As part of Ofgem’s (The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) Smart Market Programme, smart meters will be installed in all small business premises by 2020. A smart meter allows the supplier to gather consumption information directly from the meter. Depending on usage the smart meter will send the information either half hourly, daily or monthly, eliminating the need for meter. In theory the supplier should work towards real time consumption information that will allow them to accurately monitor demand and therefore ensure that demand is met but not oversupplied.
Smart meters are empowering; the meters are there to provide you with information about your consumption that will help you to use less. Applications are available for phones or desktop PCs that allow consumers to track consumption using smart meter data and to identify anomalies as they happen. These applications help small businesses to make decisions on investments for reduction initiatives. Much of this will be familiar to those who have larger meters that already deliver data on a half hourly basis.
The strongest argument for installing a smart meter is accurate, timely billing. It is a supply licence obligation that energy suppliers provide accurate bills in a timely fashion but even when a supplier acts within the protocols set by Ofgem, consumers can end up with sizeable back-bills. We see the result of estimated meter reads when businesses come to us with bills that have taken them by surprise, usually it is the result of a series of under-estimates. Equally we see plenty of over estimates, and as part of our invoice validation service we collect meter reads from clients to ensure that suppliers are not overestimating or allowing large credits to build on an account. Smart meters can help to prevent both under and over estimates. The good news is that, if you have fewer than ten employees and your energy use is fairly low, suppliers will usually fit them for free even if they haven’t got to you in the programme of installation.
As business energy consultants, we are happy to help you if you think that you will benefit from a SMART meter, no matter how big your business.