12/9/2009 11:35:00 AM
Google cuts UK smart meter deal with utility company
Google has secured a deal with energy company First Utility to grab a share of the UK’s growing smart metering market.
The deal allows First Utility customers to remotely manage and monitor their energy use with a smart meter linked via Google to a smartphone, laptop or computer.
First Utility households signing up to a two year contract will be fitted with a free smart meter that sends information to the utility company every 30 minutes, using the mobile phone network.
The utility company sends this data via Google to the customer’s computer or mobile phone in an easy to read format. Google’s service and software are free to the customer.
The deal comes in the wake of Government plans to see 47 million meters in 26 million UK properties by 2020, under a mandatory programme aimed at cutting the UK’s fuel bills by £100m per year.
First Utility’s chief executive, Mark Daeche, said: ‘We can’t as consumers, [make a difference] unless we cut down on our usage. And we can only do that if we see – right in front of our faces – how much energy we are using every day.’
First Utility previously traded as First Telecom and, using its telecoms experience, has pledged to revolutionise an industry that it says suffers from weak customer service and poor practices such as estimated charges. It claims the move will ‘put customers back in control with accurate, transparent billing delivered by smart metering technology’.
The Google PowerMeter service is not exclusive to First Utility customers. Consumers can buy an AlertMe Energy device for £69, and pay a £2.99 per month service charge to access the Google PowerMeter Service.