Heating change made ‘massive’ savings for Sheffield residents

Residents have saved 40 per cent on heating bills after Sheffield Council changed their community boilers.

By Molly Williams, local democracy reporter
Friday, 21 June, 2019, 15:03
The changes allowed residents to have more control over their heating

According to figures from the authority, carbon emissions were reduced and residents recouped a ‘massive’ amount after homeowners were allowed to control usage themselves.

A report was presented at meeting of the council’s cabinet committee for approval.

Previously, the heating was on 24 hours a day and people used to simply open their windows if it got too hot.

Laraine Manley, executive director at the council who wrote the report, said: “Since its introduction, the heat metering scheme has proved to be very successful and feedback from our customers has been very good. On average they are saving around 40 per cent on their heating bills to what they were paying before the old fixed weekly charge under an unmetered supply.

“As we are using less fuel to source heating this also benefits the environment by lowering carbon emissions in the city.”

The community heating scheme provides hot water for around 6,000 homes across the city.

It works by using a central boiler, rather than individual ones.

The council updated internal controls to allow residents to manage how much energy they were using, paying for the actual heat used rather than a flat weekly rate based on property size.

Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children and families, said it was ‘good news for residents’.

Coun Paul Wood, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “I think 40 per cent has been achieved in more than the majority of homes, so it’s on a massive scale. Hopefully we can see more savings next year as well.”

Ms Manley said: “Heat metering and the necessary infrastructure to operate it is quite complex involving constantly evolving technology and specialist expertise. It is considered to be a relatively unique and niche service sector with not a huge number of service providers.

“Due to its complex nature the process of developing new contractual arrangements for this service has warranted a significant lead-in period and careful consideration involving extensive research.”

Leading councillors granted the scheme another four years of operation. The contract costs up to £320,000 annually.