The 6 key benefits of KURVE

Since launching to the market in 2019, KURVE has been recognised for its innovation, winning the award for Heat and Efficiency: Digital Innovation at the 2020-21 Association of Decentralised Energy Awards. We’ve seen its success rise through our seven live schemes, with 17 others underway and another 7,000 units in the pipeline.

Improving accessibility, lowering costs for clients and customers, and much more, we’re seeing more and more clients switching to KURVE in place of traditional pay-as-you-go (PAYG) and credit billed systems.

This is why we’re sharing some benefits about KURVE backed up by real user and client experiences.  

Contents

Benefit 1: PAYG can be lower cost than credit billing

Benefit 2: KURVE is built on the only 100% open protocol communication infrastructure for metering systems

Benefit 3: KURVE’s flexible options help vulnerable customers and improve user accessibility

Benefit 4: KURVE ticks all your compliance boxes

Benefit 5: KURVE offers customer digital access, removing the need for a physical In-Home Display

Benefit 6: KURVE delivers massive client cost savings

Benefit 1: PAYG can be lower cost than credit billing 

It’s widely accepted that prepayment systems (also known as pay-as-you-go [PAYG]) give customers greater visibility of their consumption by sharing real-time data. As a result, PAYG customers are more conscious of their energy use and typically consume 15-20% less per annum than customers on standard credit billing, saving on cost and carbon.  

One reason why PAYG can cost consumers more than credit billing is the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) fees that are charged to operate the PAYG system. To make KURVE an affordable PAYG solution, we set our SaaS fees 50% lower than other market leading PAYG solutions, helping heat suppliers keep residential customer tariffs as low as possible. As a result, KURVE PAYG operates at the same price or less than traditional credit billing, so everyone can reap the convenience and security that KURVE offers without residents paying higher billing fees.  

In addition to this, landlords & residents are increasingly thinking longer term; assessing lifetime costs for systems they build into their developments. Operating (OpEx) and replacement (RepEx) costs feature here and these costs must be paid; either through inclusion within customer heat tariffs or daily standing charges, or through rent or service charges. Because KURVE is a web-app, it removes the need for an in-home display, and as a result RepEx is reduced by as much as 97% over the first 10-years. How? Because there’s no equipment to replace, and we use a meter that has a life expectancy of 20-years. We believe KURVE has the lowest lifetime cost of any PAYG solution available, making it a sensible inclusion in any build plan. 

Why KURVE? KURVE was designed to reduce the cost of heat networks, benefitting developers, landlords & residents alike. KURVE’s operational cost to customers is 17% cheaper than comparative PAYG systems,  and PAYG systems can achieve 15-20% cost savings due to reduced energy consumption from having real-time visibility.  

To find out how KURVE can help you, get in touch: [email protected].

Benefit 2: KURVE is built on the only 100% open protocol communication infrastructure for metering systems

The uncomfortable truth about all PAYG metering systems is that none of them are entirely free of tie-ins i.e., they are not open protocol. All PAYG systems rely on software and as a result there is always a party that remains responsible for access to operate or maintain the system. When you or your contractors select a PAYG solution, you are tying into this provider, their service, and their fees for the lifetime of that installation, sometimes with no easy fallback option in place. 

KURVE is as transferable and ‘open-protocol’ as all competing products in the market, and in several cases even more so.  

KURVE uses a wired M-Bus network, a tried and trusted solution that is the only 100% open protocol metering system out there. When selecting KURVE PAYG, not only do you get a low-cost, high-end solution, but you also have the back-up option of wired M-Bus. This gives you the ability that if you no longer wish to use the KURVE solution, the wired M-Bus network is ready-to-go for traditional credit billing without having to install new hardware or a whole other metering network. This means no additional or ongoing fees, with hardware ready to use that any metering & billing service provider can access (including the option for remote disconnect through a Kamstrup READy licence).  

This fallback option is often not available with other PAYG solutions, leaving heat suppliers tied into long-term operator agreements for the metering / PAYG software, or face the often-unaffordable cost and disruption of replacing the entire solution with another platform. 

The use of data in monitoring and optimising heat network performance continues to grow as heat suppliers understand the financial and reputational cost of underperformance. Using a wired M-Bus network means that data is always available to you, and by using Kamstrup 403 and 603 heat meters, you receive a full M-Bus data packet for each meter, including flow and return temperatures and VWARTs – which very few meters can calculate as part of their basic functionality. Add to this the fact that the standard life of most meters on the market ranges from 5 to 12 years, whereas Kamstrup meters have an average life span of 20-years, delivering incredibly low and market leading RepEx costs. 

Some PAYG providers take the approach that “open protocol” or “transferable protocol” means that you have the freedom to swap service provider, but they fail to mention that you can’t swap out their product without significant cost & disruption. They also fail to mention that once hardware is installed, you are tied-in to their high SaaS fees for the lifetime of their product, these fees ultimately making up a significant proportion of the metering and billing fees paid by residents. That’s not open protocol, and it’s not fully transferable either, so this approach doesn’t tell the whole story.  

