North Durham residents are to benefit from new ‘smart’ prepayment meters, which display how much gas and electricity their homes are using – and how much it costs.
The new meters, which are part of a partnership between the North Durham housing provider, Derwentside Homes and energy supplier OVO, will be installed as properties become empty from the end of this month (July).
The meters offer residents one of the cheapest prepayment tariffs on the market – while helping them to understand their energy use and how to reduce it.
A pilot project will see the meters installed in 200 social housing properties in the coming months across the north east.
The meters will be installed on behalf of OVO by Lowri Beck, but it is eventually hoped that staff from Derwentside Homes carrying out void property work will take on responsibility for installing the meters before new residents move in.
Vicky McCourt, New Business Development Manager at Derwentside Homes, said: “The deal we have struck with OVO will go a long way to helping our residents to reduce their energy use – and to cut their bills. Prepayment meters can be very expensive for customers on low incomes, who often have no choice but to have this type of supply arrangement. However, OVO are consistently very competitive on the market when it comes to prepayment deals and by supplying customers with real time information on their energy use, and its costs, we can help to bring prices down even further for our residents.
“Smart meters help people see what difference energy efficiency measures make to their energy costs – easy to do things like switching lights off, boiling only the water you need or using a cooler temperature on your washing machine.
“Our ultimate ambition is to have the smart meters installed in all our properties. New residents will be set up with OVO as their supplier – but, importantly, they will have the choice whether to stay with them or switch to an alternative provider. We believe this exciting initiative has the potential to reduce fuel poverty among Derwentside’s residents.”
The first OVO smart prepayment meter was installed this week in a property in Moorside, Consett.
Mark Yemm, Head of Business Development, at OVO Energy, said: “One of the best things about smart meters is that they put customers in control – giving them so much more information around how and when they use their energy. We believe that smart meters coupled with expert advice, and a great value ‘pay-as-you-go’ service, will create considerable benefits for the customer; we are thrilled to be running this type of initiative.”