METERING & BILLING – NGH

Chameleon recently worked with the ng homes team to provide a metering and billing solution which would streamline the process for paying bills and predicting upcoming payments, following the installation of a district heat network for their homes.

As a prominent social housing provider in Glasgow, our clients at ng homes are focused on developing their housing services to support their range of tenants. With our metering and billing system in place, this meant that the housing association became an energy supplier, and then had a legal responsibility to provide individualised energy bills for the tenants.

Additionally, the Chameleon team carried out feasibility studies for the 10 high rise tower blocks in Glasgow within the project scope, allowing us to identify ways in which ng homes could reduce fuel poverty and improve quality of life for tenants. One of the issues that was identified during this exercise was the difficulty tenants had with tracking and paying their energy charges, which often resulted in further financial issues for families who could not afford increased payments.

Our all-inclusive Metering and Billing solution was selected as a solution to both problems, as it is designed to make tracking and paying for energy charges easier for tenants. As a streamlined service with an interactive panel installed into each property, our AI integrated system was designed to give customers peace of mind knowing that there will never be unexpected bills, all while tracking and predicting upcoming energy usage.

Our team installed a metering and billing system which provides accurate billing, based on actual tenant consumption, which also complies with the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014.

The Fermax tablets run using the Abelon app, and were installed directly into tenant’s properties by our expert engineers. The interface units were pre-programmed by Chameleon, and required a small amount of work within the tenant properties to install, ensuring that our team provided minimal disruption to tenants during the installation period. This was monitored by our Tenant Support Team, who gave tenants advance warning of the work to be carried out. Upon installation, our operatives conducted a training session with the tenants. As part of this, we developed a Process Guide for the tenant, for what to do if they are having problems with the interface or credit balance. This included FAQs, including easily understandable troubleshooting methods as a first port of call.

The process guide also includes guidelines regarding what to do in specific events and will detail the responsible person within the client’s team, who will form the first line of communication between tenant and Chameleon.

Once installed, the metering and billing platform works throughout the day to take heating readings, check if the valves are open or closed, determine how much heating has been used, and the interface unit will automatically update to show current usage. The back end of the software is able to store the balance on each tenant’s account, deducting payments used for energy use. Tenants are able to top-up money on their account easily via phone, web or in a shop, and they can also request emergency credit if required. To improve the customer service offering housing association staff are able to access the tenant’s account via the web application, so that they are able to assist with any queries or issues as they arise.

Our team also supported tenants by giving energy saving tips and advice, which will help in the current cost of living crisis. This will allow the tenants to utilise the devices to track their usage and payments, ensuring that they are only using the energy amounts they can afford.

Our metering and billing system continues to run without more input required from the client than is considered normal, as the web application runs automatically in the background, carrying out the metering and billing service. This allows the buildings to reach heating system compliance through the system which will provide updates, and we have streamlined the process for the client to add tenants to the system, associate them with properties and allow tenants to track and pay for their energy usage.

Since June 2022, the system has seen over £100,000 of payment top-ups for the 919 tenants registered on to the system. This has equated to 18,343,859 meter readings taken over the last year, with accurate energy usage information provided to both the tenants and the client team.

Our intuitive system has worked to support tenants through predicting their upcoming energy usage and allowing them to adapt this to suit their needs. Tenants in the tower blocks have fed back to ng homes that this system has already made their lives easier and they cannot imagine returning to the previous system