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Suppliers charged up to 14p a day to rent out smart meters

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The true cost of having a smart meter has been unmasked and it suggests the potential savings households are claimed they could make are offset by these hidden charges.

Energy providers have to pay several companies when providing smart meters to customers, known as Meter Asset Providers.

Rent can be as much as 14p a day for one meter – equivalent to £51.50 a year – showing exactly how much suppliers have to fork out every day.

It is likely these costs are passed on indirectly in the form of higher energy bills. 

Smart meters could be costing consumers as suppliers have to pay daily rent on each device

Smart meters could be costing consumers as suppliers have to pay daily rent on each device

Additionally, there are other charges for smart meters too. This includes a monthly fee for suppliers for communication reading adding another £20 and for places where this is hard to read, such as flats, the cost can be another £5.

The cost for Smart Energy GB – the Government-backed taskforce trying to convince all households to get a smart meter – is around £1 per household for the year. 

It has previous come under fire for paying celebrity spokespeople large sums to plug the devices on television adverts with stars such as Twiggy and Maxine Peake featuring. 

This brings potential grand total of £75 to 80 per year – or £750 to £800 over the course of a decade. This is far more than the potential savings customers are estimated to make from the devices.

Smart Energy GB claims each individual household is estimated to see a net benefit of £250 over the appraisal period, which cover the years 2013 to 2034.

This is a saving of £11.90 a year after all equipment has been paid for. After 2034, it says savings will increase to £49 for every year. 

The devices are not compulsory and take up plummeted last year, thanks to the coronavirus with 980,000 meters installed in the first three months of the year – compared to just 135,000 between April and June – a fall of 845,000.

By the end of 2020, 23,646,000 meters were operating. New targets have been put in place for individual suppliers, depending on their size.   

Whilst suppliers renting out meters isn’t a direct hit on consumers, it’s likely that suppliers will have to hike their prices to compensate for the money being spent on the meters.

Not only have prices soared in the last year, due to wholesale costs increasing, but the Ofgem price cap is also set to rise by £96 at the beginning of April with default customers set to see their annual bill rise from the current level of £1,042 to £1,138.  

Households up and down the country have been encouraged to have smart meters installed

Households up and down the country have been encouraged to have smart meters installed

Who do suppliers pay for meters? 

Energy suppliers are free to fund and install their own meters. However, most instead arrange for a Meter Asset Provider to fund their meters, which they then lease back from the Provider.

This is a commercial arrangement between industry organisations and energy suppliers who negotiate terms with the Providers with a number of Providers available for energy suppliers to work with.

These agreements also apply to traditional metering and allow for charges to transfer to the new energy supplier when customers switch provider, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

Aside from paying the Meter Asset Providers, suppliers must also pay the Data Communications Company (DCC), a firm who services the devices and Smart Energy GB, the team responsible for the UK’s smart meter rollout.  

How much do they pay? 

Suppliers, on average, have to pay around 8p a day, per customer, to rent out a smart meter if they are contracted through a private company.

However, if no formal contract is in place, this can go up to 14p a day.

The smart meter rollout

There have been many concerns over the smart meter rollout since it launched in 2016 with lots of households encountering challenges with their first generation devices (SMETS1). 

Many were found to have a fault where many stopped working after customers switched suppliers.

The second generation meters, SMETS2 devices, were meant to rectify this problem, however, many suppliers are still not installing these and continue to install the SMETS1 models.

The rollout has also been halted significantly due to lockdown and engineers being unable to get into homes.  

The take up, in general, has also been considerably less than the Government anticipated meaning the initial target date of every home and small business being offered one has been pushed back multiple times.

Meanwhile, if a customer with a smart meter moves supplier, the invoice for that meter passes on to the supplier they moved to and they must continue to pay.

Suppliers also have to pay the DCC a daily pence per meter point for it to pass on communications – what the meter is saying passed on to the supplier.

For a medium sized challenger supplier, the fixed cost for 2020 to 2021 are 97.7p per month for electricity and 73.8p per month for gas for each meter. 

