April 20, 2010 - OnStream, a National Grid metering business has developed a smart meter that communicates with appliances using blue tooth technology.

Remote switching means that customes can choose the time of use rate for operations of washing machines, dishwashers and other appliances.

The OnStream meter, which can be used on any mobile network, will be tested this summer. The gas meter is the first in the industry to be standalone, which means that customers can choose their gas supplier separately from the electricity supplier

The touchscreen display unit presents energy consumption information in a relevant and useful way. The meter sends updates to a smartphone or can be read remotely on the internet. The meters can operate in a credit mode, where customers pay in lieu by direct debit, in a pre-payment mode or in a pay-as-you-go mode, as with a mobile phone.

OnStream will run trials of 2,000 meters for six months from the summer. The company installs and services four million meters for all six energy suppliers and hopes to maintain this market share as smart meters are deployed across the country.

Sharon Rodriguez, a director of OnStream, said: “We don’t intend to turn ourselves into a meter manufacturer, but we have found a dedicated supplier for the product we have designed.”