Preparing for the home working heating boom

Since the pandemic began, record numbers of people have been either furloughed or home working has become the new norm. As a result, a large portion of UK building heating has transferred from the commercial to the domestic sector. New data suggests that this shift in work behaviour will dramatically increase heating bills for residents over the coming winter. What should property managers expect and how can they prepare?

By Josh Ellison

9 December 2020

An unwelcome surprise

It was estimated in October that around a quarter of the UK workforce was working from home. Unfortunately with the arrival of winter, those doing so are almost guaranteed a price hike on their heat and electricity bills. Usually, domestic energy demand would lull in the day while people are out at work or school. Now that break is gone, residents will spend nearly 1.5 times more than normal to heat their homes this winter. The economic climate is fraught at the moment, which means any extra cost to your residents had better come with a good explanation.

Instil trust with technology

The majority of bill disputes, a major headache for property managers, come as a result of charges that tenants are unable to explain. It would be easy for those used to working away from home to be caught out by their sudden increase in consumption. However, this could translate to a slew of bill disputes over the winter that could easily be avoided by using a robust metering set-up. The average gas bill in the UK alone is set to rise above £900. Over ten million people, now either furloughed or working from home, will have to foot extra utility bills of nearly £1.5 billion across the next two quarters. Ensuring that automatic meter readings and the supporting technology are in place should be a top priority for property managers. These provide an objective measurement of resident consumption patterns. They also offer you the support needed to resolve disputes that could arise as a result of increased bills.
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Paint a clear picture

Simple and effective tenant billing is another way to help guarantee the good faith, and punctual payment, of your residents. Delegating this process to a third party outside of your own organisation also demonstrates a desire for impartial data, helping to further win residents’ trust.

Given the complexity of many utility bills, not to mention the varying language and structure that different suppliers use when creating them, securing an external tenant billing service can be a significant investment in time and hassle saved in the future.

At Welcome Energy, we take pride in providing a transparent, intuitive, and fast tenant billing service. Our clients can rely on receiving payments within a month of us having secured them. We can also oversee smart meter installations, upgrades and repairs to ensure that your billing process is as sturdy as possible. For more information about these services, get in touch.