A Smarter Energy Future

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New technology is radically changing the way people manage energy.

the internet of things

Explore the many different ways our homes are being transformed by the Internet of Things (IoT):

Connected Home

View our interactive Connected Home infographic

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

Wireless technology allows a network of devices to be connected remotely, via the Cloud.  This ‘Internet of Things’ enables ordinary household items to become connected, allowing people greater control over things like energy use.  For example, our Hive Active Heating™ product allows customers to control their heating and hot water from their smartphone.

Read more about how we are innovating to put customers in control.

Smart meters: The end of estimated billing

Smart meters work by sending meter readings directly to the energy supplier, and smart meters installed in homes come with an in-home 'smart energy monitor' to show customers how much energy is being used and how much it's costing in real time.

Smart meters alone will not reduce energy consumption but they can act as a catalyst for behavioral change by making customers aware of the cost of the energy they are using, such as for leaving aTV or lighting and computers turned on.

Transforming the way customers think about and use energy can help them reduce their energy use by as much as 5%, which could save £65* on an annual dual-fuel bill (*Oxford Economics).

Read more about the smart meter revolution.

Smart technology enables ‘Time of Use’ tariffs

In the US, where almost 40% of households have a smart meter, Direct Energy has been able to offer new tariffs which reward customers in certain states for switching their energy usage to periods when demand is lower.  More than 70,000 customers have taken advantage of electricity plans such as ‘Free Power Saturday’ giving them the choice to do energy intensive household tasks, such as using the washing machine, on free energy days to help cut energy costs. 

These ‘time of use’ plans also have wider benefits for energy security and low carbon by cutting the overall demand on the grid at peak times and therefore reducing the need to turn on additional power plants (often gas-fired) to meet peak demand.

Find out more about peak demand.

The ‘Smart Grid’: everything connected

Smart meters are just the starting point in what will be a major upgrade of the UK’s entire energy chain. The endpoint in this journey is the 'smart grid', where the entire grid is intelligently swapping real-time information about its operations to optimise performance and reduce demand. 

The smart grid enables customers not only to take electricity from the network to run their homes and businesses, but also to put any excess energy they generate back into the system, enabling a more reliable, less constrained, safer and more efficient energy grid.

British Gas is part of a project to create a smarter powergrid, giving customers more choice in how they use and generate electricity and meeting the challenges of future energy demand. 

Find out more about the Smart Grid

Distributed Energy Explained
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Smart technology supports the development of renewable energy

The smart grid supports micro-generation - by helping to manage the generation and distribution of energy more cost-effectively and enabling the use of low carbon generation such as wind and solar.

Smart meters capture the measurement of energy produced locally and exported to the grid, allowing suppliers to make payments to homes and businesses for the energy produced, and informing networks and generators of the local generation coming on to the grid.

The key advantage here is avoiding the transmission losses inherent in the network system which can be up to 10%.

Providing knowledge for investment

Major changes in the way we generate and consume electricity in the future – e.g. large scale wind, charging and discharging electric vehicles at home or at work (allowing virtual electricity storage) – requires sophisticated knowledge of when and where electricity is being generated and consumed, together with investment in new and strengthened network infrastructure.

Smart meters will provide local consumption information to help optimise network and generator minute-to-minute and day-to-day operations, and planning. This will be crucial when integrating new renewable generation onto the grid, to cope for example with intermittency in some of the renewable generation technologies like wind and solar, and also manage the new loads and consumption patterns from expected moves to wider use of electric vehicles.

British Gas
Smart Meter Revolution
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Innovating to Provide More Choice
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Helping Customers With Their Energy Bills