Meter plan will help cut household bills

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THOUSANDS of residents whose homes are connected to Sheffield’s district heating system are set to have greater control over their bills.

Sheffield Council’s cabinet is set to approve plans to spend more than £5 million installing heat meters and controls at up to 6,000 properties in the city after complaints from tenants unhappy about being charged the same regardless of how much heat they use.

The plans are set to be approved at a meeting on Wednesday.

Residents are being recruited on to a project group to help oversee improvements.

Among them is tenant Steve Pendlebury, aged 53, from Tinsley, who said: “At the moment, residents have no control over when the heating comes on or their bills.

“This new system will be a benefit - it’s a win-win situation for Sheffield tenants.”

Coun Harry Harpham, cabinet member for housing, said: “This will basically mean that homes have all of the functions of an individual boiler whilst reaping the environmental benefits of still being connected to a district heating system.

“The 6,000 or so properties that currently use the district heating system will be able to see exactly how much heat they are using and be in control of their bills - that way people can use as much or as little heat as they like.”

Coun Harpham added: “This is a large programme and one that many residents have been crying out for.

“Of course, like with any big changes we will make sure that we carefully monitor the installation providing advice and support for householders.”

The change will also be environmentally friendly - with less wasted heat also reducing Sheffield’s carbon dioxide emissions, the council said.

In preparation for the heat metering work, other work to upgrade internal programmers, thermostats and radiator valves, along with installation of more efficient hot water heat exchangers is currently being carried out.

Meters would be installed over three years from early 2013.