Case: Bristol City Council

The installation of individual, remote reading heat cost allocators and water meters are helping to provide online access to accurate consumption data and direct allocation of costs in Bristol. The Brunata solution is allowing Bristol City Council social housing tenants to realise energy consumption management, benefiting them and the environment, while also reducing the Council’s associated administrative costs by half.

In 2015, Bristol City Council decided to invest in state
of the art technology to replace ageing evaporation
meters used in 50 of the city’s housing blocks. Residents’ complaints relating to inaccurate heating accounts were on the rise and the Council also wanted to motivate the tenants into using their heating energy sensibly.

The solution

In a collaboration between the Danish company Brunata and Integral UK Ltd, remote reading heat cost allocators, water meters, temperature meters and account billing was supplied by Brunata, while Integral was responsible for the installation and maintenance of the meters.

Brunata’s online solution, WebMon, allows tenants and the
local authority to monitor the consumption 24/7 via a per-
sonal login. Tenants only pay for their own actual consumption.

”Denmark is at the forefront in terms of district heating, individual heat measuring and cost allocation. The solution from Danish company Brunata seemed well rooted in this national experience, which inspired confidence from the start” says Tim Proctor, Bristol City Council’s Project Manager.

Brunata began with a pilot project, with heat cost allocators, water meters and temperature meters installed by
Integral in one of the 50 housing blocks. The Council noticed an immediate positive effect.

”The heating accounts were now accurate and fair as
they reflected the tenants’ actual consumption; the number
of complaints immediately dropped. There were no bil-
ling complaints from tenants in the pilot block with Brunata
meters. This immediately gave the Council confidence in Brunata’s products and billing service” Tim Proctor explains.

A relief for residents and administrators

By the end of October 2015, all 18,000 remote reading heat cost allocators, water meters and temperature meters will have been installed in the remaining 49 housing blocks. The installation of remote reading meters has made life easier for the Council’s tenants, as they no longer need to be at home for the meter reading. It also reduces the Council’s associated administrative costs.

”We avoid having to pay for meter readings. We avoid spending time arranging access to the flats and then not gaining entry. We also avoid lengthy discus-
sions with the tenants about whether the flats are too hot or too cold, as we can see the actual temperature remotely at the installed temperature meters via
WebMon.  In the final analysis, it improves the service we can provide to the tenants and I estimate that it will reduce the administrative cost burden by at least 50 per cent,” Tim Proctor adds.

Professional partnership with Integral

To ensure that Bristol City Council got the best
solution, Brunata entered into partnership with the UK’s largest independent maintenance company,
Integral UK Ltd, with more than 3,500 employees
delivering 24hr maintenance services throughout the UK on a daily basis. All Integral service technicians have been trained and certified to install and verify Brunata meters, so that the tenants can be sure that the meters transmit correctly immediately after installation.

”We can check that the meter is reading and transmitting before leaving the flat.  In that way, we only need to disturb the customer once. The combination of Brunata’s advanced technology and our professional installation service and portfolio knowledge ensures that the customer gets the ultimate solution,” says Neil Todd, Opera-tions Manager at Integral.

At the crest of the green wave

Experience in Denmark shows that properties changing from collective to individual metering and billing achieve energy savings of 10-40 per cent, because the individual billing data provided motivates the tenants to be aware of and manage their resource consumption.

When Bristol City Council decided to prioritise this, it was one of the country’s front runners in relation to climate and environment. Bristol was named 2015 European Green Capital and local authorities in the rest of the country are following suit with green targets, including specific targets to combat fuel poverty. At the same time, the implementation of the EU energy efficiency directive (EED) is well under way. Bristol’s experience has been positive:

”Bristol City Council is very positive about its experience so far and the potential of the new systems and tools
designed by Brunata and implementated by Integral, which has provided an excellent service for the tenants,” Tim
Proctor concludes.