To help create a more sustainable energy economy in the UK, the government has directed energy suppliers to take all reasonable steps to install smart or AMR meters in smaller businesses and homes by the end of 2020.
What are smart meters and AMR devices?
Smart meters are gas and electricity meters that can send information about your energy use directly to your supplier, while AMR is an attached device that transmits the meter reading to them. This advanced metering technology brings two key benefits: you no longer need to manually check and send meter readings to your supplier; and its accuracy means you can wave goodbye to estimated bills.
They can also help you understand your business energy use more clearly and encourage energy efficiency initiatives. As Linda Innes, the manager of a nursery that has recently had a smart meter installed explains, ‘‘I’m always going round turning lights off, so now I’m hoping to be able to show other staff just how much of a difference this is making to our bills.” What’s more, “it’s great to be able to do our bit to help reduce our environmental footprint.”
– Allow you to easily monitor and manage energy consumption, giving you increased visibility of your energy use
– Are capable of sending meter readings on a monthly, daily or half-hourly basis so you can be billed on actual reads
– Allow for two-way communication, so your supplier can interact with the meter remotely
– Can send alerts directly to your supplier if there are any problems with the meter
– Meter readings will be sent to your supplier every month, saving you the time and hassle of providing reads
– Improved billing with actual readings give you more control to forecast usage and budget ahead
Smart meters are installed at a time convenient to you and with minimal disruption, though you’ll need to plan ahead. You’ll lose your gas or electricity connection for between 20 minutes and a couple of hours, depending on the meter you have, where it’s located or the complexity of the install.
For Linda, communication from the company that was to install the meter was key to a smooth experience: “In the weeks prior to the agreed date they were in regular contact, and they checked in again a couple of days before the installation to make sure everything was ok.”
“On the day they explained exactly what they were doing, and apart from the computer shutting down it didn’t affect us at all. We had a couple of power outages as the meter was installed, but we were prepared for these and we were well informed.”
How to upgrade your meter
Head on over to your business energy suppliers’ website, or if you’re a Total Gas & Power customer, you can find out more about the options available to you and request your meter upgrade at totalgp.com/meterupgrade.