A Guide to Smart Meters for Business

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Smart meters are set to revolutionise the way energy is measured and monitored in the UK over the next few years, but what are smart meters and what do they mean for your business? Read on to find out.

What are smart meters?

Smart meters are a form of new technology that monitor the gas and electricity use of a business or household. Smart meters as devices are set to be introduced in homes and business premises throughout the UK in the coming years, and are considered to be more user-friendly than existing meters due to the way they present information. Smart meters provide real-time information of usage to consumers and suppliers, as well as ensuring customers are only ever charged for the electricity they use. The idea is that smart meters will avoid the issue of inaccurate billing and estimated bills.

Smart Meter Roll Out

The government has said that the rollout of smart meters has to be finished by the end of 2020, the rollout of smart meters begun in households and small businesses with premises in 2014. Many suppliers had begun preparing by fitting smart meters ahead of schedule earlier than 2014 due to the size of the task.

Why is the rollout of smart meters being enforced by the government?

The decision to enforce the introduction of smart meters in the UK was taken after a consultation with Ofgem, the energy regulator, which concluded that the technology will have a range of benefits. The believed benefits of smart meters include supporting the UK's attempts to improve its low carbon credentials, as well as promoting a cheaper energy supply and ensuring consumers have more information at their disposal in order to reduce their bills. The project should also mean suppliers can reduce the amount they spend on customer service and meter reading. The nature of the devices also means that they enable users to review their energy usage and take steps to reduce it, while customers with the necessary resources can sell excess energy that they've generated back to the grid.

How much do smart meters cost?

Installation of a smart meter at your business premise is free.

How are smart meters being paid for?

The estimated cost of the smart meter initiative is £7 billion, and this will be passed on to consumers via their energy bills. However, it is said that the increases will be small, and that by 2020 non-domestic customers should benefit from lower bills to the tune of £100 a year.

Some facts about Smart Meters

  • The idea of having real-time access to information regarding the amount of energy you're using is designed to give you the power to keep a tighter rein on the amount you consume. This helps to keep bills lower and reduce carbon emissions.
  • With the introduction of smart meters, new services and tariffs should follow due to the capabilities of the technology.
  • The meters make it easier for providers and networks to monitor supply, meaning that if there are any problems they should be alerted quicker and, as a result, respond sooner.
  • Energy suppliers can read the smart meters remotely.
  • The technology supports 'time-of-use' tariffs - a system where consumers are charged varying amounts depending on when they are using their energy.
  • For any consumers who generate their own electricity too, the meters will be able to provide a better reading of how much they're exporting back to the grid. This should improve the accuracy of payments made under the Feed-in Tariff scheme.

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