Smart meter roll-out starts in strong Q1 for British Gas

This winter's unusually cold weather meant British Gas had a better-than-expected first quarter of 2010, with its good performance underpinned by a continued drive to cut costs.

This winter's unusually cold weather meant British Gas had a better-than-expected first quarter of 2010, with its good performance underpinned by a continued drive to cut costs.

The company had rolled out 80,000 smart meters to customers by the end of April, part of an ongoing project that will see nearly one million households receive the meters by 2012. The company says smart meters save money by charging for the exact amount of gas used.

British Gas brought its IT back in-house in 2006, and CIO Dave Bickerton says the company will spend £150m on technology-driven change this year. It will also recruit 100 extra staff to supplement its 600-strong team.

In its interim results statement, parent company Centrica said efforts to cut costs were continuing. "We also remain on track to reduce the like-for-like cost base in British Gas by more than the £100m originally targeted, allowing us to reinvest additional savings to capitalise on our current strong competitive position," it said.

In February, the company completed a joint venture with DONG and Siemens to develop an offshore wind project.

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