You’ve probably read about smart meters in the headlines and in the news.
At the moment, the focus has been on residential use. But the benefits are waiting for small business gas users to claim. Is your business eligible? Read on to find out.
The current switch
Let’s look at the current plan for smart meters. 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.
The reason for this? 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.
It’s worth noting that it’s not just homes that are entitled to this. 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 look into getting a smart meter?
Accurate meter readings are nice, but can smart meters do anything else? The short answer is yes, and these are just some of them:
- No shock bills
Managing your overheads is crucial for small businesses, and the accuracy of a smart meter means no more bills based on estimated readings.
- See who’s using what
Smart meters show you which habits are impacting your energy usage. 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.
- Forget about meter readings
Manual meter readings can be a pain, but a smart meter does it for you. It does its thing, you do yours. Simple.
- Power back quicker
With feedback from smart meters, Britian’s energy suppliers will be able to sort out power cuts quicker.
- The future of energy
Smart meters are just the first step. 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.
- Supporting suppliers
Smart meters help you understand your usage, but they also help suppliers understand your usage too. It’s this kind of information that suppliers need to develop new, innovative and increasingly competitive tariffs.
How do I get one installed?
We know small business owners are busy, so you’ll be pleased to know you won’t need to do much to get the ball rolling. 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:
- Set a time and day
Your supplier will get in touch to arrange a time. 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
- Let them in
Make sure someone is available on the day to let the installer in!
- Away you go!
After installing the meter, the installer will show you and your staff how it works and answer any questions.
Sorted! As soon as your smart meter is in, your business can start reaping the benefits.
Proven to work
Surveys show a high level of satisfaction for smart meter users. 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 get a smart meter for you business? Talk to your supplier today, or visit smartenergygb.org for more information.