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Smart meters are a new type of energy meter which display your gas and electricity usage in real time, so you can see exactly how much you’re spending on your energy.

According to a report by the UK government, around 11.3 million smart meters have been installed in domestic properties across Britain as of the end of March 2018, with 1.02 million installed on non-domestic sites.

Though these figures certainly sound impressive, they’re actually lower than expected. The government’s push to roll out smart meters to 26 million properties by 2020 is running behind schedule. These latest figures show that the national initiative — which has been in play since 2015 — is less than 50% complete.

However, the last year has seen a real push from energy firms to ensure they meet these government targets, which means that more and more people will be offered a smart meter for their home or business in the coming months.

For businesses, it means that smart meters are likely to make their way to offices and stores, so managers now need to decide whether or not a smart meter is the right step for them financially.

We’ve weighed up the pros and cons below to help you determine whether a smart meter is right for your business, and why embracing the change earlier rather than later might help you save money in the long run.

Why smart meters are important

The government’s initiative to see smart meters in the nation’s homes and businesses is designed to help the UK become a nation that’s better at saving energy and money — especially those under financial stress.

Smart meters calculate your energy usage based on automated readings every half-hour or so. By providing suppliers with more accurate data about your usage, you end up paying for the energy you actually use, rather than what’s predicted.

Will smart meters benefit businesses?

There are a number of reasons why businesses should embrace the rise of smart meters in commercial properties:

- It’s free — Energy suppliers won’t charge you for the installation as the set-up costs are already being swallowed up by current tariffs.

- You don’t get stung by bad estimates — Suppliers get much more accurate readings, meaning you don’t get charged too much or end up paying too little, only to get an unexpected bill to make up the deficit later. In this way, smart meters help you avoid cash flow issues.

- You won’t need to submit readings — You won’t need to find the time to take readings from your electricity and gas meters and then submit them to your supplier: smart meters do this automatically on your behalf.

Despite these reasons for optimism, there are a couple of things that might explain why some businesses are reluctant to adopt the new model:

- There could be compatibility issues — Not all smart meters will send data to new suppliers should you switch your provider after installing one. You may need to contact the energy provider you wish to switch to before moving accounts. When you choose Love energy Savings, we’ll communicate with your supplier on your behalf to ensure that switching is quick and easy, regardless of whether or not you have a smart meter.

- It can take time to see any financial benefit  — Smart meters don’t automatically save you money; they’re designed to help you reduce your energy usage by displaying real-time data that you and your staff can take action on. Over time, this can help you to save money, but it’s reliant on you and your team to change your habits when it comes to energy usage.

If you want to get the most from a smart meter, it’s essential that you review your energy usage. If you’re already creating an eco-friendly culture in your business — encouraging and perhaps even incentivising your employees to reduce their energy usage wherever possible — then the introduction of smart meters will simply provide a tool to measure their success and help refine your approach.

In this way, smart meters could be a major step forward for your business.

Want to know a little more about smart meters in your business? Check out our comprehensive guide to smart meters. Be sure to also check out our top 10 energy-saving tips for your office.

Image courtesy of Which.co.uk.