AlertMe to trial home energy management in U.K.

British Gas signs on start-up AlertMe to give consumers the ability to get detailed home energy data and remote control of home heating system.

U.K. start-up AlertMe.com on Monday announced an agreement to test a service that will allow British Gas New Energy consumers to control their home heating systems from the Web or mobile phone.

AlertMe makes a home energy-monitoring system built around a Zigbee home-area network . A cube-shaped hub acts as a central control point and separate devices, including smart plugs, communicate with the hub.

AlertMe

The British Gas trial, which is expected to be available by the end of the year, is designed to allow people to program their home heating systems to shave down their bills.

People can view consumption data via a Web site and change settings from a mobile phone. For example, a person can turn on the heat remotely via phone or change the settings for vacation using a key fob.

AlertMe, which raised 8 million pounds in venture capital earlier this year, is developing a system for controlling home electricity use and home security systems as well.

There are growing number of home energy monitoring tools to give people more detailed information so they can reduce consumption or control their appliances .

Rather than rely on smart meters as a communications gateway, AlertMe's hub connects to the Internet and smart plugs transfer data to the hub.

British Gas did not disclose costs to consumers for the trial. The retail price for AlertMe's products ranges from $245 to $656. There is a monthly subscription service of $16 for advanced monthly services, such as mobile phone access, or a pay-as-you-go option.

Updated at 6:10 a.m. PT to clarify the costs.

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