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Cheaper business energy with the internet of things


‘Internet of things’ (IoT) is one of the hottest business buzz-phrases of the moment. But what is the IoT and how can you use it to cut business energy bills?

The internet of things definition

The internet of things describes the rapidly growing number of objects – from fridges and cars, to manufacturing components and even food packaging – that collects big data and shares it with other connected objects (such as smartphones) using built-in transmitters.

By enabling these objects to send and receive data, businesses and consumers can reap significant benefits. For example, a connected fridge could automatically place a supermarket order when supplies are running low. A connected car can send insurers details of the owner’s driving habits to help set insurance premium levels.

IoT means cheap electricity for businesses

One area the IoT is making particularly significant advances is in the world of energy – substantial savings on business gas and electricity bills are possible. For example, between now and 2020, the government is rolling out a programme of smart energy meters to millions of UK homes and businesses. Smart meters are connected online and share usage information with customers and suppliers.

Nick Lomax at the Energy Saving Trust says that the smart meter roll-out applies to microbusinesses, which must meet certain criteria; “They must employ fewer than 10 employees (or their full time equivalent) and have an annual turnover or balance sheet no greater than €2 million (about £1.4 million),” Lomax says. “Alternatively they should consume no more than 293,000 kW-hours of gas or 100,000 kW-hours of electricity per year.”

Businesses that meet any of these criteria will be offered smart meters for free between now and the end of 2020. Alternatively, you can contact us at SwitchMyBusiness.com to find out more about smart meters and get a 20-minute no obligation business energy comparison.

Cheap business gas

Lomax says the chief benefits of smart meters lie in firms being able to identify and reduce high baseline usage, particularly overnight, and generally getting a better understanding of how they use business energy.

Lomax also says that products such as MiHome and the WifiPlug allow businesses to connect appliances such as lights and heating systems to the internet so they can be turned on and off remotely.

Greater control over energy consumption is likely to allow firms in future to save more money by reducing their usage at peak times, creating a nationwide ‘smart energy grid’ that is more efficient and better equipped to deal with changes in demand.

“The UK’s smart energy grid is still in its infancy but I think we are on the brink of a very exciting period, which will see a transformation in how our energy system operates,” David Hill at Open Energi, a firm which helps businesses regulate their energy usage.

Volker Beckers at Reactive Technologies, a firm which also works with companies to increase energy efficiency, says: “If the government is to achieve its challenging climate change goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% over the next 35 years, while increasing the amount of energy the UK receives from low-carbon technologies, then investment in smart grid technologies such as demand-side management is essential.”

Internet anywhere

While the UK’s smart energy grid is still in its infancy, David Hill at Open Energi, a firm which helps businesses regulate their energy usage says we are on the brink of a very exciting period which will see a transformation in how our entire energy system operates.

“With the number of connected devices set to soar over the next 10 to 15 years, millions of energy users will be empowered to take control of their usage and demand.”

Business energy

Smart meters are just one of the many areas of business electricity and business gas where confusion reigns. And while significant savings are possible, few will be able to cut business energy bills by 26%, the average saving of SwitchMyBusiness.com customers.

Just 20 minutes is enough for us to compare business energy suppliers and switch you to a new deal (with us taking care of the paperwork). Give us a call on 0330 0100 251 (or request a call back using our form).

Find out more about business energy with our dedicated business gas and business electricity pages.

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