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April fools' day: The "Office for Estimation" is no joke when it comes to estimated energy bills

1st April 2015

Today, 1 April 2015, Smart Energy GB and the Daily Mirror ‘fooled’ the nation into believing that a fictional ‘Office for Estimation’ would install an interim government based on estimates, while a hung parliament was resolved. The story was an April Fools’ Day joke – but estimates in another part of our everyday lives, our energy bills, are no joke for millions of households around Great Britain.

Many households currently have to rely on estimated bills because our old analogue gas and electricity meters do not transmit readings direct to energy suppliers. And even if you do provide a meter reading, an analogue gas or electricity meter gives you no information in pounds and pence of what you will actually pay. Smart meters will finally bring an end to estimated bills. 

Lloyd Embley, editor in chief Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, mirror.co.uk and Sunday People, said, "We try an April Fool every year, some better than others, but this was a great idea. Not only did it tickle my fancy, it also has a very serious message behind it and a really important one for our readers. For too many people, estimates are still just the automatic way it is and, in this data driven world where we can measure absolutely anything, it’s absurd that their second highest bill is done through estimates. So we were really happy to be part of it and it will go down as one of our best April Fools’ – certainly in my 21 years here."

Smart Energy GB, the not-for-profit campaign for the national smart meter roll-out, is leading consumer engagement for our national energy upgrade. Our Estimation Nation campaign including the Daily Mirror article, press releases and interviews with the fictional Office for Estimation and related video footage can be found at www.smartenergygb.org/estimation 

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB commented: “The Office for Estimation is an April Fools’ story with a serious message about the transformation smart meters will bring. The nation wouldn’t accept an estimated government, nor would they accept estimated supermarket bills. Energy is one of the few areas where we still receive estimated bills because of the outdated technology so many of us still have to use in our homes. The national smart meter roll-out will transform the way everyone buys and uses gas and electricity, and finally put an end to estimated bills.”

Great Britain’s national smart meter roll-out is well underway, with nearly 1.4 million new gas and electricity meters already installed around the country. Smart meters are installed by energy suppliers, at no extra cost to consumers. They show what you’re spending in pounds and pence in near real-time, and mean that bills will always be accurate rather than estimated.

Find out how you can get a smart meter from your energy supplier.

-ENDS-

About Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is the not-for-profit campaign for the national smart meter roll-out. It’s our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national roll-out and how to use their new meters to get their gas and electricity under control. Our national campaign to reach all households and microbusinesses in England, Scotland and Wales has already begun.

About smart meters and the roll-out

Smart meters replace the traditional meters we currently have in our homes. They provide consumers with accurate bills, near real time information on energy usage in pounds and pence, and greater control over their gas and electricity. The smart meter roll-out is an essential technology upgrade, unprecedented in its scale, to improve Great Britain’s energy infrastructure. Between now and 2020, every home and small business across England, Scotland and Wales will be offered a smart meter by their energy supplier at no extra cost. Nearly 1.4 million smart meters have already been installed. To find out how you can get a smart meter from your energy supplier please visit: www.smartenergygb.org/get-a-smart-meter

Smart Energy GB media contacts

 For more information, please contact the Smart Energy GB media team:

 Lucy Maggs: [email protected], 0203 751 0744

 Alicia Painter: [email protected], 0203 751 0745