KURVE comes pre-installed in SAV’s market leading Danfoss FlatStation HIUs (more than 130,000 installed in the UK alone), but if you want to use another HIU model, then just ask.  

Why KURVE? Insite have the best customer service in the market (just check Trustpilot) so if you really are unhappy, our contracts are only 1-3 years in length and you’ll have access to all site data from the wired M-Bus network – the only 100% open protocol system in metering, plus access to Kamstrup’s remote disconnect system enabling successful debt management. 

To find out how KURVE can help you, get in touch: [email protected].

Benefit 3: KURVE’s flexible options help vulnerable customers and improve user accessibility

We understand that PAYG isn’t suitable for all customers, particularly those in vulnerable situations that will be exacerbated without constant access to heat & hot water. That’s why KURVE offers a wide range of flexible solutions ensuring there is a customer friendly option for everyone, including vulnerable customers. KURVE isn’t just the PAYG web-app, but also offers credit-as-you-go (CAY-G*) and monthly credit billing – either issued via letter or electronically. 

Based on the demographic of a site, a client has the freedom to pick which properties need to be on PAYG, CAY-G or credit billing, and change the set-up between tenancies as well. This is demonstrated through KURVE being specified by clients operating in care-home and housing association settings with varying customer needs. KURVE has proven itself to be more cost effective and customer support effective than other products for all customer types and residential settings.

Whichever billing type is in place, KURVE allows an authorised contact to manage a customer’s account on their behalf. As KURVE is a web-app, a customer’s full account can be accessed remotely from anywhere at any time, meaning their authorised contact has full visibility and access to the account without having to physically be in the home. Instead, they can be anywhere and look anytime – a limitation of tradition PAYG systems where data is only accessible from a physical display, normally inconveniently installed in a utility cupboard. 

Another support feature that KURVE offers are automatic top-ups. Automatic top-ups, working in the same way as London Underground Oyster Cards, can be set up meaning a customer’s account can be topped up and remain in credit without any manual intervention needed. This also removes the risk of being disconnected too and only takes a few seconds to set-up.

One key thing about catering for vulnerable customers is ensuring they’ve got easy access to support when they need it. Insite Energy not only have the best-rated customer service in the market, but also the longest call centre opening hours, and shortest call wait times, which is partly why we recently won two Gold national excellence awards for our customer experience in 2021

Since COVID-19 hit we’ve heard concerns raised regarding internet poverty and digital exclusion, with the fear that those for whom the internet is not easily accessible will be excluded from the benefits of online platforms and services. We’ve yet to see these fears born out in practice, but we have investigated what is known about internet accessibility in Great Britain. Here are some interesting statistics from the Office for National Statistics as collected in 2020:

  • 96% of households had internet access. This matches the % of households who own a smartphone. 
  • 80% of households with one adult aged 65+ years have internet access
  • 76% of adults in Great Britain use internet banking

Where internet access is not achievable, the fall-back option of KURVE paper-based credit billing (with or without remote disconnect) is readily available and is most likely more suitable than an electronic in-home display or interactive PAYG platform too.

Why KURVE? When surveyed earlier this year, 95% of those customers said they are Very Satisfied, Satisfied, or Indifferent with KURVE, with 60% of our customers who responded from council-owned properties.

If KURVE PAYG isn’t for everyone, then you can choose from regular credit billing or CAY-G. Because KURVE is a web-app, it means remote access is easy from anywhere at any time, allowing full access to authorised contacts in support of customers with additional needs.

*What is CAY-G? CAY-G gives customers access to the KURVE web-app meaning disconnection of supply happens at a lower limit set by the landlord or heat supplier e.g., -£100 instead of £0. This allows customers more freedom over when they pay – in arrears rather than in advance – but still gives the heat supplier reassurance of a managed debt limit.

To find out how KURVE can help you, get in touch: [email protected].

Benefit 4: KURVE ticks all your compliance boxes 

We built KURVE entirely with regulation in mind and it 100% complies today and will comply tomorrow. This not only covers Heat Network (Metering & Billing) Regulations but also CIBSE’s Code of Practice 2020 (CP1) and Heat Trust Scheme Rules. KURVE also ensures data privacy in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In addition to this we are certified with Cyber Essentials, support 3DS2.0 enabled payments.

For more information on how we comply specifically with the Heat Trust, see our comprehensive guide.  

To find out how KURVE can help you, get in touch: [email protected]  

Benefit 5: KURVE offers customer digital access, removing the need for a physical In-Home Display 

Historically in the regulated gas and electricity market, pay-as-you-go services required installation of a physical in-home display device. The new regulatory requirements that Ofgem will bring into force for the heat network industry have not yet been defined. There is no evidence that Ofgem will insist on physical in-home-display devices where PAYG systems are installed on heat networks.  

The last update to the regulations covering the gas and electricity market was issued 6 years ago in 2016. Back then there were many regulated operators pushing for alternatives to IHDs, due to both high deployment costs and a foresight of how quickly technology like IHDs become outdated, as seen in the evolution of many technologies.  

