit' from local shops was deemed not practical or viable. Since the roll-out of the G6 technology began six months ago, residents have reduced overall energy consumption by15%, but when winter consumption is factored in and residents get used to the system, KNH predicts that the annual average consumption will reduce by 30 to 50%.

"The key to reducing energy consumption is being able to see what you are using," said Barry Goodwin, KNH Project Manager. "With the economy of scale of supplying heat via a district heat network, we already provide lower cost heat, but now that residents can track how much energy they are using and are taking action to reduce consumption, annual heating bills, including winter consumption, could average £5 per week. Heating bills for a similar sized property would cost approximately 60% more if residents were purchasing gas or electricity from one of the big suppliers.

"For our elderly residents, this amount is just about covered by the winter fuel payment paid by the government, therefore we can say that this project is most definitely providing affordable warmth.”

Jayne Clare, managing director of ENER-G Switch2, said: "The G6 has achieved a step change in visible energy management and payment. It is attracting strong interest from the social housing sector, with installations underway at other community energy schemes in Manchester, Doncaster, Wakefield, London and Scotland. We have more than 30 years’ experience of metering and billing in social housing, including five previous generations of pre-payment devices, therefore, we have been able to use our intelligence in creating this cutting edge technology that meets the needs both of landlords and residents."

Ian McLellan (pictured), KNH resident, said: “I am very happy with the G6 unit, it’s very cost effective and , I now know exactly how much I am spending, which is brilliant. Different variation in ways to pay is also really helpful, it's easy to use and has been explained to us really well.”

Cllr Peter McBride is the cabinet member for investment and regeneration in Kirklees. He added: "Far too many people are struggling to heat their homes properly – a particular worry for our older residents. Anything that can help them manage their fuel bills and make their homes more energy efficient is to be welcomed."

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