Gas Giant Invests in Smart Meters

The world’s largest natural gas producer — and Russia’s biggest firm — is getting into the smart metering business. The UK subsidiary of natural gas giant Gazprom says it has taken an equity stake in UK smart metering company TruRead. TruRead’s technology enables the remote reading of meters that measure gas, electricity and water, and paves the way for real-time pricing of these commodities.

The companies didn’t disclose the amount of the investment, but the Guardian says Gazprom will use the service to make its supplies more attractive to UK customers.

There’s a new law in the UK that requires all British homes to have an energy rating at the time that they’re sold. And the UK energy industry is calling for a mandate to install smart meters in all British homes within the next decade. Stateside utilities are just starting field trials of the technology, too.

Smart meters can cut down on energy consumption by enabling real-time pricing. With two-way communication, utilities can charge residents more during peak hours of the day, and residents can tweak their behavior based on those fluctuating costs. But the price tag might be the biggest hurdle — by some estimates the rollout of smart meters throughout the UK will cost £6.1 billion ($12.32 billion).