The changing landscape of energy technology has led to numerous developments in recent years, with the chief among these being smart meters, which has transformed how many monitor their energy consumption. These new devices allow you to see how much energy you’re using in real-time due to a display screen which allows you to accurately view your energy consumption, making it easier to identify areas of energy efficiency and cut costs.
Many assume these are just for homes, but they’ve quickly become an integral part of many businesses, especially in the corporate sphere. In 2023, the government set out to install 2 million smart meters across non-domestic sites, which will accelerate the switch to smart metering for many businesses.
In this article, Tariff.com will explore what a smart meter is, how it works, and how it helps you to reduce your energy bills. Below, we will delve into the multiple benefits of a smart meter for your both your business and the planet.
A smart meter is a device the tracks your gas and electricity usage automatically and displays your energy usage in real-time. A smart meter displays how much energy each activity you conduct uses, for example, by showing the increase when you boil a kettle. This will also show you exactly how much these activities cost. Unlike regular meters, a smart meter communicates directly with your energy supplier using wireless technologies to transfer meter readings.
Smart meters are often free to install from suppliers that provide them, so there are usually no upfront costs or investments for your business to consider. If there are any charges, your supplier will tell you upfront. They are not compulsory, but have an array of benefits for your business, and are being rolled out across the UK as part of the government’s Smart Metering Implementation Programme.
This is part of the UK’s strategy to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, making it easier to save energy and switch to renewable options. According to government figures, there are currently 29.6 million smart meters in use across the UK.
Currently, there are two types of smart meters on the market. These are known at SMETS 1 and SMETS 2, referring to the first and second generations of technology. SMETS stands for Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications, with SMETS 2 as the latest form of this technology
The most common type of smart meter is currently a SMETS 1, which uses a 3G network to communicate with your supplier. A SMETS 2 is newer, and feeds information into a central data network that suppliers can access. The difference between the two is that a SMETS 1 will temporarily go down if you switch supplier, whilst a SMETS 2 won’t lose function during the switching process.
SMETS 2 is likely to be the norm going forward, as it has increased reliability. This is because it has a constant data stream, which helps you save money and better facilitate a greener, cleaner energy future.
Below, Tariff has created a list of the 5 main benefits of using a smart meter compared with a regular meter, including why making the switch helps your business reduce expenditure and emissions. Within this list, we’ll explain how a smart meter will help you achieve your energy efficiency goals, and help you embark on your gradual transition to sustainable business practices.
The main benefit of a smart meter is that, unlike regular meters, you can monitor your usage in detail and in real-time. By automatically tracking your usage, you can see which of your activities uses the most energy and cost the most.
This feature allows you to see which of your habits are costing you the most, allowing you to change and adapt far more easily to save energy. This, in turn, results in a more energy-efficient business, getting you on the road to sustainability. Plus, as your smart meter updates in real-time, it’s easy to adjust usage and cut overall your business costs.
Recent research from the Behavioural Insights Team further proves this, as they found that smart meters save an average of 3.4% of electricity consumption and 3.0% for gas usage.
For example, if you’re a large businesses (more than 100, but less than 250 staff) , your average energy usage is likely to be in the region of 25,000 to 50,000 kWh per year. The average energy rate for business of this size is 29.9 pence per kWh, plus a daily standing charge of 160.1 pence. This adds up to a total approximate bill of £15,529 per year.
With a smart meter, you could save an average of £465.87 on your gas energy bill per year, a significant reduction in your business expenditure!
With smart meters, you no longer have to take meter readings for your supplier. This is because your usage is automatically sent to your supplier, who can see the exact amount of energy usage. We know that time is money, and smart meters don’t eat into your business schedule like regular meter readings.
With smart meters, everything is automatically calculated without the need for additional interference, making your meter readings one less task on your to-do list. With the modern screens that smart meters have, you can see a visual representation of your energy usage, and better account for in your monthly budgeting.
Standard meters require regular manual meter readings, which are then sent over to your energy supplier. This process takes time, and your bill is then calculated based on an approximation of your energy usage.