There is also additional costs for meters where it is hard to communicate with the in home display, for example, high rise flats, called Alternative Home Area Network.

These charges are 40p per month, per meter, for both gas and electricity.  

The cost for Smart Energy GB is relatively small coming in at around £1 per household for the year.

The price is based on the market share of the company but for one medium size challenger supplier, it went up 30 per cent in one year.

The DCC, which is wholly owned by the Government, get paid for communication to be passed on even if the supplier paying them has no customers with smart meters.  

This communication network is meant to cut the cost of each energy supplier having their own smart metering communications system and enables consumers to keep smart services no matter which energy supplier they switch to. 

Smart Energy GB has long advertised the benefits of the devices, with one of the main being the meters are free.

However, it is very likely that customers are charged more for their energy bills on a whole as a way for the energy providers to recoup the costs they are being made to pay.

Smart Energy GB admitted that consumers pay for the cost of their meter and its maintenance through their energy bills but said this is the same for both traditional and for smart meters.

It added the DCC get paid as it publishes a charging statement setting out how the charges for their services are passed on to their customers, for example, energy suppliers, network companies and other third parties.

Smart meters caused controversy with many saying theirs stopped working after switching

Smart meters caused controversy with many saying theirs stopped working after switching

Why has the price for suppliers increased? 

As above, one challenger supplier found their prices hiked by 30 per cent in one year. 

Customers are invoiced monthly a fixed charge based on the latest market share data which is intended to balance the cost of smart metering across the industry.

As the programme ramps up the costs are forecast to increase, but costs are expected to reduce overtime as the programme matures.

The recent increase in prices for suppliers can be primarily attributed to costs the DCC is incurring in migrating SMETS1 meters onto the national smart metering communications network.

Once SMETS1 meters are migrated, all energy suppliers should be able to operate them and so consumers will retain smart services when they switch suppliers.

This is something that has been an ongoing problem with the first generation devices. 

Once they are enrolled onto the national network, they can transmit data. 

Some 3.8million SMETS1 meters have been migrated onto the DCC system so far.

The DCC said charges are set so they accurately reflect the costs of maintaining and expanding the rollout.

It added the charging methodology was set by the Government and closely scrutinised to ensure they are fair and essential. 

If the DCC’s spend is not justified Ofgem can ‘disallow’ costs, meaning the DCC covers the cost, not customers.

Additionally, it it does not spend all of the charges revenue in a given year – it will always return the difference to customers through lower charges in the future. 

It said this week, the DCC will be taking the step to return £12million of under-spend earlier than the regulatory process.

This process was a proactive decision made by DCC to ensure cash is handed back to customers as soon as possible where it has made savings or costs that are delayed or deferred. 

A BEIS spokesperson said: ‘Energy suppliers have long been responsible for the provision of metering to their customers, whether smart or traditional, and the smart meter rollout does not change this.’   

It added the smart meter rollout programme has now broken even, meaning every future installation will not only help individual consumers save money but deliver a net benefit to the country.

Could you cut your energy bills… or help the planet and go green? 

Millions of people could be needlessly overpaying for their energy as they fail to switch to providers who offer cheaper deal.

They may also be missing out on the opportunity to help the planet and fight climate change, by switching to green deals that offer electricity from renewable sources and more environmentally-friendly gas.

With our partner, Compare the Market, you can compare energy tariffs and exclusive deals.

Why not find out if you could save hundreds of pounds a year on your energy or go green?

>> Check to see if you can start saving money now

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Tungsten and BC Partners launch €296m industrial JV (GB)

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Tungsten Properties have signed a transformative €296m (£250m) JV funding agreement with BC Partners. The newly formed joint venture company will target single and multi-let industrial opportunities across the UK, which will range from last-mile to big box logistics warehouses with a GDV of greater than €29.6m (£25m). Tungsten Properties will act as asset and development manager for the joint venture. With a strong conviction in the underlying occupational fundamentals of the industrial warehousing sector, the joint venture has already identified a strong pipeline to initially seed the partnership.

