Brits say goodbye to estimates and hello to real-time readings.

Whether you’re a home owner or business owner, paying a bill based on an estimate is never a joyous occasion. Thankfully, if you’re living in the UK and you happen to be a lover of all things Apple (the software, not the fruit), you can skip the estimates and submit a direct reading from your meter.

Yes, that’s right. EDF Energy, one of the UK’s largest energy companies and its largest producer of low-carbon electricity has developed the free EDF Energy app. This app allows you to submit your meter readings and receive accurate bills, as opposed to estimated ones. The result is that you pay for (hold your breath) what you use. Say what? The app which all Canadians would love to have at the tip of their fingers is available on the iPhone, the iPod touch and iPad. Business owners and home owners can take a picture of their meter and upload it directly to the supplier. This automatically updates their account and allows EDF to supply the customer with a more accurate bill.

Don’t panic Canada; there’s an app for you too.

While Canadians may not have access to the EDF Energy app, they do have access to a number of apps that can ease the payment, or at least the prediction, of energy bills. They can also make you more aware of just how much energy you use. According to the Globe and Mail, these are the top-rated energy apps, available to businesses and home-owners who want to either cut down on their electrical consumption or their energy costs:

Kill-O-Watts: The Kill-O-Watts app is an electricity costs calculator that tells you how many kilowatts-hours various appliances consume, as well as how much you pay for them on a monthly and annual basis.  At present, the app allows you to choose from over 120 typical appliances so that you can identify the top electricity consumers in your home. You can also compare brands before purchasing and test out different usage scenarios to discover possible savings.

Meter Readings: Meter Readings allows you to track an unlimited number of household or business utility meters including electricity, gas and water. The app has many features that allow you to track your energy usage including; configuring up to three separate tariffs per meter (daytime, nighttime and control units); calculating the usage and cost for the latest rating period as well as savings compared to average use; quick entry of meter readings; calculating averages on an annual basis, taking seasonal variations into account; supporting local currencies, dependent on location; providing graphs that track per day, week, month, quarter or annual usage over entire reading period; allowing you to submit readings to your supplier to allow the checking of your bills and usage since last bill.

MeterRead: Another meter-reading tool, this app allows you to read your meter once and then check it again minutes, hours and days later, allowing you to see how much electricity you will use in the next 30 days at your current rate. MeterRead does the math for you and can (according to the website) decipher dial meters with ease.

Watts Plus: Watts Plus compares the approximate costs of running electrical appliances and compares usage scenarios. This allows consumers to compare how much is saved when switching to an energy-saving appliance; great for businesses considering investing in Energy-Star certified appliances. Simply enter the cost per kilowatt-hour from your electricity bill, the AC voltage, and the power factor, and then the watts used by the appliance and the number of hours per day the appliance runs. Watts Plus will calculate the electricity cost per hour, day, month or year and you will have the information stored on your phone for when you feel the need to compare.

Questions or comments about these Apps? Which one does YOUR company use to save on energy?

If you’re a business looking to cut down on energy costs, you can find great rebates for energy-saving commercial equipment, including Energy-Star appliances here!

image credit: top pocket man