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Landlords urged to switch to smart meters as tenants spend time at home

A leading utilities supplier to the rental sector says landlords should consider switching to smart meters, as tenants spend more time at home because of Coronavirus restrictions.

Alex Black, sales and marketing director at Glide Utilities, says smart metering allows energy usage to be monitored and sent straight to the supplier without physical meter readings, which is a huge benefit under Corinaviurus restrictions. 

Black says: "It is clear that post-Covid-19, landlords are going to be faced with a continued surge in utility bills as the new norm of working from home continues into 2021 and beyond. Therefore, they will need to find a way to simplify and centralise energy efficiency … People are spending more time at home and in front of the TV, meaning a surge in electricity and heating consumption. Arguably, this time of year is an ideal time to make the switch to smart and see instant benefits.”

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He adds that by making tenants aware of energy usage, it is likely to deter contrary activity - for example, the classic student accommodation issue of heating being turned up, and windows then opened because residents are too hot.

Through factors like smart metering, he insists, "landlords are able to offer their tenants a valuable customer experience and build a more positive relationship with the residents. Providing consumption insights into electricity, heating, water and gas use, as well as ensuring buildings are supplied at cost-optimal tariffs will provide a level of stability now needed by landlords and tenants alike.”

Glide says there are several ‘easy wins’ landlords can secure on the energy issue:

 

1. Assess your current usage: “The first step towards smart metering is to understand the energy usage in your properties and assess the accuracy of past gas and electricity meter readings. Taking meter readings can often slip the mind of tenants, meaning that bills will be based on estimated readings and can create questions over increased bills. Removing this step is the first step towards safer and more seamless remote energy monitoring for all.”

2. Mitigate costs with technology: “By introducing smarter alternatives, landlords and tenants can play a key role in the step-change towards efficient fuel consumption, whilst saving money by being able to look at energy usage much more accurately and in real time. With incentives on boths sides (efficiency for landlords and cheaper bills for tenants) introducing smart meters across a property portfolio can often be a worthwhile investment.”

3. Seek expert support: “Thinking about smart meters, but not sure where to start? Some utilities providers are able to monitor the efficiency of smart meters on behalf of landlords and agents. Not only does this ensure they are working well, produce statements and bills quicker and more accurately, improving convenience and visibility for landlords. It also streamlines support, by enabling engineers to collect keys from the letting offices and work to a schedule that works best for them, significantly improving appointment success rates.”

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    Given that the tenant is (usually) responsible for utilities - except perhaps in HMOs - the LL cannot do this as the utility companies will only talk to the account holder. So this is a nonsense story!

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    I ain't paying for any tenant's electricity, water, gas......NOTHING.

    They use it, they pay for it, and I don't care how many people have to go into the house to see how much THEY have used.

    As the name says......The Utility Companies will ONLY talk to the account holder, and for sure it ain't me under any circumstance.

    It even says in the contract that they are responsible for the utilities.........

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    The only time that I pay utility bills is on an empty property, when a new tenant moves in I take meter readings and email them to the suppliers, I also print off hard copies and post with a certificate of posting, many a time a utility company has tried it on with me but I've always got the evidence.

     
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    I also take photos of the meter readings on tenant changeover. On one occasion, after student tenants moved out, I gave the supplier the meter readings only to find that the tenants had already done it but knocked 400 units off the electricity. It went to dispute. The tenants didn't have a leg to stand on as the supplier agreed that an empty house couldn't use that amount of electricity in one day even if all the lights and heating were left on! Its always best to try to take the meter reading with the tenant at both check in and check out.

