Smart meters have long been resisted or little used. An energy start-up has decided to unlock their potential by making smart meter data available on an app. The Hugo Energy App could revolutionise the way we interact with smart meter data.
Ben Dhesi, the entrepreneur behind the Hugo Energy App, is no stranger to the energy market. Ben is also the founder of Pulse Business Energy, which he sold in 2017 to VC backed Arrow Business Communications Ltd.
Rather than sip margaritas and play golf, Ben began working on Hugo almost immediately after his exit. There are more than 16,000,000 installed smart meters in UK homes, but the engagement with smart meter data has been poor from the outset.
The plugged in “in home display” devices which get installed have been roundly rejected by the public. They often get discarded, are error prone and lack the engagement proposition needed to make an impact with the consumer.
The Hugo Energy App relies on a tried and tested display, the smartphone. Hugo, short for “Home Utilities Guru Online”, displays smart meter gas and/or electricity data on your smartphone and introduces a number of new features like budgeting, carbon offsetting, tariff switching and a library of energy saving tips.
Ben believes the only way the smart meter program might pay off is by giving the consumer a platform that adds value to their energy management at home. Smartphones, along with the endless software possibilities, also make smart meter data mobile and interactive.
Initial industry feedback has been overwhelming and Hugo has already amassed thousands of downloads within weeks of launching. Ben said: “When I learned in 2015 that the government was planning to smart meter every home in the UK I thought the only way to engage with that data was on a smart device. I kept waiting for them to announce their own app but when I realised they were going to stick with analogue displays, I knew there was an opportunity to provide the consumer with something better and more useful.”
Ben say Hugo is a total home energy and carbon management system and puts the power of customer smart data into their own hands.
Feedback received from peers on LinkedIn has been great, said Ben.
“Well thought out, I am sure this will be an app to watch.”
“I’ve not been blown away with an app for a while so you’ve obviously put a lot of work into it.”
“Just downloaded your app, and just wanted to drop you a note saying it’s fantastic. Congrats to you and your team.”
Whilst it is still early days, Hugo could well kickstart the smart meter revolution that the industry has been crying out for and perhaps HUGO can win the hearts and minds of the consumer where Gaz and Leccy failed. For more information visit www.hugoenergyapp.co.uk