British Gas says all UK households should be 'forced' to fit smart meters

The British Gas boss has said all UK households should be forced to fit smart meters. Chris O’Shea, CEO of Centrica, which is the parent company of British Gas, says mandatory installation programme would cut cost of creating a smart grid amid the Cost of Living crisis.

Speaking on Wednesday (May 8), Mr O'Shea told a committee of MPs that smart meters should be installed in all homes through a “street by street” programme, in order to cut the costs of creating a smart grid as we move forward.

He told MPs: “In order to have the proper smart grid – that is required to keep costs low in the future and have a responsive grid – everyone should have a smart meter. One of the things we should consider is whether this should be a voluntary programme or a mandatory programme.

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“We have 1,700 smart meter installers and we would be happy to install smart meters for Octopus, for E.On, for anybody. We would split the UK up street by street, rather than customer by customer. If you mandated it, then we could have that change in programme. It could be done within the next five years or so.”

Rachel Fletcher, a director at the rival energy company Octopus and a veteran utilities regulator, said: “This should not be done to consumers. What we see [at Octopus] is people queueing up asking for a smart meter where we are offering tariffs or tools which allow them to save … hundreds of pounds a year.”

Earlier this year, Mr IO'Shea said there is “no point” trying to justify his salary, after he saw his pay soar by close to £4 million last year. Mr O’Shea was handed a £8.2 million pay packet in 2023, up from £4.5 million the year before, according to the company’s annual report.