In 2006, only 57% of households had internet access – this was up to 96% in 2020. In 2016, there wasn’t enough evidence presented to show that apps or internet-based services afford the same (or greater) benefit than a physical IHD. Yet in the last 6 years there has been enough technological advancement in the heat network market alone to ensure there is more than enough evidence proving that physical IHDs are no longer the only solution. Just look at how smart-phone technology has advanced in that period. Nobody will advocate, unless with questionable motives, that advances in technology that are proven to lower costs and benefit consumers should be prohibited.  

A question to you? If you’ve got a smart meter display in your home – how often do you look at it? Now compare that to how often you look at your phone.  

When everything can be done quickly and conveniently from our mobiles, utility account management shouldn’t be any different. 

Why KURVE? KURVE brings residential customers to the digital forefront. Technology has changed a lot over the last 6 years, and heat network regulation is still being determined specifically. KURVE provides concrete evidence of the benefits of IHD alternatives. At a residential surgery last month, a customer with a PAYG IHD berated the inconvenience of going into their utility cupboard to check their balance and consumption. In contrast, 46% of KURVE customers check their consumption graphs every time they log-in (with just over this percentage logging in daily or weekly), with a whopping 91% of all our customers having at some stage engaged with their consumption.   

To find out how KURVE can help you, get in touch: [email protected]   

Benefit 5: KURVE offers customer digital access, removing the need for a physical In-Home Display 

Historically in the regulated gas and electricity market, pay-as-you-go services required installation of a physical in-home display device. The new regulatory requirements that Ofgem will bring into force for the heat network industry have not yet been defined. There is no evidence that Ofgem will insist on physical in-home-display devices where PAYG systems are installed on heat networks.  

The last update to the regulations covering the gas and electricity market was issued 6 years ago in 2016. Back then there were many regulated operators pushing for alternatives to IHDs, due to both high deployment costs and a foresight of how quickly technology like IHDs become outdated, as seen in the evolution of many technologies.  

In 2006, only 57% of households had internet access – this was up to 96% in 2020. In 2016, there wasn’t enough evidence presented to show that apps or internet-based services afford the same (or greater) benefit than a physical IHD. Yet in the last 6 years there has been enough technological advancement in the heat network market alone to ensure there is more than enough evidence proving that physical IHDs are no longer the only solution. Just look at how smart-phone technology has advanced in that period. Nobody will advocate, unless with questionable motives, that advances in technology that are proven to lower costs and benefit consumers should be prohibited.  

A question to you? If you’ve got a smart meter display in your home – how often do you look at it? Now compare that to how often you look at your phone.  

When everything can be done quickly and conveniently from our mobiles, utility account management shouldn’t be any different. 

Why KURVE? KURVE brings residential customers to the digital forefront. Technology has changed a lot over the last 6 years, and heat network regulation is still being determined specifically. KURVE provides concrete evidence of the benefits of IHD alternatives. At a residential surgery last month, a customer with a PAYG IHD berated the inconvenience of going into their utility cupboard to check their balance and consumption. In contrast, 46% of KURVE customers check their consumption graphs every time they log-in (with just over this percentage logging in daily or weekly), with a whopping 91% of all our customers having at some stage engaged with their consumption.   

To find out how KURVE can help you, get in touch: [email protected]   

Benefit 6: KURVE delivers massive client cost savings 

By removing the physical in-home display (IHD) from each property, KURVE saves heat suppliers between £250-500 per property alone. Across an entire site, this can translate into capital expenditure (CapEx) savings of up to 60%, a potential saving of hundreds-of-thousands of pounds in a large development. 

Estimated capital (CapEx), operational (OpEx), and replacement (RepEx) expenditure savings for clients.

In addition to this, due to the pre-wiring of the heat meter and KURVE solution by SAV Systems into the HIU before site delivery, install is drastically simplified. As a result, the time and labour savings for the installer are considerably reduced, with an estimated 2-hours saved per property by removing the need to install a PAYG device and cabling.

Once in operation, because we set our SaaS fees 50% lower than other market leading PAYG solutions, this means we reduce operational expenditure (OpEx) by 20% which ultimately is felt by the customer, passed on through their metering and billing fees. This cost saving is in addition to the behavioural change benefits seen where PAYG systems are deployed where customers are seen to consume 15-20% less heat from having better visibility of their consumption. With the continuing energy crisis severely impacting residents, this is a considerable and welcome saving. 

KURVE now also does dual utility billing, meaning you only need one account for both heat & hot water and cooling, saving you even more on operational costs.  

The future costs of having to repair and replace equipment, known as replacement expenditure (RepEx), is continuing to grow on the agenda of heat suppliers. RepEx can easily be an afterthought with the impact of installing equipment to future budgets not recognised as early in the process as it should be. With no IHD to maintain and replace, KURVE’s RepEx is already lower than any other solution. Add to this that Kamstrup meters last for 20-years (vs. 5 to 12 years with other meters) and KURVE delivers an average saving of 97% against RepEx over the first 10 years. 

Why KURVE? On average KURVE will save you 60% on CapEx, 20% OpEx and 97% RepEx. In an increasingly inflationary market, these are real and highly sought savings for all stakeholders – developers, landlords, and residents.  

To find out how KURVE can help you, get in touch: [email protected]