Smart meter training UK centre

UK energy company British Gas has released the results of week two of  its latest public awareness campaign – the Smart Meter Challenge.

The campaign by the one of the UK’s big six energy companies has been drastically overshadowed, however, as the national press have run with the findings of the Public Accounts Committee’s review of the UK’s smart meter preparations.

The report compiled by MPs and Ofgem expresses the concern that in-home displays, the very basis of British Gas’s Smart Meter Challenge, may have be redundant technology by the time the full rollout is complete.

Positive engagement

The feedback from the 15 families taking part in the challenge are however positive, and do show that among this sample of the British public, energy monitors coupled with a smart meter are prompting the kind of customer engagement needed to make the deployment a success.

This week, British Gas tasked participants with a challenge around the kitchen. They were presented with a series of tips and asked to select three, reporting on whether doing them for the week made a difference to energy consumption in their home.

Small changes, big difference

All the families found the tips easy to apply and adapt as they were small and manageable – for example putting lids on pans to conserve energy, washing clothing at 30 degrees instead of 40, and turning the thermostat on the hot water down

Some of the families created their own tips to help them control their energy use even more – a favourite trick is to keep a mug by the kettle so you always know how much water you need to boil for a cuppa

Other families were starting to think about longer term changes they could make to their home – for example fitting LED lights and fitting more energy efficient appliances when boilers and washing machines need replacing

What is the challenge?

Every week, 15 households will record their experiences. The challenges aim to test:
  • attitudes towards energy use and how people think about energy consumption in the context of other activities and spend
  • where and how people use gas and electricity, and how having smart meters helps them have more control
  • the impact of a ‘digital detox’; switching off all entertainment and communication devices, to see what difference this makes on energy use and family life.

British Gas hopes to generate consumer interest by sharing updates on the challenge on its website and on Twitter under #smartmeterchallenge.

Read more: British Gas Smart Meter Challenge: week one in blogs