 

Jeff Penman, managing director, Tungsten Properties said:“This is a significant step in Tungsten’s expansion strategy to continue to deliver industrial and warehouse space to create growth, jobs and investor returns. This transformational JV agreement with BC Partners will provide reliable capital to continue delivering strategically located, environmentally friendly buildings across the UK. While there is volatility in the capital markets, both Tungsten and BC Partners believe that the industrial market’s long-term fundamentals remain strong. With a fighting fund behind us, we look forward to securing further opportunities.”

 

Laurian Douin, partner, BC Partners said: “The UK industrial and warehouse sector has strong secular fundamentals. Given Tungsten’s strong track record and like-minded approach to development, we are thrilled to partner with them to jointly invest in this asset class. The joint venture intends to deliver well-located, exceptional schemes to meet occupier demand, with a particular focus on schemes’ environmental credentials in-line with BC Partners Real Estate’s commitment to ESG.”

 

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Four homes for sale with swimming pools: With price tags from £1.1m to £190k

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Owning a property with a swimming pool might seem like one of life’s luxuries that is reserved for millionaires.

But, as our pick of homes for sale with swimming pools proves, you don’t have to have a multi-million pound property to have one.

That said, you may still need deep pockets for their upkeep, which can be costly, particularly if you want to keep your swimming pool heated to a comfortable temperature.

While water shortages and hosepipe bans are hitting the headlines, a pool that is already filled with water will not draw on resources but may be forbidden from being topped up by hosepipe in the case of a ban.

Our pick of four properties for sale with swimming pools are for various budgets, ranging from £1.1million to £190,000 (scroll down for more information about the house pictured)

Our pick of four properties for sale with swimming pools are for various budgets, ranging from £1.1million to £190,000 (scroll down for more information about the house pictured)

Here, we take a look at four swimming pools at properties for those with a range of different budgets.

At the top end is a six-bedroom house in Ramsgate, Kent. with an acre of land that includes an outdoor swimming pool. It has a price tag of £1.1million.

At the other end is three-bedroom property in Ashington, Northumberland, with an empty indoor swimming pool and an asking price of only £190,000.

Daniel Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘With Britain currently experiencing a heatwave, it’s no surprise that homes with swimming pools are proving to be increasingly popular.

‘Whether your budget is more in the deep or shallow end, some homes with pools may be more affordable than you think.

‘While the rise in energy bills will have a very real impact on those wanting to heat a pool, at this time of year a refreshing dip may be just what’s needed.’

Four properties with swimming pools… 

1. Six-bed house, Ramsgate, £1.1m

The most expensive house in our list of properties with swimming pools is this £1.1million home in Ramsgate, Kent, which is being sold by Miles & Barr estate agents

The most expensive house in our list of properties with swimming pools is this £1.1million home in Ramsgate, Kent, which is being sold by Miles & Barr estate agents

The property is called Pond Cottage and it boasts a large outdoor swimming pool that has a curved slide at the side

The property is called Pond Cottage and it boasts a large outdoor swimming pool that has a curved slide at the side

Inside the property, the entertainment facilities continue - with a cinema room that has black chairs and a red carpet

Inside the property, the entertainment facilities continue – with a cinema room that has black chairs and a red carpet

The most expensive house in our list of properties with swimming pools is this £1.1million home in Ramsgate, Kent.

It boasts more than an acre of land that includes a large outdoor swimming pool, a patio and a pool area.

The property is called Pond Cottage and it is being sold by Miles & Barr estate agents.

2. Five-bed semi-detached house, Welling, £625k

This semi-detached property in Welling, Kent, may not look like it can house a swimming pool from the front aspect

This semi-detached property in Welling, Kent, may not look like it can house a swimming pool from the front aspect

A slimline swimming pool has been added to the rear of the house and it has been covered to protect it from the elements

A slimline swimming pool has been added to the rear of the house and it has been covered to protect it from the elements

The Kent property is on the market with a price tag of £625,000 and the sale is being handled by estate agents MS Estates

The Kent property is on the market with a price tag of £625,000 and the sale is being handled by estate agents MS Estates

This semi-detached property in Welling, Kent, may not look like it can house a swimming pool from the front.

