First council switches to smart metering for heat and water

Almost 3,000 council-managed homes have been fitted with digital heat and water metering and improved heating controls, giving social housing tenants the tools to save on their bills.

Bristol City Council is the first large social landlord in the UK to go “smart”. The system is connected to the council’s communal heating systems and comprises of heat-cost allocators that can communicate remotely, replacing manually read evaporation heat meters and water meters.

Between 2012 and 2015, 50 of the city’s housing blocks have been fitted with state of the art technologies from Danish company Brunata, installed by Integral UK Ltd.

The project is one of a number of council initiatives that contribute towards reducing fuel poverty across the city. Tenants will be able to follow their own heat and water use in an easy to understand format online, as well as digital displays on the meters and allocators. This has been shown to motivate tenants to think more carefully about their consumption, helping them to reduce their bills.

Mayor George Ferguson said: “Bristol is again leading the way for others with the installation of this modern system. It will give our tenants more control over what they spend, and every bit of help towards saving on bills is a step towards alleviating social inequality and fuel poverty.

As meter readers will no longer need access to tenants’ flats, inaccurate estimated bills are also expected to be a thing of the past. This will result in a reduced number of issues faced by tenants as a result of incorrect billing, as well as in the corresponding administrative burden to the council and costs that go with that.

Integral’s technicians have been specially trained to verify that the meters are transmitting correctly during installation, further helping a smooth the transition to the new system.

The Mayor added: “Another great outcome of this initiative is that by encouraging tenants to use less energy, they will also be making their own contribution to reducing carbon emissions and wastage; two important aims of the city during European Green Capital and beyond.”

The initiative will be highlighted to a global audience at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris as a step towards Bristol’s smart city aspiration, tackling climate change through innovative digital technologies.