U.K. energy minister supports smart meters

London, July 23, 2012 — Charles Hendry, the Minister of State for Energy, enthusiastically backed plans for the introduction of smart meters on a national scale.

With a mass-roll out of smart meters planned to begin in 2014, Hendry wrote in a recent blog post published on the Department of Energy and Climate Change website that he believed that "smart gas and electricity meters will play a key role in bringing our energy management into the 21st century."

Small electronic devices that can easily be fitted into the home, smart meters are designed to supply energy providers with accurate and continuous data on energy usage by transmitting this information on a signal similar to that of a mobile phone. This gives the energy companies an accurate meter reading from which they can charge the consumer for their precise usage.

This means that bills are no longer based on estimates or on the infrequent visits of technicians, considerably streamlining the process. Additionally, many smart meters feature displays that can show consumers in simple terms how much energy they are using, and how much it is costing them.

It also allows consumers who are attempting to reduce their costs to see the impact of any energy saving measures that they are taking, and make the most of deals offering the cheapest electricity prices.

Hendry highlighted many of the benefits that will come through using smart meters, identifying that they will "bring benefits for consumers, giving us more control over how we use our energy at home and at work, helping us to cut energy consumption save money and reduce carbon emissions. Smart meters will provide accurate consumption information and bring an end to estimated billing — so no more nasty surprises for consumers — and will make switching between suppliers smoother and faster."

The energy companies are providing the meters directly to consumers, so if your supplier is British Gas, you will be offered the chance to have a British Gas electricity and gas smart meter installed in your home.

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