Apps can be a very effective way of reaching consumers and keeping them engaged.
Recent Ofcom research showed that two thirds of people in the UK now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.
One company leading by example is British Gas, which is trialling an innovative new app that displays real-time energy use via smartphone.
The trial of the free app allows customers with a smart meter to see how much they are spending on energy anywhere, at any time. Customers who use the “my energy live” app can see the exact cost of the gas and electricity they are using, in pounds and pence, via a live feed display on their smartphone.
British Gas launched the trial in Bristol last month and plans to extend it nationwide later this year. Any customer upgrading to a smart meter will be able to choose between having the app or the physical in-home display.
According to the energy company, the app allows customers to see how much their home appliances are costing, gives a predicted daily energy spend and total of how much energy is being used by day, week or month.
One Bristol resident who has been testing the app said that she was using it to gain more insight into her family’s energy use and see where savings could be made.
She commented: “Since I began to use my energy live, I’ve got more clarity about my energy use. The app allows me to monitor the energy we’re using simply by looking at my phone. It gives us a starting point and from there we can work out ways of lowering our energy use.
“The best example of this is when I use the tumble dryer. Through the app I can now keep an eye on how much energy it is using in pounds and pence, and therefore decide how much I want to spend on that particular chore. Another thing it’s really useful for, is if I’m at home on my own and can see that there’s a spike in usage. As it’s portable, I can walk around the house, phone in hand and see what’s been left on and go and switch it off.”
Matthew Wright, a smart energy expert at British Gas, said: “Customers with smart meters can see exactly how much energy they’re using, almost as they use it; it also means an end to meter readings and estimated bills.”
By the end of 2020, around 50 million smart meters will be fitted in over 26 million households across England, Scotland and Wales. British Gas has already installed more than 1.4 million smart meters in customers’ homes.
this kind of consumer engagement has long been identified as crucial to the success of Smart Meters.” – David Ferris, Partner
Tags: Smart meters