First Utility unveils smart thermostat that customers control from their phones

First Utility has partnered with a Cambridge tech firm to release a smartphone app-operated smart thermostat.

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First Utility – the largest energy supplier outside of the ‘big six’ – is offering customers a smart thermostat that can be controlled from their phones.

The company, which has 780,000 customers throughout the UK, developed the thermostat with the help of Cambridge-based UK tech company Green Energy Options (geo).

Named Cosy, the thermostat connects to a mobile app which lets customers control heating remotely and set timings and temperature preferences ahead of time.

It will offer the thermostat to customers who are on the firm’s three-year fixed energy tariff for free, otherwise it will cost £279.

First Utility’s CIO, Bill Wilkins said: “Our whole ethos is about helping consumers minimise their energy spend – not only by offering lower prices but by giving more power to consumers to help them control their energy use. 

"An important element of this is partnering with innovative organisations that share our vision. geo is an exciting and forward thinking company and we think the Cosy is a great product that could significantly help cut bills.”

First Utility's larger competitor British Gas has already seen success with its connected homes product, Hive.

The Hive thermostat similarly offers real-time energy usage and the option to set preferences for heating, measuring more than 300,000 customers’ energy usage every half hour.

British Gas is in the process of advancing the technology to get it to pull data off the sensors every ten seconds – providing an even more granular analysis of energy usage.

All utility firms will have to provide some form of smart meter or thermostat by 2020, under UK government’s legislation. However the rollout has been plagued by interoperability, funding and organisational issues from its inception.

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