In this guide, we will explore everything you need to know about smart meters for business use. However, if you want to find out how else you can save on your energy bills, let Business Energy Comparison help you find out more.
Smart Meters For Business
The UK is currently experiencing an energy crisis, and the government is doing everything in its power to limit its effects. One of the main initiatives of the energy efficiency drive has been to try and get a smart meter installed in every home and business.
This is why your energy supplier has likely offered to install a smart meter at your business or home in the last few years. The government hopes to have a smart meter in every home and business by 2024, as they offer a number of key benefits.
The smart meter rollout has been successful so far, but you might be wondering why your business would need a smart meter.
What Is A Smart Meter?
First and foremost, we should start off with what a smart meter actually is. Smart meters are either electricity or gas meters that send remote meter readings to both you and your energy supplier wirelessly.
There are two main types of smart meters. The first iteration is known as Smart Meter Equipment Technical Specifications (SMETS 1). These smart meters are not used as commonly anymore as they make it more difficult for businesses and other consumers to switch energy suppliers.
If you get a smart meter fitted now, you will likely be getting the SMETS 2 model, which makes it much easier to switch suppliers if the need arises.
What Does A Smart Meter Actually Do?
A smart meter measures your exact energy usage and shares this with your supplier remotely once per month. This saves manpower and time by no one having to do manual meter readings.
You’ll also only be charged for exactly how much energy you use if you have a smart meter instead of having to pay estimated bills.
How do smart meters work?
Business smart meters and consumer smart meters work by sending data that consists of meter readings to a company called DCC.
DCC is in charge of the infrastructure that connects smart meters to energy suppliers and network operators through a secure smart data network.
After you have your new smart meter installed, you’ll start receiving readings relating to your energy consumption automatically.
Are Smart Meters Mandatory For Businesses?
The smart meter rollout is well underway now, and many businesses all over the UK have had business smart meters installed.
However, while the UK government requires suppliers to offer a smart meter to every business and resident, you are not legally obliged to have one fitted.
If you refuse to have a smart meter installed, there is nothing stopping you from requesting one in the future for no added cost.
However, you should know that if you choose not to have a smart meter fitted, you’ll be missing out on the many benefits that they offer.
Discover How Your Business Could Benefit From A Smart Meter
As mentioned above, there are many benefits of smart meters that we will discuss in more detail below.
View energy usage
While a smart meter won’t automatically reduce your energy usage, it can tell you how much energy you have used at any time. This can help you determine when your business is using too much energy, which will, therefore, tell you when you need to cut down.
Smart meter installation is free
Your energy supplier will install your smart meter for your business at no cost to you. The whole process only takes about an hour, and after that, you will be able to see your energy usage on your smartphone.
More accurate readings and bills
If you change to a smart meter from a normal meter, then your readings will be far more accurate. This means your bills will properly reflect your energy consumption.
Saves you time
Smart meters won’t only help your business save money, but they can also help save you time. Your meter readings will be sent to your energy supplier automatically, so you won’t need to submit your monthly meter readings manually.
Will A Smart Meter Affect My Business’ Data Privacy?
If you are concerned about where your business’ energy usage information is being shared, then you should put these worries to rest.
You are in almost full control when it comes to how much information you want to share with your energy supplier. You are also in control of how often your supplier will collect remote meter readings from your smart meter.
However, before you decide to limit what data you share with your energy supplier, you should consider the following:
- Sharing your readings with your supplier often will allow them to understand your energy usage. This will make it easier for your supplier to offer you better rates on your energy bills at the end of your contract.
- Your supplier will normally collect data from your smart meter once per month if you don’t change anything. However, you can adjust this to every half an hour or every day if you want your bills to be as accurate as possible. You can call your supplier at any time to change this preference.
- You can let your supplier know that you don’t want your energy consumption data from your smart meter shared with third-party organisations. This will prevent research agencies from calling to ask about your smart meter experience.
You should also check what the marketing preferences of your energy supplier are. Otherwise, your energy usage data could be used to promote other products your supplier offers.
Who can see my business smart meter data?
The information gathered from smart meters can only be shared with the account payer and their energy supplier. You are able to share this data with third-party organisations if you wish.
However, the law states that your supplier can only share your energy consumption information if you give them direct permission to do so.
Can I Switch Energy Suppliers With A Business Smart Meter
It is possible to switch suppliers if you have a smart meter. If you have SMETS 2 smart meter, then you can change over to a new supplier without interrupting your payments, readings, or energy supply.
However, things are a little more difficult if you have a SMETS 1 smart meter. If you decide to change suppliers with one of these smart meters, then your meter could stop automatically sending readings to your supplier.
This means you will have to provide your supplier with manual readings from your meter for a while. Thankfully, this shouldn’t persist for too long, and it also shouldn’t affect your energy supply.
How Do I Arrange Smart Meter Installation?
Arranging for a smart meter installation isn’t all that difficult. The first thing you need to do is contact your supplier to find out if you are eligible. You may not be eligible for a smart meter if your business is in an area where the mobile signal is weak. This is because smart meters rely on a mobile signal, just like smartphones do.
If you are eligible, you will need to ensure that there will be someone on-site when the engineer arrives. Your business electricity and/or business gas supply will need to be switched off for about 45 minutes while the installation takes place.
The engineer will also need clear access to the meter, which means there shouldn’t be anything blocking access to the meter.
If all of these criteria are in check, your new smart meter should be installed about an hour after the engineer arrives.
If you own a business and would like to save on your energy bills, then you should consider contacting your supplier and asking to have a smart meter installed.
While a smart meter won’t directly save you money, it will allow you to see your energy usage in real-time, which can help you consume less.
If you want to find out how else you can save on your monthly energy bills, contact us at Business Energy Comparison. We can provide you with free quotes from the best energy suppliers in minutes. Compare business gas prices and electricity tariffs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does your business need Wi-Fi for a smart meter?
No, smart meters make use of a national wireless communication network. Your smart meter will not need to be hooked up to your Wi-Fi for it to send readings to you and your supplier.
However, you will need to have internet access on the device you use to view your reading.
Do smart meters cause higher bills?
No, smart meters do not cause your energy bills to increase. You may experience an increase in the price of your energy bills if your old meter was not providing accurate readings and you switch to a smart meter, though.
Do all UK energy suppliers support smart meters?
Yes, the vast majority of energy suppliers in the UK do support smart meters. The easiest way to check is by contacting your supplier and asking them.
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