Business electricity: What is a smart meter & how do I get one?

Understanding revenue and expenditure is key to a successful business. Smart meters offer transparency in this vital area.

Without visibility into day-to-day spending on gas and electricity, working out your bottom line can difficult, if not impossible. High prices and a lack of clarity around energy use are especially worrying for small businesses with a plethora of other priorities and limited resources.

In a 2014 report by Citizen’s Advice, 46% of companies cited mains electricity as the number one cost concern for small businesses. Managing costs is made harder by estimated bills, which make planning and budgeting difficult. How can you reduce your overheads if you can’t monitor what you’re spending as you go along?

Smart power

This is all about to change. Between now and 2020, every home and microbusiness – a business with fewer than ten employees – across Great Britain will be offered a smart meter by their energy supplier.

Smart meters measure gas and electricity use and communicate this information directly to your energy supplier and your smart meter display, using secure wireless technology. These new meters will mean your business receives only accurate bills, with no need for manual meter readings and unpredictable estimates.

The accompanying smart meter display will also give you near real time information on your energy use in pounds and pence, so you can finally take control of your gas and electricity. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has predicted that as a sector, small businesses could save £1.44 billion by reducing their energy consumption.

As a small business owner, having a smart meter installed will help you to see the real cost of the energy you’re using, identify where you can cut back and reduce overheads, and better manage your cash flow.

Smart Grid

Greater visibility around energy use is also essential for a competitive energy market in which everyone is well equipped to choose the right tariff and supplier for them. Once the national infrastructure is complete, smart meters will be fully interoperable between suppliers and switching will become quicker and easier.

Microbusinesses make up approximately 96% of all UK businesses in Great Britain. This means the national rollout of smart meters will have a huge impact on the business world, just as it will for households across the three nations.

Some restrictions apply to eligibility, so it is best to contact your energy supplier for more information. However, as a general rule:

  • If you run a business with fewer than ten employees you will be eligible to receive a smart meter from your supplier
  • If you are a microbusiness that uses their domestic property as their main business premises (around half of all microbusinesses do this), you will be offered the opportunity to upgrade as part of the domestic smart meter rollout
  • If your business is based at home and uses a separate gas and electricity meter you may also be eligible

Smart Energy GB is the national campaign for smart meter rollout. It’s their task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to get their gas and electricity under control.

To find out more about getting a smart meter from your energy supplier please visit: smartenergyGB.org/small-businesses

Or if you want to investigate ways to cut your business electricity rates, give us a call on 0330 0100 251 (or request a call back using our form).

More information on business electricity is available on our dedicated page.

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