Riverside is installing 1,500 Switchee Smart Thermostats into its customers’ homes following a successful pilot of the technology, which has helped identify and prioritise repairs and support residents at risk of fuel poverty.
The installations are part of Riverside’s boiler replacement, empty homes and property repair programmes.
Data from the Switchee devices, sent via the mobile phone network to the cloud, enabled Riverside to remotely assess the property performance and triage any issues.
By sending surveys to customers through Switchee’s built-in communications screen to assess the urgency of the situation, Riverside was then able to prioritise which houses needed attention first. Engagement from customers was very high; 88% responded, with 65% doing so in the first 24 hours.
Appointment scheduling was also fulfilled through the Switchee device, so customers could fix appointment times that suited them. This resulted in an 86% first time access rate for Riverside’s surveyors and gas engineers, compared to previous access rates of 60%, saving time and money. Customers received a reminder prior to the visit and could cancel if they needed to change the appointment date or time.
As a direct result of the pilot project with Switchee, Riverside recently won the Regional Vulnerable Customer Support Organisation of the Year award at the North West Energy Efficiency Awards for its commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable people.
The Switchee device enables direct messaging and Riverside’s Affordable Warmth team offered customers at risk of fuel poverty both money and energy saving advice. This included information about the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust’s Energy Hardship Fund vouchers worth up to £147, as well as advice about the Government’s Warm Homes discount scheme. Switchee thermostats themselves can also reduce energy usage by as much as 17%.
Riverside surveyed customers about their satisfaction with the Switchee devices. Eighty six percent replied of which 80% were satisfied with the device and 90% said it was easier to control their heating compared to their old thermostat.
Ian Gregg, Riverside’s Executive Director for Asset Services said:
“The data on property performance we received from Switchee devices in the pilot meant we could identify both houses and customers with issues quickly and easily and, importantly, prioritise the right help and in order of need.
“By rolling Switchee out across more of our housing stock, we will be able to continue to improve the quality of our housing and communicate more efficiently with customers about repairs and surveys as well as the support services we can provide.
“Our recent award win focussed on the brilliant work our Affordable Warmth team has done in the last six months, proactively identifying and supporting customers at risk of fuel poverty using insights from the Switchee device.”
Tom Robins, Switchee CEO, added:
“This project at Riverside is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when organisations collaborate. I’m delighted that, in the midst of the cost of living crisis, Riverside is using the range of features Switchee offers, optimising heating systems and improving communications with their most vulnerable residents. A truly worthy winner at the North West Energy Efficiency Awards; congratulations to the team”