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British Gas to roll out smart meters across Britain


British Gas will be rolling out smart meters to homes across Britain following today’s announcement by the Government that energy suppliers will be responsible for the installation and maintenance of the new technology.

British Gas has the largest smart meter trial in the country with 50,000 smart meters installed. The company is poised to begin the roll-out across Britain and help households use less energy, cut carbon emissions and save money.

The Government’s decision means that British Gas will be able to create a new metering business unit of 2,600 new jobs by 2012. The company’s new ‘smart energy experts’ will lead the roll-out of smart meter technology for British Gas, and help customers with the best energy efficiency advice in their homes.

Replacing the UK’s 47 million ‘dumb’ gas and electricity meters with new smart meters, which offer real-time cost information on screen in the home, will help households ‘see and save’, as they find ways to use appliances at cheaper off-peak times. Smart meters will also help bring a transformation in customer service with an end to estimated bills, and having to wait at home for meter readings to take place.

Early results from a sample of residential customers from the British Gas smart meter trial show the vast majority (85%) find the new meters and home display easy to use. And nearly 75% of respondents say smart meters and home displays have made them more aware of the energy they use.

Phil Bentley, Managing Director of British Gas, said: "At British Gas, we have the largest smart meter trial in the country. Our customers have told us they’re finding smart meters and display units easy to use, and that they’re helping them be more aware of how they use energy - and how they can save it.

"We’re delighted the Government is moving forward with its plans for the roll-out of this technology throughout Britain. This will be the single biggest revolution in energy use since British Gas converted all the nation’s homes to natural gas in the 1970s.

"We are moving forward with the recruitment of our smart energy experts, who will install smart meters and help our customers make the most of them, reducing the amount of energy they use, cutting carbon emissions and saving money.

“We are committed to making our customers’ homes the greenest in Europe, and to creating skilled, green jobs in Britain. The Government’s announcement today allows us to do both, and we welcome it.”

The 2,600 skilled jobs to be created by the roll-out of smart meters will include 2,100 smart energy experts working “in the field”, 400 supporting team members and 100 managerial staff.

As well as installing smart meters, British Gas smart energy experts will be able to:

* Advise customers on the range of tariffs available, such as time-of-use tariffs, which reward customers for using energy at off-peak times
* Give tailored advice on measures that could cut energy use, such as insulation
* Help customers learn about ways of generating their own energy
* Provide advice to customers on the installation and maintenance of the low-carbon microgeneration technologies of the future


Notes to editors

1. Case study

Robin and Jane Davies were given a smart meter by British Gas as part of its Green Streets campaign, a year-long programme of energy savings. Robin and Jane live on Green Street in Middleton, Manchester with their two teenage sons, Thomas and Callum. By participating in Green Streets, the Davies family managed to reduce their energy use by more than 15%. Robin believes that without the smart meter the family would not have made such considerable savings or been able to stay so motivated throughout the competition.

Robin says: “I flick on our energy monitor every day to compare our usage with the average from the previous month. Being able to compare is useful and helps us keep track of our bills.”

The Davies family are available for interview.

Smart meter trial

* British Gas has the largest trial of smart meters in the country with 50,000 installed smart meters.
* The sample results quoted in the press release are taken from a sample of 320 residential smart meter customers who are part of British Gas’s smart meter trial; customers were interviewed in early October 2009


* British Gas plans to create a new metering business unit of approximately 2,600 new roles within the company by 2012 as a result of the smart meter roll-out
* The 2,600 will include: 2,100 smart energy experts working “in the field”; 400 supporting team members; and 100 managerial staff
* Of the 2,100 smart energy experts 1,200 of these jobs are new jobs for the country as a whole; and it is expected that the remaining 900 new recruits will be people who transfer to British Gas from existing third party metering organisations

The future of smart meters

* Smart metering technology will support the take-up of low carbon and renewable microgeneration technologies in homes and businesses
* Smart meters will also pave the way for other developments to improve the way we generate and distribute energy. Increased data availability will provide key information to a ‘smart grid’, designed to optimise energy use across the UK


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