These days, most people are familiar with smart meters. Even if you don’t have one at home, you’ve probably seen adverts on television about them. Your energy supplier might even have been in touch to tell you when they’ll be available in your area.
For a long time British businesses could opt out of a smart meter … but the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has put a stop to that. Smart meters are no longer optional.
Businesses using a high amount of energy per year (over 3GWh) will however have the option to choose which type of smart meter they have installed. This choice will not be offered to smaller businesses. Instead, legislation states that they will have a new meter (a SMET2) installed that is not fully tested, so there might be data integrity issues with the newer technology at this point.
This should not stop small businesses looking seriously at smart meters though.
In theory, smart meters help consumers save money on their gas and electricity bills. They work by automatically reading how much energy you’re using and sending that information to your supplier over the internet. Your energy bills are more accurate and you can make more informed decisions about how and when you use energy, helping you save money.
However, smart meters can be so accurate that you initially might find you actually start paying more for your energy than you were before. Doesn’t sound good, does it? But this should be a short-term factor. The meter will show you where you are using energy inefficiently, and you’ll be able to better get costs under control.
We all know there’s more than one way to be stung by an inaccurate energy bill:
- You can end up being charged too much by your energy supplier, leaving you struggling to get your money back
- You can be charged too little, leaving you with unexpected bills to pay – something you can’t afford when you’re running your own business
Smart meters put a stop to all that. Your meter readings are taken regularly and automatically, so your costs become more predictable.
There’s another benefit, too. You get access to live data that tells you how much energy you’re using at any given time, so you can better manage your costs.