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“Help the Sector Understand the Benefits of Smart Meters.” – safeagent

As energy costs continue to rise, agents and their landlords need to understand more about the benefits of smart meters to support tenants and encourage their installation, says safeagentthe UK’s largest not-for-profit accreditation scheme for lettings and management agents.

safeagent’s call comes ahead of the first Smart Meter Awareness Week (18-22 October), which aims to help landlords, letting agents and tenants understand the benefits of smart meters and remove the barriers to their installation.

Research from Smart Energy GB shows that tenants in the PRS are more likely to want smart meters when compared to other groups, but they are less likely to get them installed. This could be for a number of reasons but is often due to confusion around who’s responsible for installation. In fact, it is the right of the bill payer (i.e., the tenant), but some tenancy agreements have clauses preventing smart meter installation without the landlord’s consent.

safeagent is calling on letting agents to learn about the many benefits of smart meters in order to support tenants to have them installed. Smart meters can help save them money by showing how much energy is being used in real time as well as helping to save energy and keep on top of bills.

Crucially, if tenants on lower incomes have a prepay meter, installing a smart meter removes the need for prepay to be more expensive than other tariffs. Traditionally, if a tenant fell into debt with a traditional analogue meter, their energy supplier could charge to install a new analogue prepayment meter in their home. However, with smart meters, customers can be switched from credit to prepayment mode without the cost of a new meter being added to their existing debt. Smart meters also enable tenants to have more choice and ease of how they top up – online, with an app, on the phone, or via text message, without having to go to a shop.

Isobel Thomson, chief executive of safeagent, said: “With the rising cost of energy, installing a smart meter is a simple way for tenants to see exactly what they are spending and keep on top of their bills. With some tenants in the sector feeling the pinch, smart meters are another way to help budget. Letting agents can play their part by explaining the many benefits of smart meters and supporting tenants by showing them how simple it is to have a smart meter installed.”