You may have a smart meter in your home, but have you got one in your business office space? So far, though, the talk has mainly focused around how they can help owner-occupiers and renters in in the residential sector. But, is now the time to focus on the opportunity for small businesses to keep tabs on their commercial gas and electricity usage?
Here, with gas installation specialists, Flogas, we look into how it can help your business.
The introduction of the smart meter
More people are having smart meters installed than ever before. The government has set electricity and mains gas suppliers the target of making the technology available to every home in England, Scotland and Wales by 2020 – that’s 26 million households in total.
But, what is the end goal for smart meters? To phase out imprecise estimated readings in favour of up-to-the-minute digital energy usage recordings, taken by smart meters. These measurements are then sent directly to energy suppliers and used to generate fully accurate bills, based on actual usage.
You’ll notice a lot of people introduce smart meters to their home, but they can be used for much more. Run a small business with fewer than 10 employees? Then, chances are, you’re entitled to a smart meter too. If in doubt, simply ask your energy supplier or broker. If your energy bills are included in the rent you pay for your commercial premises, it’s the bill payer who needs to make the request for your smart meter – so ask your landlord.
How will this help your business?
Many business owners feel as though they don’t have an accurate representation of their bills, but a smart meter can change this and offer the following advantages:
- No nasty surprises
Bills won’t be projected using estimates from previous energy readings. This means no more nasty surprises, which in turn makes managing your overheads a whole lot easier – a big plus for small businesses.
- Better understanding, smarter usage
The great thing about having a smart meter is that they can show a clear correlation between your workplace habits and essential energy use. Are those three o’clock office tea rounds causing a spike in usage as the kettle goes into overdrive? Is your business wasting energy outside of normal working hours because computers are being left on overnight? These are issues a smart meter can help you identify and, more importantly, act on – whether that means investing in a hot water urn or reminding employees to switch off their machines at night. Developing a heightened awareness and understanding of your energy usage also makes you more likely to make smarter money and energy-saving decisions across your business.
- No more meter readings
Manual meter readings are already disrupting your business. Having a smart meter in place eliminates the need for these. It does its thing, you do yours. Simple.
- Faster response to power cuts
With a large rollout of smart meters, energy suppliers will have the ability to respond quickly to power cuts across the UK.
- A 21st-century approach to energy
Smart meters are a crucial step towards this vision, which will eventually serve homes and businesses alike with greener, more efficient, less wasteful and more cost-effective energy.
- Innovative energy tariffs
You’ll be able to fully understand the price of your energy use. They can also help suppliers identify usage patterns too – and it’s this kind of information that suppliers need to develop new, innovative and increasingly competitive tariffs.
Installing a smart meter
You don’t have to do too much to have a smart meter installed. Once you’ve made the initial move of speaking to your energy supplier or broker (or your landlord, in the case of rented premises), here’s what will happen:
- Agree a time and day
Contact your energy supplier and see if your are eligible for a smart meter — then, agree upon a time and date. They will work with you to ensure this is a time that works for both parties, and causes minimal disruption to the running of your business
- Let your supplier in on installation day
A trained smart meter installer will arrive at your home to fit the product. Make sure you’re there to let them in!
- Plug and play
After your smart meter has been installed, you will be shown how to use it and given the chance to ask any questions if needed.
It’s that simple! As soon as your smart meter is in, your business can start reaping the benefits.
A positive result
Surveys have shown that most people are satisfied with their installation choice too. For example, the Smart Meter Customer Experience Study carried out in August 2017 by the government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy revealed that 80% of those surveyed were satisfied with the technology itself, while 89% were pleased with the installation visit.
Talk to your supplier today, or visit www.smartenergygb.org for more information.