Smart meters were a recent revelation that had both homeowners and businesses wondering where their money was being spent — and if you haven’t got one, what are you waiting for?
Believe it or not, for businesses that haven’t had one installed specifically, they could be a great way to monitor business gas and electricity usage.
The smart meter trend
Do you know how the smart meter came to be? The government has set electricity and gas mains 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.
Where did the idea come from? 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.
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.
How your business can benefit
Having a better insight to where you’re spending your energy can be great, but what other advantages can a smart meter offer? These are just some of them:
- No nasty surprises
This means that no more bills will be drafted from estimated readings; which could give you more accurate costs around your energy use.
- Better understanding, smarter usage
This allows your business to see an accurate correlation between where energy is used and general habits. 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
Unlike manual meter readings, smart meters aren’t disruptive. It does its thing, you do yours.
- Faster response to power cuts
With more properties having smart meters at hand, the UK’s energy networks will be able to respond quickly.
- A 21st-century approach to energy
When it comes to the UK’s future for energy monitoring, smart meters are the way forward. 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
Energy companies will be able to see pattern in usage, and as well as giving customers a greater insight, it can also pioneer new developments across the sector to ensure customers are getting the most out of what they pay for.
How you can get a smart meter
Getting a smart meter for your business requires very little effort. 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:
- Agree a time and day
If your business is eligible to have smart meter installed, they will arrange a time that is suitable for both parties and cause little disruption.
- Let your supplier in on installation day
Once a time has been arranged, a trained smart meter installer will be there to help.
- Plug and play
Then, the installer will show you how to use it and answer any questions you have.
As soon as your smart meter is in, you can start monitoring your business gas and electricity.
To reassure you, it’s important to know that post-installation surveys have found that most people are satisfied with their results. 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.