Energy prices look set to keep on going up. There are many who will try to sell you a different buying method that will reduce your cost but none of these methods is as certain as just using less. If you use a smaller amount of energy you will be charged for a smaller amount of energy and no matter what the markets are doing or the non-commodity costs are you will spend less.
The problem is that you have to keep using energy to be able to do your job, to run your business, to manufacture your outputs. Whatever your business you can’t do it without energy so it is difficult to see how you will reduce your consumption.
To solve a problem, you must know the scale of the problem. To know the scale of the problem you need information. If you have a half-hourly electricity meter you will already know the benefits of being able to access information about your consumption and to do so at a such a granular level. For businesses without a large electricity consumption you will not be able to access this level of information unless you have a SMART meter. Installing a smart meter means that data is collected more often and transferred as a data file to your energy supplier, this can be done as often as you like half hourly, daily or monthly, removing the requirement for meter readings.
Smart meters can be a great asset to your company; data will help you to lower your usage and will give you the opportunity to address irregularities as they happen. In addition, they can assist small businesses to make decisions about investment in consumption reduction initiatives.
As well as providing clear information about your energy consumption a smart meter enables precise billing. Gone will be estimated bills. Your business will be charged for its monthly energy use for the month just gone. This is particularly inviting if your business has several sites that are geographically separated. It will mean that staff will not be required to provide meter reads to prevent inaccurate billing.
There is a further reason that is unrelated to the individual business or site that smart meters are useful which relates to the so-called SMART GRID. In energy circles you often hear talk of the energy trilemma, it refers to the constant tension between three different energy requirements. These are the security of supply, environmental sustainability and affordability.
When we speak about the security of supply we are referring to the ability of energy suppliers and the infrastructure that delivers that energy to provide for current and future demands. Environmental sustainability is just as it sounds and is concerned with the ability to provide the energy in a manner that will allow all future generations to meet their energy needs whilst minimising the effect on the environment. Finally, is affordability, this issue is about providing energy at a price that is affordable to all.
Clearly the three things are not necessarily pulling in the same direction – it might be possible to have all our energy from renewable sources but with today’s technology the price is likely to be prohibitive. Equally investment in infrastructure to meet growing demand means more cost pressure to the consumer’s energy bill.
So how do Smart meters, or the smart grid, help balance the trilemma? Security of supply is about providing the right amount of energy at the right time and smart meters will allow us to input to the system just the right amount of energy reducing waste and therefore increasing efficiency. This coupled with increased consciousness on the part of the consumer about how they use their energy mean that we are reduce the demand on the environment.
So, smart meters are good for you, you will understand your consumption better and be able to work at reducing consumption. They are good for suppliers, they are better able to balance the demand for energy with the supply. They are good for the environment, they increase efficiency and reduce waste.
If you are interested in how smart meters might work for your company please give us a call we will be happy to help.