Vodafone UK has won a contract to support British Gas in the roll out of smart metering in the UK. The exact value has not been released, but the ‘multi-million pound’ contract will see the company provide nearly a million GPRS connections within household utility meters to send real-time energy use data back to British Gas.
The announcement focuses in on the convenience as the main benefit. Customers will no longer need to be in attendance for someone to read their meter, since bills will be automatically generated from the data sent back by the meter. But this is the first stage of a process to enable customers to be much more aware of energy use in real time, with the potential to adjust usage accordingly. Combined with differential tariffs in the future, it’s seen as an effective way to reduce energy use and hence emissions.
In December the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced its programme for the implementation of smart meters in the UK. The plan is that all homes will have smart gas and electricity meters, supplied by their energy suppliers, by the end of 2020. That’s 47 million meters in 26 million properties at a cost of £8.6bn. This British Gas/Vodafone contract is a trial.