What are Metered Estates?
Metered Estates are when two or more properties (a group of homes) are supplied from communal LPG tanks on the estate, with each property having its own individual gas meter.
A single LPG supplier will fill the tanks and bill each property individually for the gas they have consumed. It is now very common for many new housing developments to be supplied via a LPG metered estate supply. This brings huge benefits to consumers and housing developers. Home owners can enjoy all the benefits of a clean burning fuel that provides their heating, cooking and hot water demands whilst having the same experience as being on a mains gas supply.
The good news for housing developers is there is no need to gain permission and install a new natural gas connection to the development which is both time consuming and very costly. In contrast the investment by the developers to install a metered LPG supply is very minimal. Even better is the fact that in most instances underground tanks can be installed.
Pure LPG can handle the entire process from start to finish for metered estate housing developments, from installing the tanks, pipework and meters for the properties but also in offering the consumers the lowest priced LPG supply.
How do I switch?
To be eligible to switch the LPG supply of a metered estate all the residents must be out of contract (or close to the end of the existing contract) and all the occupants that form part of the metered estate must agree collectively to switch LPG suppliers.
Metered Estate legislation change January 2021
From 1st January 2021, the rules around metered estates are changing, making the switching process easier for home owners on a metered estate property.
The changes are:
- All customers on a metered estate being supplied by the same tanks will be offered the same tariff options on new metered estate contracts signed from the 1st January 2021. (I.e. any contract signed after 1st January 2021 the same unit price and standing charge must be applied to all residents on the metered estate).
- To align all contract end dates from 31st December 2020. From this point any new contract on a Metered Estate will have an exclusive supply term which is aligned to the latest existing contract on said estate, this will be no later than 31st December 2022. All exclusive supply contract periods on a metered estate will be aligned moving forward to help facilitate switching. Example – metered estate consisting of 100 residents, Customer A was the last customer to sign a contract on the 1st November 2020, this means that the remaining 99 residents will be in eligible to switch on that particular metered estate from 1st November 2022.
- In addition to point 2, LGUK (Liquid Gas UK) is proposing that from 31st December 2022 suppliers permit switching of estates where less than 10% of residents or 1 resident where less than 10 homes are in an exclusive supply term, providing 100% of residents agree to switch suppliers. This will prevent an estate from being ineligible to switch supplier due to 1 person or a very low % of people being in exclusive supply contract(s). It is however required that 100% of residents agree to switch suppliers to prevent the incumbent supplier from being in breach of contract.
Example – metered estate consisting of 100 residents, Customer A changes hands with new occupants on the 1st November 2021, this customer will be informed that the contract they are signing into will end on the 1st November 2022 as per the other 99 residents.
Switching process for all metered estates will be a maximum of 42 days as from the 1st January 2021
Information for new metered estate residents
Upon moving into a metered estate it is recommended that residents notify the LPG supplier as soon as possible that they are the property’s new occupant. Following this, residents will receive a welcome pack from the LPG supplier company which will contain the following;
- Information explaining that the property is situated on a metered estate.
- Information about the current LPG supply to the estate (details of the company currently supplying)
- Information about the latest LPG Contract end date for the metered estate and the contractual details.
Supply for metered estate residents
Metered estate residents are able to switch supplier when all residents agree to switch and subject to point 3 above, all exclusive supply contracts have reached their end date and none are being supplied under contract. Before signing a contract residents are advised to speak to their fellow residents.
Some metered estates have a metered estate manager appointed by the residents to represent them and, if so, residents may wish to talk to them in the first instance. The existing supplier should also be able to advise residents of the current contractual status of the estate and when contracts expire (unless the metered estate is small and hence there is a risk of identifying an individual household’s circumstances).