Offering “industry-first” frictionless switching, smart energy switching tech provider Labrador has launched the Labrador Retriever across the UK.

The free-to-use device plugs into household broadband routers and automatically switches customers whenever a cheaper tariff becomes available.

Each Labrador Retriever communicates with a household’s smart meter to determine real-time energy usage and claims to offer more reliable data to make recommendations and automatically switch accounts. The idea being that the household could gain the economic benefits of switching without any of the hassle.

Jane Lucy, Labrador founder and CEO, said: “The technology is unique in that it’s the only way to get granular data from smart meters in real-time. There are other routes to data through things like the Data Communications Company (DCC) or SMSO platforms, but they don’t provide access to the most granular data and access is not in real-time.”

The company claims to have signed up nearly 1,000 customers since its soft launch, but forecasts “exponential growth” over the next five years, pointing towards a potential audience of 10 million UK homes that currently have a smart meter installed.

Prior to its soft launch in September last year, Labrador raised around £1.2 million from more than 30 individual investors, and then raised a further £890,000 via crowdfunding platform Crowdcube in exchange for 13.57 per cent equity.

Then in March of this year, the company confirmed The Daily Mail, and General Trust had also backed the company by means of a £500,000 package comprising both cash and media investment in exchange for a subscription of ordinary shares.

Lucy added: “With only one in five UK customers switching every year, we estimate British households are losing £5 billion to the high tariffs of energy companies. The Labrador is set to change that as we are the first service that recognises customers do not have time to switch, so we do it for them.”