NCH was formed a after stock transfer in March 2009 from the local authority Newport City Council. One of their first priorities was to improve Duffryn district heating system. The system had not had any major improvements since the properties were built in the 1970’s. The existing plant and underground pipe work had been serviced and maintained over the years and was in good condition.
A survey of the Heating system was carried out by Arup, this included an option appraisal of the district heating system. After consulting with residents, it became clear residents wanted controllability of the system, new controls and a fairer way of paying for energy, in place of the existing fixed charge which was paid with their rent.
In October 2010 work started on installing new heating controls and smart heat meters in the properties. This allowed a new pricing structure to commence in April 2011. Residents now pay for what energy they use, and are billed on a quarterly basis. In the past when residents paid a fix cost for heating / hot water, the system was running 24 hours and residents wasting energy by leaving the heating on during warm periods.
The residents have been supported by NCH during the improvement work, with information leaflets issued on a regular basis. NCH have held estate roadshows attend by staff, contractors and energy advisors.
They have also carried out estate walkabouts and home visits to demonstrate then new controls and offer support. A dedicated email address has been set up for users of the system with further information available on our web site. The key to the success of the project is effective communication with our residents.
The first year of the new billing systems is coming to an end and important information has been gained over the last year with usage reports. Gas consumption has decreased dramatically and residents behaviour has changed since the installation of the new controls.
The feedback from residents is very positive with many seeing a big difference in the cost of the heating in place of the fixed costs. They are now in a position to control their level of comfort and pay for what they use. The new controls is a learning curve, which will hopefully benefit NCH from the experience.
Newport City Homes
Tel: +44(0)1633 211672
or visit: http://www.newportcityhomes.com