British Gas Smart Meter Roll Out Begins
A new deal has been signed between British Gas and Landis+Gyr that is estimated to deploy smart meters for their customers over the next few years.
The original government target was to have smart meters installed in all homes by 2020 but this new British Gas smart meter roll out is planned to have the meters installed in up to 2 million homes by 2012 — far ahead of the targets set by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
New jobs and massive investment
The total investment by British Gas in its smart meter programme is estimated to be worth about £200 million and create around 2,600 engineering installation jobs around the UK. The plan is to have around 1 million smart meters installed over the next 12 months by fitting these instead of standard meters when faulty meters need to be replaced in any case. British Gas have also partnered with Vodafone to transmit the data the meters collect and SAP for the billing systems.
The government had announced that they wanted smart meters installed for every home in the UK by 2020 with the first installations not anticipated to be installed before 2012 so this is a massive kick start to the whole process. British Gas in any case replaced around 850,000 faulty meters each year so for them it’s an exercise to bring the nation’s meters up to date just by replacing old ones with new technically advanced systems.
What will a smart meter do for you ?
A smart meter is different from energy monitors in that they automatically collect data from a home owners electricity and gas usage and wirelessly transmit the data back to the energy company’s billing systems. This data can be collected every 30 minutes or so which means a meter will never have to be manually read again leading to 100% accurate and up to date bills.
The data that’s collected can then be analysed by the home owner either on their online account or other various software applications. It’s then estimated that by seeing how usage figures vary that most homes should be able to save at least 3% on their total energy costs. Studies in the US where smart meters are installed have showed savings of around 10% in come circumstances.
Each smart meter costs around £340 to be installed but this cost will effectively be taken on by British Gas. They are also developing this system as open source so all the other major energy companies can use the technology. This is great news for people who regularly switch their energy supplier so they can continue to use the data from their meter.