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Should businesses jump on the smart meter opportunity?

25th April 2018 Print

For months (if not years), smart meters have been dominating the headlines, and finding someone who hasn’t at least heard or read about them would be difficult.

The current conversation involving smart meters has been primarily focused on how they can benefit home- occupiers in the residential sector, but is this opportunity being overlooked for small businesses to take advantage of to keep track of their commercial gas usage and electricity usage?

The revolution of smart meters

Firstly, putting smart meters into context. The government has set electricity and mains gas suppliers the target of making the technology available to every home in England, Scotland and Wales by 2020 – that’s 26 million households in total.

The reasons behind them is to phase out imprecise estimated readings in favour of up-to-the-minute digital energy usage recordings, taken by smart meters. These measurements are then sent directly to energy suppliers and used to generate fully accurate bills, based on actual usage.

Homes across Britain are already being fitted with smart meters as we speak, but they aren’t the only ones that are eligible. If you run a small business with fewer than 10 employees? Then, chances are, you’re entitled to a smart meter too. If in doubt, simply ask your energy supplier or broker. If your energy bills are included in the rent you pay for your commercial premises, it’s the bill payer who needs to make the request for your smart meter – so ask your landlord.

Benefits they will bring to businesses

The overall importance of smart meters is to give you accurate energy bills, but will they offer any more benefits beyond that? 

he short answer is yes, and these are just some of them:

- No nasty surprises 

No more projected bills based on estimated readings means no more nasty surprises, which in turn makes managing your overheads a whole lot easier – a big plus for small businesses.

- Better understanding, smarter usage 

Smart meters’ display units are designed to show clearly the correlation between habits and energy usage. Are those 3 o’clock office tea rounds causing a spike in usage as the kettle goes into overdrive? Is your business wasting energy outside of normal working hours because computers are being left on overnight? These are issues a smart meter can help you identify and, more importantly, act on – whether that means investing in a hot water urn or reminding employees to switch off their machines at night. Developing a heightened awareness and understanding of your energy usage also makes you more likely to make smarter money and energy-saving decisions across your business.

- No more meter readings

Manual meter readings can be disruptive to the working day – but having a smart meter in place eliminates the need for these. It does its thing, you do yours. Simple.

- Faster response to power cuts 

As Britain’s energy network upgrades in line with the mass rollout of smart meters, energy suppliers will be able to respond quicker to power cuts in turn.

- A 21st-century approach to energy

Smart meters are part of a much bigger picture when it comes to Britain’s future energy supply. Put simply, the long-term plan is to create a fully integrated smart grid linking different hardware, communications and other technologies together in something of an internet for gas and electricity. Smart meters are a crucial step towards this vision, which will eventually serve homes and businesses alike with greener, more efficient, less wasteful and more cost-effective energy.

- Innovative energy tariffs

Smart meters aren’t just there to give customers a better understanding of their usage; they help suppliers to identify usage patterns too – and it’s this kind of information that suppliers need to develop new, innovative and increasingly competitive tariffs.

How to get them

If you want a smart meter for your business, you barely need to lift a finger. Once you’ve made the initial move of speaking to your energy supplier or broker (or your landlord, in the case of rented premises), here’s what will happen:

1. Agree a time and day

Provided you’re eligible, your energy supplier will contact you to arrange a time to fit your smart meter. They will work with you to ensure this is a time that works for both parties, and causes minimal disruption to the running of your business

2. Let your supplier in on installation day

A specially trained installer from your energy supplier will call round at the time you agree to fit your smart meter, so make sure you’re there to let them in

3. Plug and play 

Once they have completed the fitting, your installer will show you and your staff how your new smart meter works, and will be able to answer any questions you may have.

And that’s it! As soon as your smart meter is in, your business can start reaping the benefits.

The results

These speak for themselves, a post installation survey has shown high levels of satisfaction from customers with smart meters. For example, the Smart Meter Customer Experience Study carried out in August 2017 by the government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy revealed that 80% of those surveyed were satisfied with the technology itself, while 89% were pleased with the installation visit.

Ready to join the smart meter revolution? Talk to your supplier today, or visit for more information.