I’ve done my best to write this without any bias toward our company, there are a number of services in the UK, including ourselves who can provide a 100% voids solution.
This article is to share some unknown facts about the subject as well as some opinions on potential pitfalls. I would wholeheartedly recommend you speaking with other providers as well as the Switched On team within Energy Angels when looking into the management of, or more importantly, the reinstatement of your void energy supplies.
Over 1.5M homes in the Social Housing sector are under the wings of a single energy supplier. Many voids teams are happy with the service they receive, although some come to us who aren’t happy to see what else is out there. There is valuable work done by these energy suppliers to keep supplies on during void stages but I question how this is enough to provide a complete solution to any of the accounts in the current climate. Have a read below:
- Most of our RSL clients report figures of around 50% – 60% where void start dates are planned, usually led by the 4 week notice from a tenant.
- If the above is true then we should expect around 40% – 50% of properties to go empty without any notice
- Energy supplies take around 8 – 12 days weeks to switch to a preferred supplier (some take longer)
- Energy suppliers can only resolve supply issues such as meter debts, faults or any other issues where they are the supplier
- Void engineers usually need energy on within a day or two of the property going empty to meet void turnaround targets
- Energy suppliers do not promote switching to other energy suppliers – it’s not in their interest
So, with the above in mind it must be assumed that many void teams within RSLs who use this type of service are either waiting for 8 to 12 days for an energy supply to go over to their preferred supplier before supplies are restored:
The voids team(s) are having to locate the existing energy supplier and work out how to get the energy back on, sitting on calls to energy suppliers and usually learning each case on spec.
The only way this can change are if one of the two factors below changes or improves:
- If evictions and abandonment completely disappear – I feel this is highly unlikely
- If energy suppliers can start to take energy supplies over on the same day. This isn’t close as we’re not even able to see 3 day switching in most cases, even though it’s now legal to do.
So, with the above in mind, I cannot see how it’s possible for a single energy supplier to provide a catch all solution for the reinstatement of energy supplies on 100% of all voids.
More disturbing facts are that well over 95% of tenants do not engage with energy switching on move in, meaning that many move in on standard (expensive) tariffs. If the single supplier option is among the most expensive standard tariffs then the tenant may have problems with fuel poverty and also it may impact rent arrears. See Sustainable Homes Report for information on how energy spend and rent arrears are directly related – http://www.sustainablehomes.co.uk/research/
For more information on how we can help, please see our dedicated Switched On service for restoring energy supplies within 8 hours – Energy for RSLs
There are other companies out who are not tied to only working with one supplier and so we’d also recommend that RSLs compare us with other companies. We embrace competition as we believe it helps to drive our high standards.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment or ask any questions.