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National Grid unveils ‘smartest’ smart meters yet

New smart meters can turn off appliances remotely

OnStream smart meter

New smart meters that can turn appliances on and off remotely will ‘revolutionise consumers’ energy use’, says the company behind the new meters.

The smart meters, developed by National Grid’s metering business OnStream, can communicate with similarly equipped ‘smart’ appliances to turn them on and off remotely using wireless Bluetooth technology. The smart meters could help consumers reduce energy bills by running home appliances, such as washing machines and , at times when energy is cheapest.

Our review of smart meters and energy monitors explains smart meter technology and recommends Best Buy energy monitors. You can also find out the most energy-efficient Best Buy appliances Which? has tested in our energy-saving appliances review.

Gas smart meters

The new smart meters are also the first standalone models for both electricity and gas. Previously, smart gas meters still relied on electricity meters to transmit information, but National Grid’s new models can operate independently.

The new National Grid smart meters also have a roaming SIM so they can pick up the strongest nearby mobile network to transmit energy usage information to energy companies from any location, rather than being restricted to one mobile network.

OnStream director Sharon Rodriguez said: ‘Smart meters and smart grids will be a key part of Britain’s energy future. Our new meters are a major breakthrough in the technology, and a significant development towards making smart grids a reality.

‘It offers our customers – the energy suppliers – a significant step forward in both technology and service.’

Cut your energy bills

The new electricity and gas smart meters will be tested in 2,000 homes this summer, in conjunction with energy suppliers Npower and Scottish and Southern Energy, which supplies energy through brands Southern Electric, Swalec, Scottish Hydro and Atlantic.

The government plans for every UK home to have a smart meter. The roll-out of smart meters is due to start in 2012 and be completed by 2020.

For energy efficiency tips, take a look at Which? guides to using less electricity and buying energy-saving products in our suite of guides.

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You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.

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