A smart meter makes it easier to track your businesses energy usage. With a more accurate view of how much energy your business is using, this can help you drive some positive change. This will help lower the cost of your business energy and help reduce your impact on the environment.
What is a Smart Meter?
You’ve probably heard of a smart meter and may even have one in your home. Have a smart meter installed means you can track how much energy you’re using.
Business smart meters are the new generation of gas or electricity meters that can communicate securely with other devices, such as with a portable display and your energy supplier’s systems wirelessly. The will automatically send usage data to your energy supplier and allow you to use smart energy management systems. This means no more manual meter readings and overpaying for estimated bills.
This means that you can monitor your business’ energy usage more accurately and see what you are using in pounds and pence.
The smart meter package consists of separate electricity and gas meters, a communications hub, and a portable display device. The smart meter will record your energy usage and will enable energy suppliers to offer tariffs that meet your energy needs better. The information collected about your energy usage will help you make decisions and identify where you can save money on your gas and electricity.
Is my business eligible for smart meter installation?
Small/ micro businesses are eligible for smart meter installation if they employe less than 10 full time employees.
Many larger usage businesses will have an Automated Meter Reading (AMR) meter instead. Smaller businesses are no longer eligible to have an AMR meter and will be required to use business smart meters.
What is an AMR Smart Meter?
An AMR meter is very similar to a smart meter. It works by creating a connection channel between a business customer and its energy supplier.
For an AMR meter, the communication only goes in one direction, to the supplier. The AMR will send a reading once per month.
What’s the difference?
An AMR smart meter and a business smart meter are similar, but they operate differently using different technologies. Smart meters will communicate through a centralised data communication network which will then send the data to the relevant energy supplier, they also have a small digital display device that is portable.
AMR meters record and transmit data through Data Controllers. The AMR meter and the transmission network for the data come at a cost to the business whereas smart meters are free-of-charge. Depending on the provider of the AMR meter to what data and software you will have access to, but this tends to be more detailed than the information available from smart meters.
Should my business get a smart meter?
There are many benefits for a business installing a smart meter or a smart AMR meter.
- Real-time business energy use (monitor and reduce energy spend)
- No estimated billing on your gas and electricity
- Better business energy data to help select the best tariffs
- Inform you of your actual usage to help negotiate better business energy prices
Does it cost to get a smart meter?
Business energy suppliers will install smart meters at no cost when you switch to one of their tariffs. Any costs associated with a smart meter will be a part of the energy suppliers cost. Watch out for higher standing charge tariffs. Sometimes suppliers may offset costs when your get a smart meter with them.
Can I Change Suppliers If I Have a Smart Meter?
Beyond your agrees business energy contract, you are not tied to the supplier and there is no extra obligation. Once you have your smart meter installed on your business premises, you are free to switch suppliers whenever you like.
If you switch to an energy supplier who is currently not installing smart meters, it will work as a ‘dumb meter’. This means you will have to manually send meter reading to the supplier again.
Also, if you have a first-generation smart meter this may not be compatible with all energy suppliers. As with most technology, there have been many updates to smart meters and a lot have configured their systems for a second generation smart meter. If this is the case, you may need to submit meter readings manually. If you’re unsure what generation of smart meter you have, you should get in touch with your energy supplier.
If you want to learn more about how smart meters work, any issues with them, secure and data concerns, installation, and other factors visit our guide to smart meters.