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British Gas customers to control heating via text

Trial will let customers contol energy remotely

Texting in EU Thanks to European regulation text prices between EU countries are capped

British Gas is to trial a new system which will allow customers to control their home’s heating and energy remotely – including adjusting heating controls and turning off appliances by text message or online.

The scheme is designed to help British Gas customers better manage their household energy consumption and cut their household carbon emissions and energy bills.

Find out Which? expert advice on how to cut energy bills, saving energy at home and tips on how to use less electricity

Home energy management

The British Gas AlertMe Energy Kit is comprised of ‘smart plugs’ and an automated control system which links up to the internet. The system allows you to monitor the energy consumed by specific appliances in the home as well as calculating the property’s overall energy consumption.

British Gas customers can view their real-time home energy information online or via their mobile phone, and make changes to their heating and energy settings to reduce their bills or to reflect a change to their daily routine.

Remote energy controls

The system includes the ability to override temperature controls remotely so customers can switch the heating on or off if the weather suddenly changes, they plan to arrive home earlier than usual, or forget to turn the heating off while they’re away.

The smart plugs will also enable British Gas customers to turn appliances on or off remotely – protecting against typical accidents like leaving the iron on.

Customers make changes through a secure online service, or by sending a text message from their mobile phone.

Reduce carbon emissions

The scheme could be available to British Gas customers by the end of 2009, ahead of government plans to introduce smart meter technology in every home by 2020.

Gearóid Lane, managing director of British Gas New Energy, said: ‘The introduction of Home Energy Management is an exciting prospect and will help bring the home into the 21st century, saving customers money, and reducing carbon emissions. 

‘And it’s all so simple to use – never again will consumers need to stick their heads into a poorly-lit airing cupboard to struggle with complicated controllers.’

Visit Which?’s greener living section for more on green and environmental issues.

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