As highlighted in the Metering and Billing regulations 2014, consumers should receive accurate bills which are based on actual consumption. Before these regulations, consumers could be billed a flat rate based on the size of their apartment, regardless how much energy they used. As a result of this, one consumer could have their heating on high all day and their neighbour could have not used any heating at all, but they would still pay the same amount. This led to questioning the fairness of our utility bills. Using a flat rate payment system, landlords could not guarantee they would receive the total amount to cover their bulk energy supply and would have to consider this when creating their flat rate. This usually resulted in high energy bills and increased risk of fuel poverty.
Since the Metering and Billing regulations were introduced, there has been huge progress in ensuring apartments are individually metered and billed for their usage. In most scenarios, this reduced the cost of energy usage and enabled residents to be in better control of their finances. However, this was not the end of all concerns as we now must ensure the data we receive from individual apartments is accurate.
Thanks to the MID approval classification on heat metering equipment, we can be certain that the flow of energy through the metering equipment is accurate and reliable. However, this data should be regularly monitored for data trends which enable us to pick up irregular data such as: missing data, abnormal excessive energy usage and abnormal low energy usage, as well as readings that do not follow the typical trend of the network. Questioning peculiar data ensures that data we use remains accurate and consequently the bills that are issued to consumers are fair.
Removing the headache of this manual data analysis task, Sycous developed an intuitive service to complete this on behalf of clients called Meter Data Management (MDM).
This service utilises our in-house developed billing platform, Mabdeck, to run numerous reports to develop a thorough understanding of the network. The reports we run as part of this service can be completed by the client at any time via our billing portal, ensuring data is transparent and accessible. The service has been created to encompass our core values, always provide exceptional and best value services to our users.
One of these reports we use in our service is an Active Meter Read Report, highlighting when a meter last read. Where data is not provided, intelligent technology can now provide estimated bills using previous information. Estimated bills consider the average usage of energy from previous months and assume the same amount of energy has been used. Sycous recognise that this does not represent an accurate measurement and therefore quickly highlight missing data and, in most cases, can investigate and resolve remotely.
In addition to simple reports that can be run, a more in-depth reading of the metering equipment can also be taken from our Extended Meter Read Report. Sycous receive important information from the metering equipment which is typically situated in a property or a plant room. We take into consideration flow temperature, return temperature and the flow unit to be able to calculate the usage of energy. Our technical team have extensive experience in monitoring this data and can quickly identify anomalies on the network, this could be excessive data usage or flow temperature anomalies. We are aware that each network behaves differently, therefore we use averages per network to highlight abnormalities.
Once the data has been collated, it is summarised in a coherent report with key findings. For any irregularities that have been found, clear next steps are provided. For example, a missing meter read may be investigated remotely via the data collection unit and in other cases a physical investigation of the meter on site may be required. Where there is excessive usage, our Meter Data Management team will remotely assess if this follows a typical usage pattern of the individual user and a physical investigation of the meter and valves may be required, ensuring there is no flow when there is no demand for heat. A follow up is always provided when the next steps have been completed.
Investigating individual user usage patterns can also highlight user issues. A meter that has been highlighted as low consumption may be a choice of the user. This typically happens in summer months where the demand for energy is lower, a typical change in user patterns from the winter months. This can also be used as a safeguarding tool, as the client receives the report, they could notice consumers not using their heat during colder time periods, offering an opportunity to check in with the resident, they may just be on holiday or you could be preventing fuel poverty!
Our Meter Data Management can be used for various reasons but most importantly, we ensure the data is technically accurate and reliable for charging, so your residents receive fair and affordable bills.
We strive to achieve above and beyond the basic regulations and continue to develop services inline with current and upcoming guidelines.
After all, it is our consumers who will benefit from us doing so!
To find out more about our Meter Data Management (MDM) service, please contact email@example.com .