At a time when the Big Six are promising 5% discounts on energy bills for residential energy consumers, the same residents can enjoy savings of up to 20% on gas bills and 10% on electricity bills, compared to a year ago, if their energy is bought by their managing agent or housing association on their behalf.
This is made possible by tendering the energy requirements of a large portfolio, where the energy consumption is so much greater, rather than offering a supplier one small meter, for example. Efficiency through scalability is what it’s all about: the more KWhs, the sharper the price.
It can be a long road to a fully cleansed site list as many of these multi-site companies have no centralised process for agreeing supply contracts, with a number of individuals authorised to sign contracts with whichever supplier tickles their fancy.
What are the main issues facing property management companies and housing associations?
In my opinion, there are too many to mention, but here are my top ten:
Housekeeping is the only place to begin, even if that means getting down to your stockinged feet and photocopying every invoice that can be unearthed.
Paying bills by both BACs and by Direct Debit is just asking for trouble. Reduce costs by moving every energy bill onto Direct Debit. This immediately provides a discount and it also means that the eternal cycle of late payment charges and disconnection notices will gradually become but a distant nightmare.
Ensuring that all cost codes are up to date and accurate means that you can allocate the correct charges to the correct schemes, and therefore, charge end users what they owe. Leave it too late, and you foot the bill.
One way to ensure the smooth running of a large portfolio is receiving billing the way you need it. Ditch the paper and ask your supplier for EDI or Excel, which allow for quick lookups and can be easily managed alongside your accounting software.
Disposal and acquisition of stock is a pain in the proverbial for all large multi-site organisations. You need a team that knows its COO from its COT and a contract framework that can support an ever-changing portfolio.
You need a full-time support team to track, manage, and coordinate all queries. These can range from a quick call reminding you that a contract must be signed, to an ongoing project to fit AMRs across all existing meters, or to advise on any new legislation and how it will impact you and your customers.
If I had a pound for every time I answered the phone to a site manager at his wit’s end, begging for meters to be installed, well, I wouldn’t be here writing this article. A joined-up approach to new developments, site works, metering, and supply contracts is the way to get projects delivered according to budget (who am I kidding?) and on time (see previous comment in parenthesis.)
Can you feel the energy, man? No? Neither can I, which is why you need a piece of software to do that for you. alfaenergy’s Vision is an energy management tool, which is super easy to use and very pleasing to the eye.
Invite all suppliers to compete to quote for all of your energy requirements. This will result in sharper prices across your portfolio and will also save time.
Corporate Social Responsibility has never been more important, and part of our job is to recommend improvements to help you reach your targets. Our Generation, Efficiency, and Management (GEM) team will help you with CHP, DSR, CCAs, and any other acronyms you can think of.