British Gas: Smart Meters (part 2!)

Your smart meter questions answered

British Gas' energy monitor, the "Pebble" in domestic settings

When will customers get smart meters?

The Government has mandated that all homes in the country will have smart meters (one for electricity and one for gas) installed by the end of 2019. The Government has stipulated that mass roll-out must begin by 2014.

The whole nation will adopt smart metering in the next few years but some suppliers have already started to upgrade their customers.

British Gas is rolling out smart meters now, because, Bryan Halliday, Smart Homes Commercial Director, says: “we are delivering the benefits of smart metering technology to our customers today, offering them a way to better understand their energy usage and make more informed, cost-saving decisions.”

Like many other appliances meters do get old. The lifetime of a meter is expected to be around 10 years, so if your meter is approaching its “retirement” age you are the perfect candidate for a smart meter upgrade.

British Gas have installed over 500,000 smart meters across homes and businesses in the UK. 

Head of Consumer Strategy Fiona McDonagh explains: “the smart journey for British Gas customers starts when one of our agents gets in touch to arrange an appointment at a suitable time for the meter exchange to take place. We like to ensure that our customers know what to expect so we prompt them to read our Smart Meter Customer Charter before the installation”.

How is a smart meter installed?

You will need to be at home for the duration of the appointment. The process is simple and usually doesn’t take longer than an hour and a half.  Engineers are trained to be quick and cause minimal disruption to your home and power supply.

1. An engineer arrives at your home on the date you arranged on the phone with your supplier.

2.Your electricity is turned off for approximately 30 minutes while the meters are exchanged.

3. When exchanging gas meters your gas supply will be turned off for up to an hour to give time to the system to be purified.

4. When the engineer has installed your meters the gas and electricity supply is turned back on and some testing takes place.

With a highly trained team of over 1,200 Smart Energy Experts, British Gas is dedicated to ensuring customers’ smart meters are installed quickly and safely. “We recognise that our customers need to be fully informed on the benefits of having a smart meter and how to make the most of the smart energy monitor that comes with it.

So, during the installation visit we take the time to talk to our customers, explain how to be energy efficient in their homes and we show them how to use their smart energy monitor to track consumption and keep on top of their bills. We also leave a brochure and a quick user guide they can refer to after we’ve left” says John Craig, Director of Metering Operations.

Listen to how these customers used their smart meter to save money on their energy bills:

What happens to my data?

Customers across the country will benefit from smart meters above and beyond just getting an accurate bill. Readings from your smart meters are automatically sent to your energy supplier and they represent a valuable source of information that your supplier can in turn use to provide you with a full array of clever insights such as energy efficiency tips to help you save even more money. Data information from a meter also helps to check it is working effectively and safely so that any faults can be diagnosed and corrected.

Home energy management provider AlertMe has recently agreed to provide a Personalised Energy Efficiency Advice Service to British Gas customers in the UK who have new smart meters. The free service is being tested with up to 10,000 homes during the summer and rolled out widely from the autumn. Via the partnership, data from smart meters will be translated into personalised insights for British Gas customers that could help them to save millions on energy bills every year.

Data security is critical for the success of smart meters which is why energy suppliers have made security a priority. British Gas takes it very seriously: “Smart meters use an encryption which is twice as strong as the encryption used by Internet banking.

Smart meters record readings for each half hour of the day and these are sent to us once every 24 hours. If a customer prefers us to collect fewer readings they can just let us know and we will make sure that we only collect one reading to cover a 24 hour period.”

Something you might not know about smart meters…

Whereas traditional meters only record consumption, smart meters will soon be capable of recording electricity generated in your home.

So, if you decide to embrace renewable energies, such as solar panels or wind turbines to generate your energy at home, smart meters give you the opportunity to measure how much you produce, how much you use of you own energy and the surplus that you can sell back to the grid.

And don’t forget that, should you wish to get an electric car, smart meters will make it is easy for you to be on the most convenient tariff so that charging is optimised: time of use tariffs help you charge a vehicle in the most convenient way.

Join the conversation


  1. David Stock on June 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    How will these meters transmit the collected data….by a premium rate phone number no doubt…?

  2. Eric Robinson on June 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I have a British Gas indicater in my house which gives no information of any use . Have questioned it with no reply. Is it a Smart Meter ?

  3. Maya Robert on June 14, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Hi David,
    Smart meters transmit readings automatically via SMS or GPRS at no cost to the customer. Hope this helps!

  4. britishgasrep on June 14, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Hi David,
    Smart meters transmit readings automatically via sms or GPRS at no cost to the customer.

  5. John on June 24, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I have a smart meter which has only one tariff programmable, but my electricity is a two tariff, that’s not very smart!

  6. Alan H on July 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    The most obvious reason for the installation of Smart meters is Revenue Protection.This department in all utility suppliers is dedicated to preventing power theft which is rife with prices so high.A smart meter will tell the supplier if the supply is tampered with.So all you out there with something to hide,make the most of it ,cuz Big Brother is on the way !

  7. john on July 30, 2012 at 7:47 am

    What they dont tell you is they dont work in many house and can mess up your WiFi.
    It is roumoured they can listen to your WiFi connection.

    The utility can swithch you off when they like and know everything about you.
    A spy in your house.

  8. Louis Heath on July 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    My concern is that my gas meter is in our fitted kitchen. There is access to exchange the meter like for like , or for one with identical connections. However until I see that the meter can be fitted without damaging our new kitchen units, I am refusing to have one fitted.
    It must have the same connections. I also object to an outsider being able to monitor my consumption and potentially limit it.

  9. chris keane on August 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm


  10. m j newlove on August 11, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    how do I get a smart meter

  11. Daver22 on August 23, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Of course what this article doen’t say is that the meters are capable of being remotely switched off so when we run out of generating capacity they can target people to reduce consumption.

    Also if the security of these meters is not totally robust then it will be possible for them to be hacked and any nation state will control your consumption.

  12. EM1 on January 8, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    What a great way for people and companies to spy on us. What will they think of next to help them spy? Talk about big brother is watching. Also be so easy for terrorists to shut down peoples energy and freeze people or cause the meters to give miss readings so that our bills go through the roof and leave people unable to pay their bills and have their gas and electricity shut off. How good will that be in a freezing cold winter?

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