KHT signs up to cost-saving partnership with Spark Energy
Nov 12, 2015 by Spark
Knowsley Housing Trust (KHT), part of the First Ark Group, has joined with Spark Energy in a new partnership which will improve service and lower household bills to its customers, cut operational costs and reduce void times.
Spark, the niche energy supplier to the property management market has created the UK’s only tariff specifically designed for the social housing sector, which cuts bills for tenants and saves money for providers. KHT will introduce the new service and beneficial tariff in two phases, starting with its empty properties in phase one then offering the switching opportunity to all its customers early in 2016.
Dawn Foy, First Ark’s Group Head of product and service development, said:
“KHT has an excellent track record on bringing innovation to the social housing sector and has been working to improve the energy efficiency of all its homes over many years.
“We are now taking our commitment to alleviating fuel poverty a step further through our partnership with Spark Energy, who will provide our customers with market leading tariffs, thereby reducing their energy costs and enabling a positive social impact in our communities.”
Spark CEO Chris Gauld said the partnership would help KHT to lower costs and increase income at a time when there is increasing pressure on revenues in the sector.
He said: “Industry insiders tell us this is an unprecedented time for social housing providers. With the new rent formula, cuts in the Affordable Housing Grant and the right-to-buy looming on the horizon, the sector is now focusing on how to deliver real cost efficiencies.
“We have spent the last year listening to housing providers and finding out what they wanted from energy companies. As a result we developed a market leading pay-as-you-go tariff which we’ve named PAYG Lite, tailored for social housing customers, and a service that focuses on delivering cost savings and revenue maximisation for landlords.
“While it isn’t going to tackle every challenge, KHT’s partnership with Spark Energy will help to mitigate that organisation’s costs, especially in void units.
“We believe that other social housing providers will join us when they see the reality of the benefits that will be accrued, and we’re already close to signing deals with a number of other providers in various parts of the UK.
“If providers let us know when their tenants are moving out, we’ll sort out all the void issues for them. Our team will then immediately send pre-payment energy cards preloaded with £5 per fuel, or install a smart meter in as little as five days.
“For customers with pre-payment meters this means they get the lowest tariff in the market that has no standing charge – ideal for budgeting purposes. At the same time, landlords have the energy they need for void repairs because there’s no hassle sorting out pre-payment cards.”
Further benefits of a partnership with Spark are to prevent issues faced by social housing providers such as:
• Being pursued for debt from previous tenants.
• Staff spending hours on the phone to energy companies to manage energy supply and bills.
• No energy being immediately available when new tenants move in.
• An absence of tie-ins or exit penalties.
Spark is also fully behind the national roll-out of smart meters, which make estimated bills a thing of the past, and give an overview of energy consumption - providing useful indicators that tenants could be experiencing financial difficulty.
In addition, Spark is offering social housing providers the option of having their own R&M teams trained and accredited as smart meter installers – further maximising flexibility and generating an income when smart meters are installed and for years after.