British Gas is currently testing a number of technologies in order to help customers save energy, money and reduce anxiety over whether an appliance has been left on when they are out. One of these is a smartphone application that can both remotely control the user's heating at home and switch off any equipment left plugged in or switched on.
The company, which is a supplier of both gas and electricity in Great Britain, is expecting that, should the trials go well, the application will be available to its customers in 2012.
Another technology on its way is a next generation smart meter, that allows customers to view and manage their energy supply in real time. It features a traffic light system that highlights when appliances are using high levels of energy - handy for knowing if they are still switched on when you're going to bed. It can also allow customers to set their own energy level targets.
The announcements come as British Gas reveals findings from a survey it commissioned from research specialist YouGov. According to the results, 80 per cent of the British public have turned around and gone home to check just because they think they may have left an appliance switched on, while 16 per cent claim that this made them late.
Additionally, it is claimed that 30 million Britons suffers from appliance anxiety, with most worrying up to 85 minutes each week about leaving gadgets, such as irons, hair straighteners and boilers left on, to potentially catastrophic effect.
The research also suggests that the average household wastes around £150 per year by leaving the boiler switched on permanently, which amounts to almost £1 billion per year nationally. While The Energy Saving Trust estimates a further £740 million a year is lost by leaving tech on standby.
Do you like the idea of being able to control your appliances remotely? Let us know in the comments below...