Smart meters could provide significant savings

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Woman keeping warm in winter

A handy household device could save homeowners up to £65 a year according to utility companies.

Smart meters have been widely used in Italy for almost a decade, but many people in the UK are still totally oblivious to them - despite Government plans to roll them out nationwide by 2019.

The devices could complement such schemes as the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which many energy suppliers currently partake in, as they present more ways for households to save money on their gas and electricity bills.  Smart meters tell consumers the exact amount of energy they use and when - allowing them to manage their usage more effectively and also reduce emissions.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has backed a target to install smart meters in all British homes by 2019.

At an estimated cost of around £11.5 billion the programme will require visits to be made to every home and many businesses - in order to fulfill the main target of replacing around 53 million gas and electricity meters.

Italy became the first country in Europe to roll out smart meters in 2001 when Enel invested €2 billion in a programme, with the specific aim of replacing traditional meters with modern electronic devices over a five-year period.

Thus far Centric, the operator of British Gas, has made the most progress in introducing smart meters in the UK, but others are beginning to follow.

The firm has already installed over 400,000 meters. It also announced back in October (2012) that it would be hiring upwards of 1,000 extra staff members to help out with the mass roll-out of the devices, which is set to commence in 2014.

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