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British Gas claims smart meters will save £14bn

Is it too good to be true?

A new report from British Gas that looks at the costs and benefits of the smart meter rollout says that it could save the nation £14 billion by 2030.

That’s a huge saving, but how realistic is it?

According to the report, while the rollout of smart meters to all premises in the UK will cost £11.5 billion, it will also generate savings of:

  • £11.2 billion for homes and businesses by promoting energy efficiency;
  • £10.7 billion for energy suppliers by giving them extra data which will help them run things more efficiently;
  • £3.2 billion in generation-related savings, because we will have a more accurate idea about how much energy we need to generate and when.

British Gas estimates that businesses alone will be able to reduce their energy usage by 5% – saving £2.2 billion by 2030.

These are interesting numbers, and we’re certainly not able to question the way they are calculated. However, we would argue that they gloss over something very important: smart meters themselves don’t save you any money.

We won’t achieve these savings by just installing smart meters in every home and business.

If we are to see these savings, then we need to be proactive and look at the data our smart meters give us and use it to identify where we are wasting energy, then change our habits accordingly.

If smart meters are to live up to their potential, then we need more education on interpreting and acting on smart meter data.

The report alludes to this fact, referencing smart meter trials from British Gas and the Carbon Trust which have found that on-site visits and tailored advice maximise energy savings.

Visit our guides on smart meters, energy efficiency and the future of business energy to understand more. But like anything, benefits only come through hard work and application and the smart meter is simply a conduit to this and not the end result.


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