British Gas criticised over smart meter saving claims

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Big six energy supplier British Gas has been accused of exaggerating the amounts customers could save by installing a smart meter.

In the past the energy supplier has claimed that by using a smart meter customers could save up £75 a year, also describing the measure as being 'free'. However, it's now stated that the average saving per household is much lower - around £21 per year - leading to criticism. It's also been admitted that smart meters are being indirectly funded by customers through increased energy bills, according to consumer watchdog, Which?.

Smart meters are designed to allow consumers to closely monitor gas and electricity usage throughout their homes. The information is sent straight to the supplier, allowing them to bill consumers for the amounts they use rather than estimated figures. Some energy suppliers - like British Gas - have already begun offering and installing smart meters, whilst the Government will begin a mass country-wide roll out from 2015.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, stated: "With energy prices one of the top financial concerns for consumers, the government need to keep a tight rein on the smart meter roll-out so that the £12 billion cost doesn't spiral out of control.

"Relying on competition to keep costs in check is simply not credible when it is clear that competition in energy is failing. The success of this programme relies on delivery at the lowest possible cost and making sure that consumers' interests are at its heart," he concluded.

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