Over 80% of customers prefer using British Gas’s mobile app to top up their Smart Pay As You Go meters, according to a recent survey among those trialling the supplier’s new smart meter prepayment technology. The survey also found that 91% have a better or similar overall experience of using Smart Pay As You Go compared with their old meters, and 80% would recommend the service to a friend or family member.
The UK’s largest energy provider now has over 9000 customers using Smart Pay As You Go, including more than 1000 in London, whom British Gas says are among the first in the country to benefit from the convenience of being able to top up their gas and electricity online or by smartphone. “With the colder winter weather on its way, people will be able to top up from home, rather than going to a local shop,” said British Gas Smart Energy Expert Lauren Vasquez, who installs smart meters in homes across the capital.
According to other new research from British Gas, most Londoners using prepayment gas or electricity meters already go online to pay for bills, shopping, home entertainment and banking, with 94% of those surveyed doing so.
More than half (59%) also said that prepayment meters help them budget better, while almost a third (31%) said prepayment meters help prevent them from getting into debt.
With smart metering, customers can keep track of their consumption and balances more easily than with traditional meters. All Britons receiving smart meters are also given a smart energy monitor, which they can keep in a convenient place in the home. The monitor shows how much energy they’re using in pounds and pence, as well as how much credit is remaining. This means customers no longer have to look at the meters themselves, which are often located outside or in hard-to-reach areas in the home.
Samantha Antoine, a student from London, had Smart Pay As You Go meters installed in February. She said: “I’ve been more conscious of what electricity I am using. I need just to unplug stuff to save more money. I am finding that I’m using less, so the more that I unplug, or switch off, the more I’m saving. Whereas before, I never used to, because I didn’t know what I was using, it didn’t really register, but now it does.”
British Gas has installed more than 1.7 million smart meters across Britain. By 2020, smart meters will be rolled out as standard across the nation.
Other suppliers launching mobile apps for smart prepay
British Gas is not the only supplier to be adding a smartphone app to the range of options available to smart prepayment customers for tracking their consumption and recharging their balances.
- Utilita, most of whose 250,000 customers are dual-fuel prepayment households using smart meters, launched its mobile app in November 2015. [Updated 13/11/15]
- OVO Energy is heavily promoted its Smart PAYG+ plan, which targets customers who want top up and manage their energy from their smartphones. The supplier has recently published research highlighting how much time Britons spend topping up and the time-saving and convenience benefits of switching to a smarter prepayment service.
- E.ON’s Smart Pay As You Go pilot, involving up to 30,000 customers during 2015, gives participants an option of tracking their consumption and topping up using a smartphone app.
- Spark Energy plans to develop a mobile app for its smart prepayment roll-out, which will get underway in social housing from November 2015.