British Gas is to accelerate its smart meter rollout with the deployment of 100,000 smart meters in 2012, the company has announced.
The accelerated rollout forms part of a new Fair Billing commitment for small businesses, which makes improvement in accurate billing a number one priority.
In particular the aim is to ensure that customers only pay for the energy they use and that they are not hit by big “back bills” caused by supplier or industry errors.
British Gas currently has over 200,000 smart meters already in use by business customers, and sees smart meters as central to ensuring bill accuracy.
The Fair Billing Charter will detail the rights and responsibilities of the customer and British Gas, and will also advise on how customers can be more energy conscious.
Under the Charter British Gas commits that by 2014 the company will not “back bill” small business customers further than one year, if the company or industry processes are at fault and the customer adheres to the Consumer Focus principles to avoid back billing. Next year a limit of three years will be put in place, reducing to two years in 2013 and one year in 2014. This is similar to the voluntary rules in place for residential customers.
In addition proportional payment plans will be offered where requested and a smart meter where possible.
“I understand the concern and frustration that billing inaccuracies can cause our customers,” said Kanat Emiroglu, managing director of British Gas Business.
“It is particularly important now, when small and medium sized businesses are the growth engine of the economy that we ensure our customers get accurate bills and only pay for what they use.”