Following on from the success of a technology trial at 10 Flagship properties earlier this year, Phase 2 of the project benefitting hundreds of customers has launched this week (Tuesday 5 December).

The second phase aims to reduce fuel poverty and rent arrears, prevent damp and mould, increase digital usage and improve boiler maintenance at 493 properties across 11 towns in Norfolk and Suffolk.

It is anticipated the technology will also have a significant impact on Flagship’s housing and asset management costs in the long-term.

Smart technology company Switchee are providing smart thermostats, installed by Gasway Services Ltd.

The pilot first phase involved Flagship and a number of local companies working together to demonstrate that the technology works and gauge the potential benefits of using smart technologies in the ‘real world’.

The pilot resulted in the following main benefits:

  • Income generation as the new technology allowed for faster housing benefits to be claimed leading to earlier payments
  • Allowed for digital payment reminders to be used, leading to quicker collection of missed payments
  • Preventative action could be taken where the devices showed a high risk of mould/damp, poor insulation and faulty boilers
  • Positive customer feedback as they found it easier and more convenient to contact Flagship and felt more secure in their homes
  • An increase in the number of ‘Log A Repair’ requests online resulting in a reduction in calls to Flagship’s Contact Centre

Marie-Claire Delbrouque, Director of Housing and Customer Insight at Flagship said: “We’re really pleased with how the pilot was received by our customers and it’s fantastic we’re now rolling out the project to more people.

“There are lots of potential benefits including helping our customers tackle fuel poverty. A worrying number of families across the UK, including our own customers, suffer as a result of rising fuel costs. We anticipate this project will create cheaper fuel bills, helping people to pay their rent and ultimately keep them in their homes.”

Matt Brazier, Director of IT at Flagship said: “It’s exciting to be at the forefront of using technology in such a pioneering way. The pilot has already demonstrated that this technology can work so we anticipate the wider rollout will make a huge difference to us as a business, our customers, as well as the housing sector as a whole.”

Ian Napier is Commercial Director at Switchee, which helps families reduce their energy bills with their Smart Thermostat for social housing. Ian said: “We are thrilled that Flagship are rolling Switchee out on a much larger scale following the success of the initial pilot. Phase 2 of this project will result in a material reduction in fuel poverty across the 493 selected homes and help Flagship to better diagnose repair issues in their housing stock, continuing the shift from reactive to pre-emptive maintenance. Switchee data will lead to quicker and better repair outcomes for residents and significant efficiencies for Flagship.”

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