The deal forms part of the government’s ambitious plan for a smart meter – which automatically sends gas and electricity usage readings back to the energy supplier – to be installed in every UK home by 2020, spelling an end to estimated billing.
British Gas managing director Chris Weston told the Daily Telegraph the meters should “transform the way people think about and use energy”, encouraging them to reduce usage by as much as 5pc, which would save £65 off an annual dual fuel bill.
The company, owned by FTSE 100 energy giant Centrica, says the meters could also reduce the strain on Britain’s power grid by enabling new tariffs that reward customers for shifting their usage to times of lower national demand. It is already trialling a ‘Free Power Saturdays’ tariff for launch next year.
However, critics have warned that consumers face higher bills to pay for the £12.1bn costs of Britain’s smart metering rollout, and have raised fears over data and privacy.
The programme will provide customers with a monitor display in their home showing real-time usage, while readings from the new electronic meters will be sent to suppliers daily.