How can smart meters help improve cost and efficiency in your company?

Across the UK, countless households are reaping the benefits of the smart meter revolution — but can commercial buildings enjoy the same advantages?

Determining the best way to supply energy — especially if you’re a small business — can be tricky. If you want to find out whether a smart meter could help lower costs and save energy at your company building, find out everything you need to know about smart meters to make an informed decision…

The success of the smart meter in the UK

The rise of the smart meter was, in fact, driven by a government initiative in a bid to make energy consumption more efficient. 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.

Is there a reasonfor this aim to make the UK more reliant on smart meters? The main reason is basically to phase out imprecise estimated readings in favour of up-to-the-minute digital energy usage recordings. These measurements are then sent directly to energy suppliers and used to generate fully accurate bills, based on actual usage.

But the question remains, can businesses benefit from these smart meters and is it worth the hassle of getting one installed? If you run a small business with fewer than ten employees, then you’re probably entitled to a smart meter. Not sure? 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.

The advantages of smart meters in company buildings

Keen to learn more about smart meter benefits? Here is a selection:

  • Better usage

Are 3pm office tea rounds causing a spike in usage? Is your business wasting energy outside of working hours because computers are being left on? A smart meter is an excellent way to determine and detect when your building is using energy the most and can help you become more efficient. From investing in a hot water urn and 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.

  • A modern approach to energy usage

There’s no denying it, smart meters are working — and they’re here to stay. The long-term plan is to create a fully integrated smart grid linking different hardware, communications and other technologies together in something of an internet for gas and electricity. Smart meters are a crucial step towards this vision, which will eventually serve homes and businesses alike with greener, more efficient and more cost-effective energy.

  • No more annoying meter readings

Although not a big deal, having to hang around to let the energy supplier employee into your building for a reading was inconvenient. With a smart meter, this is gone.

  • No shock bills

Gone are estimated readings that turned out to be way off the mark.

  • Better response to power cuts

Our entire energy network is adapting to complement the rise in smart meters. So, energy suppliers can respond quicker to power cuts.

  • Energy tariffs

Due to this meter being generally ‘smarter’ and able to detect energy consumption and spikes in use more efficiently, your supplier has the ability to develop new, innovative and increasingly competitive tariffs.

Great — how do I go about getting one installed?

It takes very little on the consumer’s part to get a smart meter installed in a company building. 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:

  • Sort out a date

Get in touch with your energy supplier and arrange a date and time. Your supplier 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 the worker in to install your meter

For one last time, let your energy supplier’s employee into your building where he or she will install your smart meter.

  • Get to grips with how it works

Once it’s done, the employee will show you how it works. Now’s the time for any questions, too.

Reap the rewards of your new smart meter

Still not entirely convinced that a smart meter is worth the change from your regular meter? Check out recent survey polls from people who use smart meters. 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, while 89% were happy with the installation visit.

This article was researched and created by Flogas, a leading supplier of business gas.

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