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British Gas offers to end estimated energy bills

Customers to text or submit meter readings online


If you pay by direct debit, you underpay in the winter and overpay in summer

British Gas is giving customers the chance to ‘say goodbye to estimated bills’ and submit their own meter readings by text or online with a new service that lets households track their energy usage – available on some, but not all tariff options.

With the EnergySmart service, customers take and submit their own meter readings instead of relying on estimated bills, and are equipped with a free to see how much electricity they’re using, and the cost, in real time.

Customers will also be able to monitor energy consumption over longer periods of time – using online energy tracking tools – to help ‘set targets to reduce your bill’.

Which? magazine editor Martyn Hocking described the news as ‘a sad indictment of the energy industry that the prospect of accurate bills is being heralded as an innovation. Paying for what we’ve actually used is the least we should be able to expect from our energy suppliers’.

Which? has tested energy monitors – you can see the results in our  

Accurate energy bills

The EnergySmart service is available to both new and existing British Gas customers, but is limited to certain tariffs.

  • Standard (gas only, electricity only, dual fuel)
  • OnlineSaver (gas only, electricity only, dual fuel)
  • Track and save 2011 (dual fuel)
  • Zero Carbon (dual fuel)
  • Future Energy (electricity only)

British Gas customers on one of its WebSaver plans, for example, won’t be able to take advantage of the scheme. EnergySmart customers pay on a monthly basis by direct debit or online via a credit or debit card. 

You can compare these energy tariffs with the rest of the market using Which?’s energy comparison service, Which? Switch.

Mr Hocking added: ‘If non-British Gas customers want accurate bills then they should regularly contact their supplier with meter readings and check that their account has been updated.’

British Gas customer panel

British Gas is also inviting its customers to join a new panel that will look at how the energy company is run – and publicly report back their findings.

And in separate news, a new government-backed website, Energymadeclear.co.uk, has been launched by the Money Advice Trust and Energy Retail Association to ensure customers clearly understand their energy choices.

Cut energy costs

Which? Switch can help take the hassle out of changing energy supplier. Compare gas and electricity prices and energy tariffs in a few minutes to find the best deal for you. Those switching with Which? Switch between January 1 and October 21 2009 saved an annual average of £263.

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