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British Gas to begin roll out of millions of smart meter displays

Energy efficiency news – by GreenWise staff
31st August 2011
British Gas has announced that it will begin the roll out of new energy displays and 'next generation' smart meters to millions of its residential customers from September, ahead of the Government's planned mass roll out to begin in 2014.
The portable touch-screen energy displays and new smart meters for electricity and gas will be supplied to householders free of charge and will be capable of showing in real time detailed information of a customer’s energy use, including cost, British Gas said. They are advanced versions of display and smart meters the company has been deploying in homes through a deal first signed a year and half ago with global smart meter company Landis+Gyr. British Gas said the smart meters and displays could on average cut householders’ energy bills by £105 a year.

Under Government regulations, energy suppliers must ensure all homes have smart meters and energy displays installed by 2019. The Government has announced a mass roll out of smart meters to the UK’s 30 million homes and businesses will begin in 2014. British Gas, which has 10 million residential customers, said it was rolling the new smart meters and energy displays out now so people could make "informed choices" about when to use their energy and how to save it.

"The new smart meters and energy displays are the foundations for doing this. That’s why we’re rolling out these user-friendly, sleek display units to British Gas homes," Dean Keeling, managing director of British Gas Smart Homes, said.

Energy price hikes
British Gas is one of the 'Big Six’ energy companies that recently announced a price hike in its electricity and gas bills. A spokesperson for the company, however, said the company was not passing on the cost of installing smart meters to its customers and that recent price increases on domestic bills were purely down to changes in the cost of wholesale gas and electricity.

"There is no need for us to pass on the cost [of the smart meter and display roll out] to our customers as it saves us money too as we will no longer need to send out estimated bills. We can pass those savings onto our customers," he said.

Energy efficiency features
According to British Gas, as well as doing away with estimated energy bills, the new smart meters and energy displays will include a number of new features to help customers better manage their energy and reduce their bills. Features will include a breakdown of electricity and gas consumption, data on past usage, information on customer tariffs and a traffic light system to warn householders when they are using a large amount of electricity. There will also be renewable energy data for those householders that have green technologies, such as solar panels, installed in their homes. The smart meters and energy displays are being supplied by Landis+Gyr.

Research by the Energy Saving Trust estimates smart meters can help households save up to 10 per cent on their bills and British Gas has calculated this could add up to a cash saving of £105 a year on average for its customers.

British Gas has already installed 400,000 smart meters in customers homes and aims to have smart meters and energy displays installed in two million of its customers homes by the end of the 2012.

Business customers
British Gas said it was also rolling out smart meters to business customers, but would not be rolling out energy displays to this market. "Small businesses tells us they want a different solution," the spokesperson said.

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