British Gas have launched a new service allowing customers to control their central heating remotely. The system, which works via a laptop, mobile, smartphone or iPad, enables users to switch on their heating before they get home or switch it off if they are staying away longer than planned.
British Gas has suggested the new initiative could save households around £140 a year on their energy bills. However, while the initiative is a welcome addition to fight against escalating energy bills, it’s not without cost says Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch:
“With energy prices rocketing by some £730 since 2004, many consumers have been left feeling that they have no control over their bills.
“This innovative tool provides them with the means to make substantial savings and will suit those who live a particularly hectic lifestyle.
“However, with a hefty installation fee – £199 for customers not getting a new boiler fitted – it’s not going to pay for itself for over a year so people need to be sure that they will engage with the new system before stumping up the cost. It will also only suit those with a mobile phone or computer and it won’t be of benefit to those who are planning to move house in the next year as it will remain fixed to a household boiler.
“But those who really use it could enjoy some good savings in the long term and it will encourage them to get more engaged with their energy usage and bills. However, it remains to be seen whether or not cash-strapped consumers will be prepared to make this investment in these difficult financial times.”
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