British Gas has signed a multi-million pound contract with Vodafone for the trial installation of nearly one million GPRS connections in domestic gas meters to monitor real-time energy use.
The Vodafone network will monitor energy use and send the data from the smart meter to British Gas.
Customers using smart meters will automatically receive a bill for exactly what they have used, rather than having to wait for a meter reader to pay a visit.
In December 2009, the government announced that every home in Britain would be fitted with a smart energy meter by 2020. It was expected that there would be a contract with a national communications network to manage data received from the meters, and distribute it to suppliers.
When the plan was launched ministers said, the new IT system across suppliers, for data management, settlement and storage, was expected to cost £12 million and require £1 million annual operational expenditure.