But a slimline swimming pool has been added to the rear of the house. It is on the market for £625,000 via MS Estates.

3. Five-bed house, Ripon, £450k

This three-bedroom house in Ripon, North Yorkshire, was once a barn and has been converted into a family home with a swimming pool

This three-bedroom house in Ripon, North Yorkshire, was once a barn and has been converted into a family home with a swimming pool

The curved shaped indoor swimming pool sits below wooden beams and has a separate bar area for entertaining

The curved shaped indoor swimming pool sits below wooden beams and has a separate bar area for entertaining

The barn conversion has a colourful interior and is on the market for £450,000 via Solo Property Management estate agents

The barn conversion has a colourful interior and is on the market for £450,000 via Solo Property Management estate agents

This three-bedroom barn conversion in Ripon, North Yorkshire, boasts an indoor swimming pool and bar area.

It is on the market with a price tag of £450,000 and the sale is being handled by Solo Property Management.

4. Three-bed house, Ashington, £190k

This three-bedroom house in Ashington, Northumberland, is the cheapest in our list of properties for sale with swimming pools

This three-bedroom house in Ashington, Northumberland, is the cheapest in our list of properties for sale with swimming pools

The 1930s detached property has an indoor swimming pool that isn¿t currently being used because it has been left empty

The 1930s detached property has an indoor swimming pool that isn’t currently being used because it has been left empty

The three-bedroom property is currently for sale for £190,000 and is being sold via Rook Matthews Sayer estate agents

The three-bedroom property is currently for sale for £190,000 and is being sold via Rook Matthews Sayer estate agents

This three-bedroom house in Ashington, Northumberland, is the cheapest in our list of properties for sale with swimming pools.

It is a 1930s detached property with an indoor swimming pool that isn’t currently being used as it is empty.

The property is for sale for a relatively cheap £190,000 and is being sold via Rook Matthews Sayer estate agents.

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Barwood Homes invests in Woodville resi scheme (GB)

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Harworth Group plc has completed the sale of an eight-acre land parcel at Woodville, Derbyshire to Barwood Homes for the delivery of 73 new houses. This represents Harworth’s first transaction with the Northampton-based housebuilder. The land parcel forms part of a 53-acre regeneration site which is owned by Beepart Ltd, part of Dyson Group, the Sheffield-based former manufacturer of industrial materials. Harworth is promoting the site on its behalf through a Planning Promotion Agreement. In April 2022, South Derbyshire District Council granted outline consent for the creation of up to 300 homes on the site, in addition to a c.30,000ft² local center with convenience retail and leisure amenities and over 150,000ft² of employment space for a range of uses.

 

The wider site has been unlocked by the delivery of Derbyshire County Council’s Woodville to Swadlincote Regeneration Route, which opened to traffic in December 2021, providing better access to Swadlincote and traffic relief in Woodville, as well as improved connectivity across the site. Preparation works will commence shortly for the next phases of residential and employment land sales at the development.

 

Ed Catchpole, Regional Director for Yorkshire & Central at Harworth, commented: “This sale is a fantastic start to the development at Woodville and we are pleased to welcome Barwood Homes to the site, who will deliver high-quality new housing for the local community. Our focus is now on bringing forward the rest of the development, utilising our extensive experience in the remediation of complex sites, including earthworks and infrastructure, to ready the remaining residential and employment land.”

 

Luke Simmons, Managing Director of Barwood Homes, added: “We are delighted to be working alongside Harworth on this exciting development. The team is looking forward to engaging with the local community as we gear up to deliver a scheme of excellent quality in design, build and service.”

 

Gavin Rosson, Managing Director of Dyson Group, added: “This first sale of a residential portion of the site is an important step in unlocking the full development potential of the whole, something we have been trying to achieve for many years. Such development will help regenerate Woodville and the surrounding area, somewhere we have had a presence since 1967 and are delighted to participate in.”

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