The UK’s leading energy supplier hopes to revolutionise the way customers manage their central heating with the launch of an innovative service.
British Gas claims households could save as much as £100 a year by availing of its new remote heating control, which enables consumers to adjust their central heating controls from afar.
To utilise the service, British Gas customers will need access to an internet-enabled device, such as a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. After logging on to the service, customers can choose to switch on or turn off their boilers. They will also be given the option to adjust the central heating thermostat to better control temperature in the home.
Remarkably, users would also be able to set a schedule for controlling temperature increases and decreases, whilst mobile customers would have the power to turn on or switch off their boilers via SMS.
British Gas Smart Homes’ Managing Director, Dean Keeling, suggested that remote heating control could revolutionise domestic central heating. Mr Keeling said: “With the British weather as unpredictable as ever, remote heating control will give customers greater peace of mind by allowing them to schedule and adjust their heating on the go”.
Mr Keeling added that this would enable energy consumers to use central heating only when necessary.
Although remote heating control is clearly a good idea in so far as it gives energy consumers greater control over the management of their central heating systems, the £100 annual saving has to be questioned. Are households really wasting this much energy by being out of the home?
An additional concern is that new customers are required to pay £229 for the basic remote heating control package, which consists of a wireless thermostat and home hub. Existing customers can purchase the package for £199, while a further £50 saving can be made by customers who buy remote heating control with a new boiler installation.
The pricing of the control did not escape the attention of Audrey Gallacher, Director of Energy at Consumer Focus. She said: “Hopefully, this new remote heating control will help customers think a little bit more about their energy consumption. However, with the control costing up to £229, customers will clearly need to weigh up whether they will actively use the control enough to outweigh this charge”.