Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing – Addressing fuel poverty and carbon reduction through PAYG energy

The customer

Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) is a not-for-profit company set up by Kirklees Council to provide and manage housing services.

The challenge

KNH embarked on a borough-wide energy and cost saving project to help residents to reduce fuel bills and carbon dioxide emissions. KNH’s 1032 homes are spread across 25 individual schemes throughout the Kirklees borough. This means a traditional energy pre-payment scheme involving small numbers of residents purchasing credit from local shops was not practical or viable. In addition, KNH was looking for more than a payment system; they wanted residents to be actively involved in managing their energy more efficiently – to help eradicate fuel poverty and achieve a smaller carbon footprint.

Solution

KNH selected Switch2 based on their experience and expertise in this area. Switch2 developed a new state-of-the-art pay as you go system for the project.

The new G6 system 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 much like topping up a mobile phone, using smart wireless technology to replace the traditional token-based pre-payment system.

Outcome

Since the roll-out of the G6 technology began, residents in Kirklees have reduced overall energy consumption by 15%, 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, Procurement 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.”

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