British Gas smart meter rollout tablets

British Gas, one of the UK’s big six energy suppliers, launched a publicity campaign this week to generate more consumer interest in smart meters and their benefits.

The Smart Meter Challenge will present the results of 15 homes as the homeowners try to be more energy efficient using smart meter technology.

British Gas teamed with research agency The Futures Company, which helped formulate the challenge and interpret the results of how meters are being used and their impact on energy consumption and control.

What is the challenge?

Every week, each of the 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.

Counter attack

The campaign comes as energy companies like British Gas are keen to promote the benefits of the technology to counter UK watchdogs and consumer groups as they push for answers on who will pay for meters.

Officials from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, when questioned by the UK House of Commons public accounts committee earlier this month, admitted that the cost of smart meters – equivalent to GBP 220 per unit – would largely be passed to consumers through a levy on bills.