Smart meters

Engaging residents and landlords

Participant / Author
Jade O'Leary
Date: 14/06/2018
Both Optivo and (HBC) Hastings Council (HBC) have come across some issues with regards to the installation of smart thermostats. Both organisations will be testing Switchee smart thermostats in different scenarios: • HBC with private landlords in both family homes and student lets • Optivo in a mix of social housing properties. Whereas HBC has struggled to engage the private landlords to take on the Switchees, Optivo is offering direct to our residents. Some residents are very keen to have the Switchee installed as they can help us to identify faults with boilers, which allows remote diagnostics and quick repairs as well as identifying issues of damp and condensation within a home. However the Switchee can also sense occupancy levels and this has led to a “big brother” view of the technology with people being concerned that their housing association will know details of their routines or that systems could be hacked and used by others to work our occupancy levels. The main hurdle for Optivo is the sell the benefits to the residents and assure them of the safety of the system and that the occupancy data would only be used when we wish to arrange a visit at a suitable time for themselves. For HBC the issue is (getting the landlord to adopt the system) convincing the tenants of the benefits of the system to them as well as their landlords. However if the Switchee identifies issues within the properties that can lead to costly repairs for landlords this may not be an easy sell. One student let agency has a green to install Switchees at the start of the new student year and will ensure that students sign up to the Switchee data share as part of their rental agreement.

Comments

Hélène Henon Evrard

Engage residents to better manage their energy use

It is not just about convincing people to have smart thermostat. It is also to have them involved in a whole new behaviour that entails a better follow up of Energy use. To do so, we have seen failures in the past. Indeed is is also crucial for the landlord to provide its tenants with clear (and fun) explanations, to act quickly in case of technical disorders. Energy invoices should also be more readable.