Skip to main content

What Does A Smart Meter Look Like?

Many UK businesses have started making the switch to smart meters to save energy, lower their energy bills and save money.

Installed as part of a nationwide UK government initiative, these smart meters for businesses promise to streamline the meter reading process and bring about more accurate business energy bills.

With their sleek design and easy-to-read LCD screens, smart meters are quickly becoming a mainstay in many UK businesses concerned with cutting down on their energy bills and reducing their carbon footprints.

Business Energy Comparison Background - Blue
Man standing in warehouse in a hard hat holding an ipad

What is a Smart Meter?

A smart meter for businesses is an electronic device that is installed in place of older, standard meters.

These smart meters automatically track and record your business’ monthly electricity and gas usage. They are connected – like mobile phones – to a wireless network and automatically send your consumption figures to your energy supplier who then bills you for your monthly usage.

The meters also show you exactly how much energy your business is using and how much you’ll pay for your consumption at the end of the month.

This can help many business owners keep track of and curb their energy usage.

Should I Get a Smart Meter?

One of the main benefits of installing a smart meter is that it removes the need for taking manual meter readings.

If you use a traditional meter and you forget to submit your monthly readings, your energy supplier will make an estimate of your usage, based on your past bills. These estimates can be incorrect leading you to pay more than what you should.

Smart meters help avoid estimate inaccuracies and ensure that you pay only for the energy you used.

These meters also help you keep track of your gas and electricity usage as your usage is displayed on their screen. Being more aware of the amount of energy you consume can help reduce your overall energy use.

If you’re still sure you should get a business smart meter, consider the advantages and disadvantages of having a smart meter installed:

Advantages of a business smart meter

  • No manual meter readings and estimated bills
  • Accurate energy bills
  • Easily track your energy consumption
  • Encourages energy saving and helps reduce your business’s carbon footprint
  • Gives businesses access to cheaper energy tariffs
  • Makes the process of switching energy suppliers easier

Disadvantages of a business smart meter

  • Smart meters use a mobile signal (can cause issues in an area with patchy mobile reception)
  • There’s no guarantee your business will pay lower energy bills if you do not reduce energy consumption
  • It can lead to excessive monitoring
  • If you switch to another supplier, you may have to migrate back to a standard meter.
Business Energy comparison

Not all UK businesses are eligible to have a smart meter installed right away.

There are several factors you need to consider before your smart meter installation.

Meter installation requirements:

    • Meter type: Installation will depend on the current meter you use and whether it is compatible with the new smart meters.
    • Space: The installers will need to check if your current meter installations allow for enough space to install the new smart meter and its communications hub.

Mobile network:

      • First, the mobile network in your area needs to be checked. If the signal is weak or you do not have a signal, your meter will not be able to send the data to the Data and Communications Company.

Additionally, energy suppliers have been instructed to supply businesses with a smart meter if they fall within the following two categories:

  • Businesses that use less than 732 MWh of gas annually
  • Electricity customers in profile classes 1 to 4 (this profile class appears on your bill)
Design Elements

What Does a Smart Meter Look Like?

Smart meters for businesses have a white face and an LCD screen.

A smart meter is made up of three main components:

  • Smart meter: You’ll have one for gas and another one for electricity
  • A communications hub: Sends your consumption readings to the energy supplier
  • Energy monitor: Displays your energy consumption in real-time

Types of Smart Meters

There are different business smart meters currently available on the market:

  • SMETS1 smart meter: These are the earlier version of smart meters that were installed in the first phase of the smart meter rollout. They were installed by SSE Metering and may have compatibility and communication issues if you move to another energy supplier.
  • SMETS2 meter: These are the new generation of smart meters and continue to work even if you decide to switch energy suppliers.
  • AMR meters: These ‘Automatic Meter Reading’ meters allow an appointed Data Collector to do remote meter readings which are sent to your supplier.
Man with design element above her head stock image

How Do Smart Meters Work?

Instead of you having to do a manual energy reading, smart meters automatically read and record your company’s energy consumption.

These meters read and record your gas usage every 30 minutes, while electricity usage is recorded in real-time.

As the consumer, you have the option of how often you want your usage information to be sent to the supplier: It can be sent every 30 minutes, once a day or at the end of the month.

The more readings that are recorded and sent to your supplier, the more accurately the suppliers can note when and why your consumption fluctuates. This information can be valuable when negotiating a new deal when you renew your contract.

Find Out More With Business Energy Comparison

Except for paying often overestimated energy bills, not many businesses are certain of what their monthly gas and electricity usage should be.

Paying high bills contributes to the financial strain many companies face in current times.

By doing a thorough business energy comparison, owners can have a better understanding of just how much gas and electricity is used and how much they should pay for their energy usage.

If you manage a small or medium-sized business or are heading a large business, knowing your business’ correct energy consumption figures, can help you implement energy efficiency measures which can contribute to lower utility bills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is installing a smart meter compulsory?

No, installing a smart meter is not compulsory. If you do not want a smart meter installed, you are not obligated to do so. Should you decide to install a smart meter, your energy supplier will install it without charging you for the installation.

Do I have to pay for my smart meter?

No, as part of a UK government incentive, smart meters are provided and installed free of charge at households and businesses. The cost of the installations is absorbed in all users’ utility bills as part of the smart meter tariff you see on your monthly bill.

Will installing a smart meter help reduce my carbon footprint?

Yes, the Data and Communications Company estimates that installing smart meters can help British homes and businesses reduce their CO2 emissions by more than 600,000 tonnes a year.

How secure are smart meters?

Smart meters are designed to operate on their own dedicated, secure, wireless network. The system does not use the internet and is designed to prevent any hacking or interception of information. Your details are not stored on the meter and are only used to calculate your energy bill.

Additionally, energy providers are prohibited by UK laws from sharing your personal information or electricity usage information with third parties.