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.”
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.”