This can result in inaccuracies in your energy bill, an issue which made up 40% of the problems that energy customers came to the Citizens Advice helpline about in 2021.
With a smart meter, this process is simplified. Your smart reader provides automatic, accurate calculations of your energy usage, which is automatically transferred to your supplier. This means no more estimated bills calculations, so you pay for your exact energy usage, instead of an approximation.
You’ll be able to control how often you send data to your supplier, whether you’d like to share it frequently (for instance, throughout the day), or monthly.
Smart meters are often free to install from most suppliers that offer them, and your supplier will tell you if there are any upfront costs for your business. The installation process takes approximately 2 hours, causing minimal disruption to the day-to-day running of your business. Although power and gas will need to be turned off during the installation process, you’ll be able to start using your smart meter immediately after the installation process is complete.
After this short installation process, it’s more than likely you’ll be happy with your new smart meter, with 80% of people reporting that they are satisfied, and half saying they are very satisfied with their smart meter according to the Smart Meter Customer Experience Study.
When you can see in real-time where your energy is going, you’ll be more mindful about how you use your business energy. Unneeded appliances can be switched off, and you can prioritise more clearly which areas of your business you need to spend your energy on. 82% of respondents to a government survey reported that they used it to look at their energy consumption.
When you can see clearly the efficiency of your business appliances, you may target areas that you could make more efficient. For instance, your business lighting solution may be a drain on your energy consumption. You may consider switching to LED lighting, which is more efficient and cost-effective.
Another area you may be more mindful of with your smart meter is your heating solution. In our previous article, we explored measures that can help make your business heating more cost effective and efficient. This may be individual measures such as relaxing your business dress code to allow for the colder weather, or more long-term measures in changing your heating solution altogether.
Tariff has a range of renewable heating solutions for businesses, from heat pumps to biomass boilers and CHP systems. We work with trusted partners to find you the best deal for your business, with a range of renewable energy options available to help you reach your sustainability targets. In addition to helping save on your energy costs, we’ll help you get started on that all important journey to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
At Tariff, we understand that running a business sustainably isn’t an easy task. That’s why we aim to provide guidance and support, taking the stress out of switching energy supplier. Our team does all the work for you, from calculating your energy usage to sourcing suitable providers with the best pricing. What’s more, we will never pressure you into a decision and never advise a supplier that doesn’t deliver on quality and affordability.
Yet that’s only part of what we do here at Tariff. As a net-zero consultant, we’ll help you to implement renewable changes, no matter how big or small. One of the steps our expert team may suggest for your business is switching to a smart meter. This way, you can closely monitor your energy efficiency, and pay a more accurate bill. Knowing where your energy going is the first crucial step in understanding your business utilities, and in setting achievable targets to become more sustainable.
With your smart meter, you’ll be able to start evaluating your energy usage and where you might want to make changes in your business. Using our 5-step strategy, we can help you target these areas and reduce your energy usage.
Reducing your energy consumption is the first step in cutting your business costs and reducing your carbon footprint, beginning you on the journey to net-zero. With Tariff’s team of experts, we’ll help you to monitor your energy use and identify areas where you could improve efficiency. Our consultants will get to know you and your goals, providing guidance each step of the way.
We have an array of services on offer for business electricity, business gas, and business energy and water. Our team will take care of all the paperwork and administration work, saving you time so that you can focus on getting business done. We know that staying with the same supplier isn’t always the most rewarding, and you could be offered a better deal elsewhere. With Tariff, we will do all the research for you and present the best deals available to you.
Whether you’re looking to switch energy provider, change your heating solution, or make the transition to renewable energy, Tariff is here to provide support and guidance. For more information about our energy switching service, or any of the above, contact our team of experts today.
At Tariff, we’ve made a firm commitment to helping businesses from all sectors adjust their energy usage habits. We have extensive experience in securing businesses the best possible deal on their gas and electricity, as well as preparing them for the looming 2050 deadline for net-zero emissions.
Whether you’re uncertain of your business’ future in energy, or you’re ready to make the move to a cleaner and brighter future, get in touch with our knowledgeable team today to find out how Tariff can help your business begin its green journey.