By now, you may have heard about a new phase of smart metering being promoted by energy suppliers, however, you might be unsure whether it is something you need for your business. With smart meters in the home giving domestic consumers better control over what they’re using, there are still many SME business customers who aren’t benefitting from a very useful piece of equipment.
What is a smart meter?
Smart meters are often referred to as ‘SMETS’ which stands for Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications. A smart meter is a device that records your consumption remotely sending regular meter readings through a Data Collector (DC) and to your supplier to use for billing, so you don’t have to.
Why should I install a smart meter?
A smart meter can be a useful way to understand how and when you’re using energy as well as:
- Ensuring suppliers get regular meter readings giving you accurate bills and no nasty surprises.
- Saving time, and the effort of having to read meters yourself, particularly those in awkward places.
- Giving you the ability to monitor usage better for efficiency and reduction.
SMETS1, the first phase of smart metering, has been around since 2013 and has helped a lot of businesses, albeit with some flaws.
The issues with SMETS1 were:
- Poor signals, particularly in rural areas.
- They were supplier-specific meaning it was rendered useless if you moved supplier.
The new SMETS2 phase has kept the useful elements of phase 1 with the additional benefits of:
- Improved communication using a link between meters to boost signal issues meaning that the more people that have them, the better the communication will be.
- Communications over a data network allowing them to be compatible between a wide range of suppliers, so when you switch, your meter can still work.
- Distributors will have access to the data to allow better grid support.
- You’ll be able to use the data for advice on energy usage.
How do I request a smart meter?
Most suppliers have committed to Ofgem to have a certain percentage of their customers using SMETS2 smart meters so are keen to get as many customers booked in for installations as soon as possible. Suppliers have also put new procedures in place to ensure that their installers are following government guidance for social distancing.
Simply contact your supplier and ask them about whether a SMETS2 meter would be suitable for your supply and they should be able to steer you in the right direction. Alternatively, call our contracts team on 024 7669 8885 for further advice.