Smart meters have been hovering in the headlines for what seems like an eternity, but have you really been taking in just how important they could be to you?
So far, the average discussions have focused on how they can help owner-occupiers and renters in the residential sector – but are small businesses overlooking a key money-saving tool by not keeping tabs on their commercial and electricity usage? Moreover, businesses should consider changing their energy supplier to one that uses this method. Many electric providers have affordable plans that can suit any business needs. Companies like Tara Energy offer different rates and high-quality service. It’s just a matter of looking at the right place and choosing the best option for the company.
The smart meter takeover
To put the rise of the smart meters into context, the government has set the target of making the devices available to every home in England, Scotland and Wales by 2020 – a whopping 26 million households in total.
So, what exactly is the idea behind this? The plan is to phase out imprecise estimated readings in favour of up-to-the-minute digital energy usage recordings which are taken by smart meters. These measurements are then sent directly to energy suppliers and used to generate fully accurate bills, based on actual usage.
Many households across the country have already been fitted with smart meters by their electric and gas company, but crucially, it’s not just homes that are eligible. If you 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.
What’s in it for my company?
Yes, we hear you. Accurate energy bills are great, but can smart meters offer any other business benefits? In short, yes, and these are just some of them:
- No ugly surprises
No more projected bills based purely on estimated readings means no more nasty surprises, which in turn makes keeping an eagle eye on your overheads a whole lot easier – a big plus for small businesses.
- Smarter usage thanks to better understanding
The display units on a smart meter are designed to show clear correlation between habits and energy usage. Are those three o’clock office cuppas causing a spike in usage as the kettle gets a hammering? Is your business wasting energy outside of office 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.
- No more meter readings
Say goodbye to those disruptive manual meter readings. Having a smart meter in place eliminates the need for these by simply doing its thing so you can do yours.
- Faster response to power cuts
As Britain’s energy network upgrades in line with the mass rollout of smart meters, energy suppliers will be able to respond quicker to power cuts in turn.
- A modern approach to energy
Smart meters are part of a much bigger picture for Britain’s future energy gas supply. To put it simply, the long-term plan is to create a fully integrated smart grid which links different hardware, communications and other technologies together in something of an internet for gas and electricity. Smart meters are a vital step towards this vision, which will eventually serve homes and businesses alike with greener, more efficient, less wasteful and more cost-effective energy.
- Innovative energy tariffs
Smart meters don’t just offer customers a better understanding of their usage; they also help suppliers to identify usage patterns too – and it’s this information which enables suppliers to develop new, innovative and increasingly competitive tariffs.
Right, I’m sold! How do I get one?
Here’s some great news for all the time-poor business owners out there: if you want a smart meter, you barely need lift a finger yourself. Once you’ve engaged in conversation with your energy supplier or broker (or your landlord, in the case of rented premises), here’s what will happen:
- A time and day agreement
Presuming you’re eligible, your energy supplier will be in contact to arrange a suitable time to fit your smart meter. They will work with you to ensure this causes minimal disruption to the running of your business.
- Let your supplier in on installation day
A specially-trained installer from your energy supplier will arrive at the agreed time to fit your smart meter. So, obvious as it may be, make sure you’re there to let them in.
- Plug and play
Once the fitting has been completed, your installer will demonstrate how your new smart meter works to you and your staff. They’ll then be able to answer any questions you may have.
And that’s it! As soon as your smart meter is in, your business can start reaping the benefits.
Lastly, post-installation surveys have indicated high levels of satisfaction from customers with smart meters. The government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy carried out a Smart Meter Customer Experience Study in August 2017 which revealed that 80% of those surveyed were satisfied with the technology itself, while 89% were pleased with the installation visit.
Are you ready to join the smart meter revolution? Talk to your supplier today, or visit www.smartenergygb.org for more information.