After a rollercoaster few years, utility innovator Flow Systems is back under the new name, Altogether Group and looking to carve out more of the market in NSW and Queensland.
Having formerly operated as an amalgamation of Flow Systems, Flow Utilities and Meter2Cash Solutions, chief executive and founder of Flow Systems Terry Leckie said the rebranding reflected the company’s big ambitions.
“We currently provide electricity, gas, hot water and potable water embedded network services to over 25,000 customers through our local teams in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sydney. Our vision is to increase this to 100,000 within the next three years,” Leckie said.
Flow systems entered voluntary administration in 2019, when then majority shareholder Brookfield failed to find a buyer as it intended, however, under the continued guidance of Leckie the company found its feet the following year with funding from asset management company H.R.L. Morrison and Co.
Now, Altogether Group employs 80 people with plans for substantial growth over the coming years.
Leckie said the company was forging ahead working with strata and building managers, body corporates, developers and communities to offer utility services tailored to customers’ unique needs.
“We look at the configuration of that community and where we can reduce their demand and so we become their sort of energy advisor as well as their retailer,” Leckie explained.
“We assist them to manage their demand, to spread out their load and therefore lower their cost and demand on the network.”
As well as currently providing services for over 400 communities in NSW and Queensland, Flow was responsible for several high-profile sustainability initiatives it has continued to service under the new company name.
These included a landmark recycled water system at Sydney’s Central Park and efficient embedded energy networks for iconic Queensland high-rises, Brisbane Skytower, Q1 and Southport Central.
Altogether Group’s executive manager of energy, Drew McKillican explained, “by replacing manually read meters with smart meters and automation, Q1 Resort & Spa has removed the unpredictability in utility pricing now and into the future.”
“User pay utility services help to lower existing strata fees and make it easy for residents to ensure they are in better control over their usage whilst getting the best price available. Electricity is purchased in bulk at the tower’s gate meter and potential savings are shared with our customers.”
“Altogether’s air conditioning solution chills water centrally allowing the system to function more efficiently and bills to reflect each customer’s use. Residents also benefit from embedded gas services and a new hot water plant to replace ageing systems.”
Leckie said the company’s main customer base was high rise residential and mixed use apartments, with roughly half opting to purchase both water and energy from Altogether, although energy is the main growth area he says.
One of the issues with conventional embedded networks, according to Leckie, is the onus on building owners’ groups to manage changing regulatory compliance requirements, which requires reliance on suppliers.
“When we become a retailer directly with those customers, so the retail model rather than the agency model, then those customers are supported,” he said.
Additionally, during Covid, Leckie said that due to its configuration Altogether had been able to provide payment holidays to those customers who struggled from the impact of the pandemic.
“Our customers have continued to receive essential services without fail and we have looked after those who have been doing it tough,” he said.
“The business is in pretty good shape following a year of floods, pandemic, and economic turmoil. Our people are safe and strong and we continue to add good people to our extended family.”