Households to test 'smart' electricity metersNationwide trial aims to cut household bills

13 July 2007

Thousands of households across the country are to test state of the art 'smart meters' as part of an initiative to cut household energy bills.

Around 15,000 households will receive the meters which will tell people about their energy use  - and how much it costs – through linked display units or through TVs and computer screens.

A further 8,000 more homes will receive clip on real time display units for their existing meters.

These will tell them how much energy they are using, and how much it is costing when individual appliances are turned on.

Climate change

Business and Enterprise Secretary John Hutton said: ‘Changing consumer habits is vital if we are to cut our energy use and reduce the impact of climate change.

'Smart meters provide the cutting edge technology to enable this to happen. The results of the trials will provide invaluable evidence to support the future rollout of displays and smart meters; helping to cut consumer bills and cut our carbon emissions.’

Contracts have been signed with EDF Energy, E.ON UK, Scottish and Southern Energy, and Scottish Power to conduct the £20 million trials, which will be jointly funded by the power companies and the government.

The trials will be conducted throughout the country and will look at the responses from a range of customers, including those in fuel poverty.

Fuel poverty

Smart meters are expected to be rolled out to most households within the next ten years, and all but the smallest businesses in the next five years.

The government has proposed that real time display units be provided with any new meters fitted from 2008, and to all households that request them between 2008-2010.

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People using the Switch with Which? service can save on average £245* a year by changing their energy supplier(s).

* Average saving made on gas and electricity bills by UK households in 2006, using the Switch with Which? website.