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Best-in-class metering & billing for PLATFORM_

At a glance information

  • PROPERTIES : 4 sites, 500 properties
  • LOCATION : Bracknell, Bedford, Stevenage & Crawley
  • SERVICES : Metering & Billing

The customer

PLATFORM_ is an integrated developer and operator of Build to Rent apartments across the UK with an operational portfolio of some 600 apartments and a development pipeline of a further 1,500 apartments. PLATFORM_ aims to create modern living spaces which enhance the lifestyle of their residents through thoughtful design, smart technology and responsive service.

The challenge

PLATFORM_ currently operate four Build to Rent developments with shared heat networks in Bracknell, Bedford, Stevenage and Crawley with 516 apartments in total. Driven by the shared heat network arrangement, PLATFORM_ acts as utilities reseller to its residents for heat, electricity and water, passing on bulk purchase savings to its residents.

During 2018, PLATFORM_ undertook a tender of the utilities billing and metering service (incorporating related customer services) across its portfolio. The aims of this exercise were to:

  • Enhance the resident experience relating to utilities metering and billing
  • Improve the transparency of utilities usage and cost for landlord and residents alike
  • Increase the quality and accuracy of reporting
  • Achieve higher debt collection rates

Key priorities for PLATFORM_ were for the service provider to be able to deliver a seamless transition, to provide accurate meter reading and timely billing, to provide an outstanding level of customer service at all times, to offer options based on digital technology and to invest in the professional relationship with a view to fostering a long term partnership.

The solution

After a successful tender process, Switch2 was delighted to be appointed and eager to hit the ground running to improve the customer experience, help PLATFORM_ understand their billing environment, deliver reduced debt and achieve an increased level of professionalism. We put in place a robust handover process from the incumbent supplier. This included:

  • A full handover project timeline, outlining key milestones
  • Weekly conference calls with PLATFORM_ to discuss progress
  • Working very closely with PLATFORM_ to resolve long-standing metering issues and establish the optimal handover process for long-standing debts
  • Resident engagement, supporting PLATFORM_ marketing team, including comprehensive resident communications
  • Switch2 delivered a residents’ meeting with colleagues from PLATFORM_ to offer question and answer sessions with residents in order to minimise any concerns that they may have had about the transition
  • Launch of both resident and client portals to enable all parties to view account details, billing and metering information in real time

The transition also included the introduction of a new tariff structure across heat, gas and water, which Switch2 supported.

The outcome

By December 2018, Switch2 was in full operation at all four sites with first bills sent electronically to customers in January 2019. In February 2019 balances carried forward from the previous billing provider were incorporated.

Switch2 delivered on their promises and after replacing unreliable data loggers, were soon providing best-in-class metering and billing for PLATFORM_, backed up by our award-winning customer services, and leveraging our market-leading use of technology. In addition, Switch2 has supported PLATFORM_ in reducing outstanding balances relating to utilities by over 40%.