d3associates was appointed by Gentoo Group Ltd, a Social Housing Association that owns and manages more than 29,000 homes in Sunderland to consider options to implement a uniform metering and billing solution for properties on communal or district heat networks.
Gentoo currently have several methods for metering and billing; d3associates undertook a full review of the metering and billing for the heating, primary hot water services and communal systems/areas. From this a comprehensive specification in line with The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 was created; along with a financial assessment of the networks including maintenance considerations to avoid potential warranty issues, for the current and future solutions and end user heat charges.
The specification will be used for tendering the works and help embed a standardised meter and billing solution across the networks. The system should be a future proof open protocol fully portable system enabling connection to other schemes or BMS’ metering and monitoring systems.
Billing options were considered included having the flexibility to change over (ideally remotely avoiding the need to re-enter the property) from credit billing, to ‘pay as you go’ mode, to limit debt liability whilst retaining the ability to switch back to credit billing should the circumstances arise.
The assessment presented the importance of accurate and comprehensive data collection to ongoing management of the properties. We found it is critical to consider the type of properties served by each network when evaluating the cost effectiveness and feasibility of installing meters with the intention of delivering energy savings to the customer.