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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.

The UK Government reports that 21.5 million smart meters have been installed in domestic and SME properties as of the end of March 2020, with 1.3 million installed on non-domestic sites. These figures certainly sound impressive, but they are lower than expected.

The government’s push to roll out smart meters to 26 million properties by 2020 is running behind schedule. However, there is 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, smart meters are likely to make their way to offices and stores eventually, so managers now need to decide whether a smart meter is the right step for them financially.

To help we have brought together answers to common questions to help you determine whether a smart meter is right for your business and why embracing the change sooner rather than later can help you save money in the long run.

What is a smart meter?

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

There are two main types of smart meters – Smart Meter Equipment Technical Specifications (or SMETS 1) was the original model, but there is now a newer version using more advanced technology, known as SMETS 2 which is increasingly used by installers.

Why are smart meters important for my businesses?

The government’s initiative to see smart meters installed 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 30 minutes. By providing suppliers with more accurate data about your usage, your business will pay for the energy you actually use, rather than what is estimated.

Will smart meters benefits 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 covered 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. Business smart meters help you avoid cash flow issues.
  • You won’t need to submit readings — You won’t need to manually take readings from your business electricity and gas meters and then submit them to your supplier: smart meters do this automatically.

Drawbacks of smart meters for businesses?

Despite reasons for optimism, there are a couple of things that might make some businesses reluctant to install a business smart meter:

  • 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 switch supplier with Love energy Savings, we will 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 the 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 adapting your business energy usage.
  • Data privacy  — Some consumers have expressed concern about how their data will be used, all of the major energy suppliers have committed to an opt out clause where you can state that you do not wish your business data to be shared by your energy supplier externally.

How do I get the most from a business smart meter?

By using the data they provide to review your energy usage. If you are already creating an eco-friendly culture in your business — encouraging and perhaps even incentivising your employees to reduce energy usage wherever possible — then the introduction of smart meters will provide a tool to measure the success and help refine your approach.

How do I get a smart meter installed for my business?

By contacting your energy supplier, if you are looking at switching business energy supplier it may be worth doing this first.

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.