The Environment Agency (EA) has recently completed a detailed review of England’s draft regional and water resources management plans. The review examined whether the proposed plans will secure resilient and sustainable water supplies until 2050. And the result? The EA has warned that “multiple water companies have produced draft plans that have fallen below the expectations set out in the water resources planning guideline.” We take a look at how behavioural science based customer engagement programmes can help water companies to meet their targets. 

According to EA, the success of ensuring the nation’s future public water supply will depend on a two pronged approach:

  1. Delivering new supplies of water
  2. Reducing water demand by improving water efficiency and reducing leakage

Water reduction targets

Reducing water demand is absolutely crucial, but the EA’s review points out that the current draft water resources management plans will only deliver a 17% reduction in water use by 2037-38. The target in England is set at a 20% reduction in Per Capita Consumption (PCC) of public water supply.

As a result, the UK Government is asking water companies to set out how they will meet this target in updated plans – asking them to act quickly and take significant steps towards installing smart meters and delivering on their wider water efficiency commitments.

How smart meters will help

According to the EA, smart meters will unlock new ways for customers to better understand their water use and where they can save water. The problem is, less than 60% of homes are currently metered in England, and most of these meters require a physical visit to record what water has been used. These visits only happen once or twice a year, which seriously impedes any ability to understand a household’s water use.

That’s why the EA is asking water companies to stop installing these types of meter and instead, roll out smart meters which capture daily and sub-daily usage data. It expects all water companies to install smart meters from 2025 – and replace existing basic meter stock. It’s a big ask, but the good news is, a behavioural science based customer engagement programme, such as ours, can really help!

How we can help

We harness the power of behavioural science to create unique customer engagement solutions that are proven to help water and energy customers to better understand their usage and motivate them to make changes – whether that’s to reduce their consumption or accept a smart meter. And we’ve been doing it successfully for over eight years.

How we increase engagement

Our SaaS solutions use behavioural and data science to trigger customer engagement. We do this through personalised and timely behavioural based messages that are designed to motivate behavioural changes and sent via multiple channels. This increased interaction with customers promotes confidence and trust in their supplier – an essential tool in any effort by suppliers to encourage conversion to smart meters. You can read more about customer engagement in our Blog – Engaging with customers through a time of crisis – lessons from lockdown.

How we deliver information

Our platform and customer engagement solutions provide the perfect channel for water companies to educate and inform their customers on the advantages that smart meters can deliver, such as negating the need to submit a meter reading, receiving accurate bills, as well as reducing consumption. FAQs relating to smart meters can also be provided, such as informing customers that installations are free; that their data is protected; or how to request a smart meter.

How we reveal potential savings

One of the most persuasive messages that we can send to a water customer is a comparison of their average consumption with that of similar households in their neighbourhood. Providing customers with personalised consumption comparisons against neighbours that have reduced their bill having had a smart meter installed can prove to be very persuasive in encouraging a customer to convert to a smart meter.

Don’t just take our word for it!

We’re currently working with a whole host of water companies across the globe to help improve customer engagement and to increase the roll-out of smart meters. In the UK we are working with Severn Trent Water, Portsmouth Water,  Southern Water and Yorkshire Water amongst others. And on the other side of the world, we’re supporting Wellington Water in New Zealand with their residential smart meter water trial. 

How will you increase the uptake of smart meters and hit your targets?

When it comes to updating your water resources management plans – how are you going to demonstrate that you will hit your targets? Why not talk to us about behavioural science based customer engagement programmes and discover quite how quickly we can help you get your programme up and running? Get in touch today!