Commercial Smart Meters: A Guide For Business Owners

Written by Chris Richards, Managing Director

Smart meters are an ingenious way to monitor your business' energy usage, costs and environmental footprint. With that in mind, they are an incredibly useful tool to help reduce your business's energy bills and optimise the efficiency of your energy use.

While the benefits of having a smart meter installed are already undoubtedly compelling, they can seem vague without further investigation.

So it begs the questions:

  • What exactly is a smart meter?
  • How does it work?
  • And can it truly help me manage my small business' energy usage and costs?

To help answer these questions, the Utility Saving Experts have put together a whistle-stop guide to business smart meters and why you should be using one.

What's more, if you're looking to switch your business energy provider, you can find a useful guide and comparison tool here.

What is a smart reader?

A smart reader is a digital electricity and gas energy meter that utilises wireless technology to measure and provide remote meter readings for display on an easily accessible communications hub.

While smart meters keep track of the energy small business owners have used over month-on-month, they also calculate the current, energy-specific bill they've incurred as a result.

This energy consumption data is then fed directly back to the energy supplier, ensuring an accurate record of energy usage is kept, eliminating the need for estimated bills and thus, the risk of miscalculation.

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Why should my business have a smart meter installed?

There are numerous reasons your business should have a smart meter, several of which have been touched upon already. Perhaps the most compelling of these are:

Financial

Not only does a business smart meter allow you to accurately track exactly how much energy you use, but it also provides the opportunity for you to optimise your usage too.

In turn, this will enable you to distribute and save energy usage more efficiently, reducing your carbon footprint and bills over time.

Likewise, the direct link between your smart meter and your energy supplier, via means of "smart readings", will instantly make your bills more accurate. Thus, unwelcome under or overpayments will be eliminated.

Time

Install a smart meter and you will no longer have to spend time submitting monthly meter readings to your energy supplier.

As stated above, your smart meters work by sending readings directly to your supplier, forgoing the need to take readings yourself.

It costs nothing

All energy companies provide smart meter installations and the vast majority do so by default. However, if you didn't get a smart meter, you can request a smart meter at no extra cost.

It's part of the UK government's commitment to reducing energy use

The UK government hopes to have smart meters installed in all homes and businesses by June 2025. This is part of the process of upgrading the UK's outdated energy industry and achieving the target of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Essentially, smart meters are integral to the future of UK business energy and to the future of our planet.

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Can a smart meter help me with the cost of my business energy bills?

Absolutely. A smart meter breaks down your energy bills into their most basic, constituent parts. As a result, you'll be able to identify, to the kilowatt-hour (kWh), precisely how much energy you're using.

From there, the smart meter will also accurately calculate the amount of money that energy use costs in pounds and pence. Consequently, as a business owner, you'll be able to recognise areas where saving energy is possible, thus reducing your energy bills.

Crucially, the more efficient distribution of energy also enables small businesses to reduce their overall carbon footprint.

With green taxes like the Climate Levy Charge introduced to penalise businesses that fail to meet new sustainability standards, a smart meter could also reduce the risk of your business incurring unappealing additional fees.

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Do all energy suppliers offer smart meters to businesses?

Yes. As stated earlier, the UK government hope to install smart meters in all UK homes and businesses by the end of June 2025.

In fact, the new series of smart meters, the SMETS2, are registered through a government database and thus, are projected to simplify the process of switching energy suppliers as, moving forward, all suppliers will use and install the same smart meters.

With the variety of different energy providers available, it is a considerable advantage to have all business energy companies able to use the same smart grid and meter database.

Thus, as we transition to increasingly green energy and attempt to reduce our energy usage, smart meters will be offered to all businesses.

If you're planning to switch your business energy provider, use our free business electricity provider and business gas provider comparison tools to help find the best deal.

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FAQ's

The key benefits of smart meters for business are:

Saving money

Smart meters allow business owners to track their energy use with precision.

This accurate data, regarding the energy that businesses are using and where and how much it is costing them will enable business owners to identify areas that energy could be saved and thus reduce bills.

As the screw tightens on our unsustainable fuel usage, smart metering also helps reduce the risk of businesses succumbing to current and projected green tax penalties.

Plus, due to a new smart meter being entirely free, businesses only stand to gain money from their installation.

Saving time

Due to the direct smart link between a business' meter and the energy supplier, the need for the manual submission of monthly meter readings is irradicated, saving business owners cumulative hours of time.

Futureproofing

Over the next decade, the energy sector is to undertake a transformation. Old, unsustainable, carbon-rich fuel sources will be discarded in exchange for environmentally friendly alternatives.

This process also requires businesses and households to reduce their energy consumption, giving the energy sector the opportunity to rely upon renewable energy sources more readily.

Installing a smart meter on your business premises will help you reduce its energy consumption and prepare it for its own green transition.

No. Installing a smart meter on your business premises is free, makes your business more energy-efficient, saves you money and simplifies the process of paying your energy bills.

The only real criteria you need to meet to secure your smart meter is whether or not your current supplier of energy is currently installing smart meters in your area.

As part of their national rollout, the UK government is implementing a supplier-led operation. Any location with a gas and electricity meter is capable of receiving a smart meter upgrade, as long as their business energy supplier is installing them.

If your provider isn't currently installing meters in your area, don't worry, they will reach you in time.

To take manual meter readings from your gas meter, you'll simply need to press a button to "wake it up".

The button will either be an "Ok" button, a red "A" button or a round button next to two arrow buttons. Once pressed, the reading will appear on the small digital screen.

To take a manual reading on your electricity meter, simply read it off the screen, as most electricity meters display the reading at all times.

However, on some, you may need to press the "Ok" or "A" button to summon the reading.