     
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    It is clear that the person giving those quotes in the article thinks that landlords generally pay utility bills for their properties. Oh dear. So not impressed that Landlord Today is including this article. (Has anyone even heard of Glide Utilities, the company that the quoted Mr Black comes from?).
    Apart from that glaring error, Mr Black encourages the installation of smart meters. Is he not aware that in the past, many of these simply stopped working when the account holder moves to another energy company. Can the supply of gas/electricity be cut remotely through these without the account holders' consent or agreement? Are there GDPR implications? - who wants outside people knowing exactly when one's gas/electricity is being consumed and when it is not? Security issues too. I have no idea why the government has been subsiding the installation of smart meters.
    ('Smart meters are a huge benefit at a time of coronavirus'? Really? Over-egging just a tiny bit, I think. Especially that word 'huge'.)

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    Yes, I have just posted comments on GLIDE. Its simple - AVOID, AVOID at all costs. I've had student tenants in tears after they realise how much extra they've paid after using GLIDE.

     
  • George Dawes

    Like smart TVs these things aren’t smart at all

    Good grief , I just upvoted a mr wirth comment

    Quick nurse , pass the meds

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    You know what Im gonna upvote him as well as he has made a valid comment

     
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    Same here!

    Perhaps our common sense is catching?

     
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    Yes George so did I , 7 likes so far, that must be a record for our friend Mr W

     
    Daniela Provvedi

    No, I'm not going to "like" DW.
    You guys are becoming soft ;-))

     
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    Daniela He might be alright bloke when you get to know him. He does remind me of a Harry Enfield character what was it. ‘It’s only me’ that’s it

     
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    Thank you George. But don't look at the author of a posting ...... more important is what the posting actually states. I am actually a reasonable person. It's OK to have a different opinion ,isn't it? There's be no point to all the Landlord Today postings if everyone had the same view on everything! Hope you recover from your shock soon! Have a good day.

     
  • George Dawes

    There’s a first time for everything

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    I know smart meters are an inevitable really but I urge my fellow LL's not to allow them to be fitted as even when they are not working your evidence is discounted and they insist the bill is correct. We had a situation when the smart meter was not working no numbers or even switched on. The company insisted we were using services even though they were switched off at the meter. Cost me £150 to avoid the default. With a proper meter I take a picture which has a date on it and then there is no argument.

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    Why do you say smart meters are inevitable, Jahan? Just say no every time they offer to install them for you. There's not compulsory. There are no plans to make them compulsory either.

     
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    What a complete idiot of an expert.
    I really think they put stupid recommendations just to wind us professional LLs up .

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    Never Steve!

    If that was their aim then they'd have articles about having to let rent dodgers stay without paying rent, abolishing our rights to decide when bad tenants go, charging us tax on revenue not profit........

    Hang on!!!!!!!!!!

    Where's my gun?????

     
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    Does anybody check these articles for accuracy and usefulness? As previously said, most times the tenant is responsible for bills so energy costs are entirely their problem. If it's an HMO where the landlord is paying the bills then either the tenants will be responsible enough to want to not waste energy, or they won't care until the landlord tries to cover the extra cost with higher rent.

    The main purpose of smart meters is to enable utility companies to monitor and predict usage. It's also useful not to have to read multiple meters every month if you have several HMOs.

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    I notice the name GLIDE in this report. This is a company to be avoided at all costs. They 'manage' all the bills for the tenants and get the tenants to each set up a monthly debit. The tenants end of paying double what they would do by dealing with the suppliers directly as GLIDE charge a monthly admin fee as well.
    A lot of Letting Agents promote GLIDE as Glide pay the Letting Agents a large commission for each 'customer' they get.

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    Crooks

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    Why are we talking about all this minor rubbish when as LLs, we have far bigger issues and longer term problems?

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    As someone says above, smart meters aren't as smart as the utility companies would have us believe. They'd have you believe these meters are smart enough to have a Phd when most of them merely have a GCSE in woodwork. Four members of my family, including myself, have them fitted. All fourhave stopped working without changing supplier. In my case the supplier has had no success in making them work and has paid me, so far, £285 in compensation. Now, is that smart or is that smart?

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    Sounds good Kelvin!

    How do you break them to get the £285?

     
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