Sheffield City Council – Tenants set to save more than £1.4 million due to PAYG flexibility

The customer

Sheffield City Council (SCC) is the city council for the metropolitan borough of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England.

Sheffield is home to a district heating scheme which provides energy to 6,000 residential dwellings across the city. 1,000 of these are supplied from a low carbon energy source generated from Sheffield’s non-recyclable waste, and the other 5,000 dwellings are supplied from gas and biomass.

The challenge

SCC was undertaking a major upgrade of the heating systems in 6,000 of their residential properties fed by 135 plant rooms linked to the district heat network across the city. SCC required an experienced company to provide the new hardware and install this into their properties.

A thousand of these properties were currently utilising pay-as-you-go (PAYG) energy technology, and were already receiving and paying for their heating on a metered basis while the others were receiving an unmetered supply and were paying for their heating on a flat rate system. This meant residents paid a set weekly amount irrespective of how much they used. From the available data and customer feedback SCC was confident it could deliver cost savings to residents by installing meters and rolling out PAYG energy technology to the properties on a flat rate.

SCC held steering groups to run through the options and ensure the customers supported the transition to PAYG. The feedback was very positive with existing users speaking highly of the cost savings achieved and flexibility offered from the service.

Solution

Switch2 was awarded the project after successfully demonstrating our experience, expertise and knowledge in metering and prepayment for district heating schemes through an intensive tender process.

The scope of the project was to supply and install 6,000 heat meters and our G6 prepayment system across 120 sites. The G6 unit suited the project as it has the flexibility to operate in PAYG or credit billing mode.

The project included:

  • Engagement with residents, starting with an initial meeting informing them of work content and time scales
  • Installation and commissioning of the G6 PAYG unit
  • Ongoing G6 data administration
  • Design and development of a standalone billing software package, allowing SCC to manage and administer their own billing accounts
  • Our dedicated project team understand the important relationship between the hardware installation, provision of metering and billing services and the control and maintenance of communal energy systems.

To ensure smooth and seamless project delivery we appointed locally based Resident Liaison Officers. Their role includes:

  • Availability to provide support to customers
  • Door-to-door home visits prior to installation, both in and out of working hours
  • Attending local resident meetings and information days
  • Meeting the language diversity of Sheffield where possible with multilingual officers

Outcome

To date 2,800 installations have taken place with all 6,000 set to be complete by March 2017. The project has been run and managed effectively and the customers are enjoying the benefits of their new PAYG system.

Figures released by SCC from the first 227 homes on the new system for a full year, show that households are saving an average of £238 on their heating bills per year. Furthermore to this council tenants are expected to save more than £1.4 million from their annual heating bills. Switch2 is working very closely with Sheffield City Council throughout this project. SCC is pleased with the cost savings the new metered system is providing to its customers.

“I am very happy with the new meter and it is costing me less to heat my home.”
James & Debbie, Pedley Estate, Sheffield

“Heat metering gives customers greater choice over the amount of heat they take and therefore the size of their heating bills. Used sensibly we anticipate customers will have the potential to make real savings in their heating bills in the future.”
Stephen Parker, Sheffield City Council

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