Touch-screen energy displays for British Gas homes

Stylish touch-screen displays showing households how much energy they are using - helping control bills and save money - rolled out to British Gas customers'

From next month, stylish touch-screen displays showing households how much energy they are using - helping them control their bills and save money - will be rolled out to British Gas customers' homes (1).

The energy displays are the first of a new generation which are small, stylish, fully portable and, by linking directly to smart electricity and gas meters, capable of showing detailed information of a customer's energy use in pounds and pence in real time.

Customers will be able to compare their gas and electricity use by the hour, day, week and year. They will be able to set their own energy targets and a traffic light system will warn households when they are using large amounts of electricity.

The new energy display - developed for British Gas by global smart metering leader, Landis+Gyr - will be rolled out to homes at the same time as British Gas's next generation smart meter. Installations will begin next month.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, smart meters can help households save up to 10% on their bills - a cash saving of £105 a year (2).

Use of smart meters and displays will mean that customers will only pay for the energy they use and will no longer get estimated bills. The meters will help customers unlock new technologies such as solar panels and fully electric cars.

All UK homes will be fitted with a smart meter by 2019. British Gas already has the largest roll-out of smart meters with nearly 400,000 in homes and businesses across the UK. The new next generation smart meter has a number of upgraded systems designed to help British Gas customers to be the most informed and empowered energy users in the country. Customers will receive their smart meter as part of a phased roll out across the country.

Dean Keeling, Managing Director of British Gas Smart Homes, said:

"We want people to understand the energy they use and make informed choices about when to use it and how to save it. The new smart meters and energy displays are the foundations for doing this. That's why we're rolling out these user-friendly, sleek display units to British Gas homes."

- What the energy displays and smart meters will bring to customers' homes:

Current energy usage -Allow customers visibility of their electricity and gas consumption, including costs in pounds and pence in real time. This means consumers can accurately manage their energy use and make changes according to their budget.

Previous energy usage -Showing this in half hour slots or daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal or even annual breakdowns. This means that consumers can compare their energy usage month on month and year on year, and make changes to their energy consumption habits as appropriate.

Setting realistic targets -The innovative and interactive touch screen display enables customers to set a user profile based on a few simple questions about their property, such as, the number of rooms, property type and number of residents. This allows the customer to budget their energy consumption against realistic and relevant targets.

Tariff information -Customers will be able to see full and accurate information on their tariff via the energy display screen.

Renewable energy data -If households have a energy generating technology in the home - such as solar panels - then they will be able to use their energy display to view how much energy they are generating. As with overall usage figures and cost this can be displayed in both real time and as a historical breakdown.

No more estimated bills or meter readings -Smart meters will automatically send customers' meter readings to British Gas, meaning an end to meter reads and estimated bills. Customers will be billed for their exact use - eliminating any surprises.


(1) The Government has mandated the roll out of smart meters to all homes by 2019. The touch screen display unit is the in-home display unit chosen by British Gas that will accompany the initial phase of new smart meter installations.

(2) The Energy Saving Trust say that, according to trials in the US and Sweden, smart meters can reduce household energy bills by 5-10 per cent. A 10% saving from the average standard energy bill (direct debit) is £105

(3) British Gas has brought together six world-leading companies, all experts in their own fields, to assemble its smart meter system. The partner companies include: mobile phone giant, Vodafone; billing systems leader, SAP; software and communications firm, OSIsoft, global communications and software company, Trilliant; and global smart meter manufacturer, Landis+Gyr. The Zigbee Smart Energy global wireless home area network standard will be used to link up the in-home devices.

Headline details of the next generation smart meter and energy display are below:

Wide Area Network

GPRS sends data back to British Gas

Home Area Network

Uses Zigbee standard network to communicate. Consumers will therefore be able to attach other devices to the smart metering network to extract data and control other appliances in their home.


Full Public Key Encryption (PKI)

Comms hub

Modular comms hub separate to either meter

Allows different comms hubs to be used or meters to be changed without comms hub being changed

In-home display

Touch screen and colour.

Meter firmware

Over the Air (OTA) capability allowing remote software upgrade or fixes of firmware. This ensures that the meter can stay on the wall for as long as possible, reducing disruption for customers.


The meter is being developed to comply with emerging industry standards facilitated by DECC (Industry Extended Statement of Design Requirements)