British Gas to roll out 60,000 more smart meters to enterprises by end of 2011

By Stuart Sumner
02 Sep 2011 View Comments
An Onzo smart meter

Energy company British Gas expects to roll out 60,000 more smart meters to its business customers before the end of 2011.

This is in addition to the 135,000 smart meters it has already delivered to its largest business customers so far.

Further reading

The announcement follows the company's recent statement of intention to deliver two million smart meters to residential homes by the end of 2012.

Speaking exclusively to Computing, James Colman, head of communication at British Gas Business, explained the difference between residential and enterprise customers, and the extra benefits that smart meters provide to enterprises.

"Top-end enterprise users naturally want more insight into their energy usage," said Colman.

He explained that British Gas offers a service called Energy Bureau to enterprise clients enabling them to drill down into the data produced by their smart meters, allowing them to derive efficiency savings.

"Energy bureau turns energy data into management information. Customers can look at energy usage across different sites.

"They can see which sites are working efficiently and which aren't, and then share best practise from the top performers. The information can be used to engineer behavioural change."

He added that the service remotely monitors customers' energy usage, enabling the company to provide advice on potential power savings, or even directly switch off equipment once it has determined that it isn't needed.

"If equipment is on at a customer site in the middle of the night and we know it shouldn't be, we can turn it off. Or we can see that a retail site hasn't amended its lighting times to take account of shorter opening hours after the Christmas period, and we can let the customer know."

Colman stated that the public sector has proved to be an early adopter of this technology.

"The Home Office and DECC [Department for Energy and Climate Change] have live feeds into large flat-screen dashboards in their offices showing their energy usage.

"These in-building dashboards tend to be in the public sector, as they want to showcase their green credentials."

He said the government's carbon reduction commitment scheme was also proving to be a spur for commercial organisations to install smart meters.

"Some of our custom has been driven by the carbon reduction commitment. This gives companies advantages in terms of government compliance."

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