Should I Get a Smart Meter for My Small Business?
You may have heard a lot about new smart meter technology recently as the government has been increasingly pushing for its adoption.
But just what is a smart meter? Why is the government so keen for everyone to have one? Is it compulsory to have a smart meter installed? And what does getting one mean for your small business? We’ve got all the answers to these questions and more information for you on smart meters right here.
Government Funding Smart Energy Innovation for SMEs
The government plans that by 2020 every household in the UK will have been given the opportunity to upgrade to a smart meter. As for small business, the government recently dedicated £8.8 million to SMEs across various industries to pioneer new smart meter technology.
Nine companies, including Samsung and Toshiba, have been awarded funding to develop innovative technology for use in industries such as hospitality, retail, and education. The aim is to reduce the energy consumption of SMEs in these industries, which is currently equivalent to that of 4.3 million homes, down to around that of three million homes.
Put simply, the government believes that smart meter technologies can make your business more energy efficient, saving you money, and it is investing cash in order to make the technology even better and more widely used.
How can smart meters help your business?
Smart meters are designed to save your business money by giving you accurate real-time readings on your gas and electricity usage. This is as opposed to energy companies estimating your energy usage, and inaccurately billing you based off of those estimates. This adds up to save your business money in the long run.
British Gas, who have installed millions of smart meters across the country already, have revealed one huge way in which businesses could save huge amounts on their energy bills using smart meters. They said that the data they have collected from their smart meters shows that 46% of all energy used by businesses occurs outside of the traditional business hours of 8am-6pm. Smart meters raise awareness of this kind of energy wastage, allowing you to combat it.
Innovation on top of innovation
Some of the new smart meter technologies the government is investing in can also help your business become even more energy efficient, beyond just raising awareness of how much energy you’re using. One of these new systems being developed is called RAE2. It will analyse the data from your smart meter and is able to perform all kinds of optimisations tailored to your specific business needs, based on your data. It will also be able to compile all of the data into real-time displays.
Currently, businesses that use large amounts of energy per year (more than 3GWh) can choose the type of smart meter that they wish to use. For small businesses, however, there is currently only one choice: SMET2. This is one of the newest types of smart meter available though, capable of analysing which appliances are using the most energy in your business, and when they are doing so…
Will upgrading to a smart meter cost my business money?
Energy prices have recently been reported to be on the rise, and this is in part due to the costs associated with the new technology. The government has dictated that energy companies shall foot the bill for the implementation of smart meters.
If you decide to upgrade to a smart meter, then your energy provider is obligated to install it for you for free and teach you how to use your new smart meter to make your business more energy efficient.
Smart meters are not currently legally required, but energy providers are legally obliged to provide them to anyone who asks for one free of charge up until 2019.
It is hoped that the widespread adoption of the technology, aside from making people more aware of their energy usage and therefore more energy efficient, will lead to a more competitive energy market.
While installing a smart meter currently adds an extra step to the process of switching energy providers, as they are currently locked to whichever company installed it, in the future smart meters will simplify this process.
This will create a fairer, more competitive market for consumers. Your smart meter will be able to provide you with real-time market data on different tariffs, and help you easily switch to whichever tariff is right for your business.
Written by Max Robinson from Simply Switch