Making life easier with
automatic data collection

Baston Wonen housing association, the Netherlands

A housing association in the Netherlands wanted the freedom to manage the administration of their residents’ energy bills their own way. With the solution from Kamstrup they can not only do that, they have also optimized their operations and improved the service they offer their tenants.

In the city of Zevenaar, near the German border in the Gelderland province, there are five apartment blocks run by an organisation called Baston Wonen, whose mission is to provide affordable housing, with a special focus on people with low incomes. 

To improve the efficiency of their business and the service they provide their tenants, Baston Wonen chose to replace their mechanical meters with Kamstrup smart heat meters. Combined with a READy fixed network remote reading solution, Baston Wonen can now easily view the meter data from their office, without needing access to the apartments. 

Easy and self-sufficient meter reading

Baston Wonen’s previous supplier used to send someone to physically read the meters inside the apartments for the annual invoice.

As a result, it used to take one person up to five days to read all of the meters in the complex. Also, disturbing residents to gain access to the mechanical meters created operational issues for Baston Wonen and their tenants. 

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for some of the apartments to have a few changes of tenants throughout the year. Under their previous system, calculating how much energy each transitory tenant had consumed during their stay was only possible after the fiscal year had ended. 

In the past, Baston Wonen had no control over the administration and invoicing of their tenants. They had no possibility of seeing for themselves, exactly how much energy had been consumed over specific time periods.

“During the year when tenants would challenge a bill (e.g. when moving out) it would often take a long time to get an answer from the previous supplier as they would have to wait until the end of the fiscal year. Then when the bill was issued and questions about it were raised, Baston Wonen was fully dependent on the data and the calculations supplied by their previous supplier,” explains Albert Stöcker, Technical Advisor at Baston Wonen and the person who manages their network. 

Now, with the solution from Kamstrup, Baston Wonen can accurately calculate how much energy each apartment has consumed, for whichever time period they desire. 

This enables them to bill residents for their exact consumption, making everyone’s lives much easier.

“It is possible to read all of the meters in a matter of minutes. The real-time data gives us everything we need to know. If one of our tenants has a question or problem, we can give them an answer within 24-hours because we have direct access to the information. Or, if someone is moving out, we can have the invoice ready, more or less, on the same day,”

Albert Stöcker, Technical Advisor at Baston Wonen

Minimising energy losses

The data generated by the smart meters provides Mr Stöcker with valuable information about how the entire network is performing. The READy Manager remote reading software makes it easy for him to monitor the network and identify specific areas where they can minimize losses. In this way, the wealth of meter data also gives Baston Wonen the knowledge they need to run their business more efficiently.

Visualisation of energy consumption

The potential next step for Baston Wonen is to strengthen their residents’ awareness of their energy consumption. They could do this by installing eButler, an online solution that allows residents to easily see how much energy they are consuming every hour. This enables them to adjust their behaviour to reduce their energy consumption and save money on their bills. No technical knowledge is needed as eButler was designed, with users in mind, to be intuitive and easy to understand. The software is in the local language, with easy to understand analysis via graphs, rather than figures and tables.

Flexibility is the key to control
Kamstrup’s solutions give housing associations the ability to decide if they want to handle the billing themselves or let someone else do it for them. Tailored service agreements are provided, but they are not forced into long-term service contracts. This flexibility and freedom was one of Baston Wonen’s deciding factors behind choosing Kamstrup. “As a customer you can choose to do it yourself or make use of an independent supplier,” says Mr Stöcker.

Baston Wonen housing association:

5 apartment blocks, 138 apartments in total, covering an area of around 150 x 150 meters.
The first organisation in the Netherlands to install the READy fixed network remote reading solution (2015).
  

Solution:

• MULTICAL® 302 heat meter with wireless M-Bus communication installed in each apartment
• 3 main meters, MULTICAL® 602 heat meters in the apartment block’s boiler room
• 2 main meters, Kamstrup 382 electricity meters in the apartment block’s boiler room
• 1 data concentrator on the roof of one of the buildings.

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