A day in the life of... a heat network performance manager

Continuing our series in which we look at the various roles of our staff, we focus on Pelumi Solaru, heat network performance manager in our energy provision service team.

The team is responsible for metering, billing and all services around the heating network with the exception of maintanence and are part of the assets directorate which also manages planned maintenance and responsive repairs, voids, surveying and disrepair.

When and why did you join Notting Hill Genesis?

I joined in 2018 from the private sector where I was working as an energy engineer for commercial clients. What appealed to me about working here was that there was a more of a social aspect to my work.

What is your role?

I’m a heat network performance manager with the energy provision service. A heating network is a communal boiler in part of a building or block as opposed to one you might have within your own property. It’s a cheaper source of energy for residents, with a lower carbon footprint. Residents can monitor how much energy they’re consuming using a heat meter. My role is to make sure the systems are operating as efficiently as possible and performing well. I work with our maintenance contractors who are managed by our compliance team. I also work with our development team to ensure the systems on new build sites are up and running to expectation once the residents move in.

What can a typical day look like?

It varies but typically it involves meeting with our contractors to get updates on their progress as well as looking at data to see where there might be problems or issues with systems and how they can be improved. This information might need to be presented to stakeholders to gain more investment, so I need to think about how to explain it clearly. I also visit new developments and liaise with our mechanical and electrical guardians to look at the work of our contractors. Sometimes I visit residents if there is an unusual issue to resolve.

How has the current lockdown or COVID 19 conditions changed your job?

Well, we work from home now. With site access restricted, the team has focused more on accessing and analysing the data remotely. It has encouraged us to look at things in a different way. As a typical engineer I like to be on the ground, to see how things change and what impact that is having so I’m looking forward to getting back to site visits.

What do you find the most rewarding?
When a scheme has a problem, I like the process of investigating and solving it and making a material change to improve the situation for residents.

What are the frustrations?

Compared with the private sector, we have to take a lot more factors into consideration and adhere to more regulations, which of course is a good thing for residents. There are many more layers involved in running schemes and these can impact other parts of the business. Also, it can be difficult to explain some of the more technical aspects of this fast-moving technology.

What do you do in spare time?

I’ve spent a lot more time with my family this year (who hasn’t?) and I know it’s a cliché but I do like to travel. My passion is fishing which I find very relaxing. The type I like best is big-game fishing where you hire a boat and go into the ocean and fish for marlin, swordfish or tuna and it’s very exciting. The biggest fish I caught was a marlin in Cape Verde.

Is there a situation with a resident that has stayed with you?

There was a lovely elderly resident who was having a unique problem with her HIU (heat interface unit) which we had never encountered before and she’d really struggled with her heating not working. We had to take the HIU apart and replace a small filter. Once this was done, the system improved massively. The lady was so helpful and friendly, offering cups of tea throughout the visit.

One thing you would like residents to know about where you work?

I like to think I can act as a feedback loop between residents and senior management. In my role I engage with residents in their properties but I also deal with senior management regarding technical problems from site visits, which gives me opportunity to explain the situation from ‘on the ground’.

Pelumi was interviewed by one of our involved residents.

See also

A day in the life of a temporary housing negotiator

A day in the life of a community caretaker

A day in the life of a care worker

A day in the life of a housing operations manager

A day in the life of a floating housing officer

A day in the life of a customer service advisor