British Gas claims to be rolling out the world’s most advanced smart meter, less than a week after it and other energy companies were told that they will have to remove early smart meters.
Smart meters for gas and electricity will be rolled out across Great Britain in a government programme due to begin in 2014 and finish in 2019.
But in the meantime some energy companies, including British Gas, have been installing their own smart meters.
Removing early smart meters
Some of these early smart meters are not compliant with provisional government technical specifications. The government had considered allowing energy companies to leave these non-compliant early smart meters in place beyond the end of the national rollout in 2019.
Which? opposed this, and so welcomes the government’s decision that all smart meters must be compliant by 2019 and any non-compliant ones must be removed.
This means British Gas will have to remove many of the hundreds of thousands of smart meters it has installed so far, as will other energy companies that have started installing smart meters.
Which? is calling on the government to stop this early rollout of smart meters and review the smart meter programme to make sure its costs are well controlled.
The government has also recently banned sales during smart meter installations, something Which? had campaigned for.
New British Gas smart meters
The new British Gas smart meters allow the energy company to update and upgrade the meter remotely, without visiting.
The other key difference, highlighted by British Gas to Which?, is its ability to switch the meter remotely between pre-payment and credit modes.
The smart meter comes with an in-home display, as smart meters commonly do. This display shows you your electricity consumption in different time segments and uses a traffic light system to show when you are using a lot of electricity.
If you want to get a better understanding of your energy usage, and can’t wait for a smart meter, you may consider using an energy monitor.
Smart meters are more sophisticated than energy monitors as they accurately measure how much gas or electricity you are using and communicate this to your energy supplier, which will mean an end to estimated bills.
However, energy monitors give you a good indication of how much electricity you are using.
Energy monitors do not replace your existing meter, but clip onto a power cable. We have tested energy monitors and have five Best Buys we recommend.
- Tell us about your energy supplier or any issues you have with energy
- Read our free guide to getting the most from your energy monitor
- Smart meters and energy monitors explained shows you the differences