Smart meters, smart choices – Working with the WM Housing Group

The UK’s largest infrastructure project in our lifetime is underway. The Smart meter roll out is an ambitious programme to replace all 53 million UK household and small business Electricity and Gas meters by 2020. Over 5 million Smart meters have already been installed by a selection of energy suppliers up and down the country and the project continues to gain momentum.

With the support of Energy Angels a number of registered social landlords including The WM Housing Group have been at the forefront of installing Smart meters in their properties during the void period through our Switched|ON service. There are several advantages to this approach, the most obvious of which are, ensuring power on for reparatory works, reducing disruption for testing and importantly reducing energy costs to the landlord. New tenants moving into WM Group properties can benefit from remote top-ups for prepay, accurate billing and no daily standing charges.

The Smart Electricity meter is the hub of an installation, communicating with a Smart Gas meter if one is present and with an ‘In Home Display’ or IHD unit. The IHD has a number of functions, however most importantly it allows consumers to monitor their energy consumption in real time. The idea is a simple one, how can you hope to understand, manage and ultimately reduce your energy usage (and therefore costs) if you have no idea how much you and your appliances are using? Currently we turn on a light switch and 3 months later receive a bill with no indication as to what that may have cost. Effectively it’s like driving a car with no fuel gauge, we simple top up monthly (in the case of direct debit) and hope it turns out to be enough! Real time and historic energy usage information informs consumers and allows them to make better choices about how and when to use their energy. The IHD makes it instantly obvious which appliances use the most energy and consumers can modify their behaviours accordingly.

Working with National Energy Action’s (NEA) Smart meter training for communities programme WM Housing staff deliver training to ensure tenants understand how to use their IHD’s and take advantage of the information available. The programme has helped Family Optima (Part of the WM Group) tenant Mr St John pictured here with Lewis Taylor (Energy Angels MD) and Mohammed Nasim (Home Energy Advisor, WM). Mr St John said “We now check our IHD every day and along with some simple energy saving tips, things we’d never really thought of, we’ve been able to spend less on our electricity”

WM Housing Group are committed to a number of actions to help tenants reduce their energy costs and ensure more sustainable tenancies. Through their work with Energy Angels alone it is estimated tenants will save over £100,000 on energy bills in the coming year and Smart Meters are at the heart of that strategy.

Photo one – Left to right Mohammed Nasim, Home Energy Advisor, WM Group, Mr St John, WM Tenant, Lewis Taylor, MD, Energy Angels

Photo two – Home Energy Advice team, WM Group

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Leigh Fairbrother

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