With the UK government pushing more and more towards greener and more energy efficient outcomes for businesses, it has asked of energy providers to give free smart meters to each and everyone one of their customers – both residential and commercial. This equates to roughly 53 million of them across the entire country. The energy providers have been tasked with delivering this large feat by the year 2024, so that the UK has an energy system that is much more flexible and is able to support the adoption of smart services and products.
What Are Smart Meters?
Smart meters are digital devices that connect to a premise’s wifi connection for the purpose of monitoring gas and / or electricity usage by a particular business. They are able to display exactly how much energy is being used at any given point in time, as well as displaying the cost of this in pounds and pence.
As far as smart meters are involved, there are two different types of device. The first type of smart meter that came to market was the Smart Meter Equipment Technical Specifications (SMETS 1), but this has been recently replaced by the SMETS 2 – a new model that makes it much easier for businesses to switch between energy providers. Prior to committing to a new energy provider, businesses should visit an energy business comparison in order to do some research on the best available tariffs out there.
Each of these two different models provide businesses with detailed information about their energy usage in real time. The information that is displayed on a smart meter is updated every 30 mins for gas usage and for electricity usage it is updated every 10 seconds. With access to this type of information, businesses are able to better manage how they consume energy and also remove the need to have to take meter readings or have uncertainty over what their energy bills will be.
Smart Meters In Businesses
The types of Smart meters that are used in business premises are the same as those ones that are used within private residential settings. So far across the UK, smart meters have been rolled out to in excess of 2 million businesses, with the majority of them being small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and microbusinesses.
By having a smart meter located inside of a business premise, it allows a business to become more energy efficient and to move over to a much more suitable energy tariff. The fact that they allow data to be easily shared with other parties means that businesses can take easier advantage of energy management services if and when required.
As far as energy providers are concerned, smart meters allow them to more easily identify potential problems prior to them becoming an actual issue for businesses.
What Businesses Qualify For A Smart Meter?
As part of the UK government’s plans, energy providers are required to place smart meters in the premises of those businesses that use more than 732 megawatts of electricity on an annual basis. In addition to this, a business must also have sites in the electricity profile of between classes one and four.
The installation of a smart meter is completely free of charge for businesses and must be done so in a way that conforms with the smart metering installation code of practice as set out by Ofgem. This code of practice is in place to ensure that the installation process is of the highest quality and ensures that any issues with the device are quickly fixed and in a uniform way.
Where a business already uses an adhanvd meter, which has the capability to send the energy provider accurate energy usage readings, then there may not be the need for it to be replaced by a smart meter.
If a business simply does not want a smart meter then they are perfectly within their rights to refuse the offer of one from their energy provider and instead ask for an advanced meter, which sends over data directly to the energy provider, to be installed in their premise instead.
Should Businesses Get A Smart Meter?
The installation of a smart meter is completely free of charge for businesses and comes with a range of different benefits. These include having a live view of the energy that is being used by the business at any given point in time; not having to provide their energy provider with meter readings; being able to see when the most energy is being used; being able to budget better; and helping to bring down overall energy consumption, thus lowering the cost of energy bills, as well as reducing the business’ carbon footprint.
What Are The Downsides To Smart Meters?
Although there is no cost for the individual business where a smart meter is being installed, there is a huge cost for the UK government to pay for the energy providers to do this. Inevitably this will need to be paid by someone and so it is likely that business taxes will be increased in order to fund the investment.
That being said, with a smart meter installed, businesses should be able to more easily cut back on the amount of energy that they use and so be able to lower their energy bills – thus saving money in the long run. However, that can only be done if businesses are proactive in using the information that they have at their fingertips with a smart meter.
How Can Businesses Get A Smart Meter?
Energy providers are obliged under law to offer each and every business within the UK with a smart meter completely free of charge – that is providing they meet all of the requirements for the scheme that is. Where a business has not been contacted by their energy provider, they can proactively contact their supplier themselves in order to ask for a smart meter to be installed in their premises. The process of actually installing a smart meter for a business takes about one hour.