Smart meters have become a common fixture in many people’s homes. If you don’t have one yet, you have probably read about them.
Smart meters have been predominantly geared towards residential addresses. But small business owners may be interested to know that smart meters can also provide numerous benefits to them too.
Smart meters in the UK
There is currently an energy plan in place. 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.
So, what is the long-term plan for smart meters? 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.
You should be aware that it’s not just homes that can pick up a smart meter. 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.
Why should I get a smart meter for my business?
Can smart meters offer any real business benefits? The short answer is yes, and these are just some of them:
- Accurate bills
Your bill is your bill – no more projections or estimated bills means you can manage your overheads.
- See what you’re paying for
Smart meters show you when you’re using the most energy. 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.
- Meter readings are a thing of the past
Smart meters don’t need you to manually send off meter readings. It does its thing, you do yours. Simple.
- Less downtime
As the UK’s energy network upgrades along with smart meters, power cuts will be dealt with faster.
- Getting greener
Smart meters are part of a greener future for Britain. 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.
- Competitive tariffs
Smart meters show your supplier what you need. It’s this kind of information that suppliers need to develop new, innovative and increasingly competitive tariffs.
Sounds goods! How do I get a smart meter?
You’ll be happy to hear the process is pretty similar to when you arranged your business gas installation. 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:
- Arrange a visit
If you’re eligible, your supplier will contact you to arrange a time and day. 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
- Make sure someone’s in
Be sure to have someone available to let the installer in.
- You’re all set!
With the smart meter installed, the installer will show you and your staff how to use it. They can also field any questions.
All done! As soon as your smart meter is in, your business can start reaping the benefits.
Post-installation surveys have shown customer satisfaction levels to be high. 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.
Want to be a part of the smart meter revolution? Talk to your supplier today, or visit www.smartenergygb.org for more information.