Smart Meters Explained

01 March 2017

Smart Meters Explained

Traditional gas and electricity meters are fairly primitive devices in today’s world of iPhones, smart watches, and other always-connected technologies. That said, traditional meters are often just a series of numbers that don’t make much sense to the average person. Smart meters are designed to take metering to a new level of sophistication.

Smart meters are new metering technology whose core function is still to monitor gas and electricity use in your business. They do this in a much more user-friendly way than traditional meters, however, plus they give added benefits. These benefits include presenting information about your gas and electricity use in real time, as well as ensuring you’re only charged for the energy you use.

In other words, smart meters can save you time and money.

How Do Smart Meters Work?

Smart meters monitor your gas and electricity use, but they are not passive devices. Instead, smart meters communicate directly with your business gas and electricity supplier. This means there’s no need to manually read the meter (thus saving you time).

The smart meter’s job is to keep your supplier up-to-date on your energy consumption so they know exactly what you have used in real time. Your supplier then uses this information to create your bills. This results in fewer billing mistakes and does away with inaccurate estimates as all bills are based on real information.

Monitor Your Energy Use

While there is a convenience factor in not having to send meter readings to your supplier when you use a smart meter, there are other benefits too. These include having the ability to monitor your energy usage, i.e., your supplier can monitor your energy usage to get accurate readings, but so can you. Again, this can be done in real time.

When you can monitor your use, you can cut costs. Estimates indicate that businesses can save up to £200 a year by monitoring their energy use and then taking action based on what they learn.

So, the main benefits of smart meters are:

  • Saving time as you no longer need to send meter readings
  • Improving the accuracy of your bills
  • Gaining the ability to monitor and control your energy use in real time

There is another benefit, however, that is likely to become reality as the use of smart meters becomes more widespread. This benefit will come to fruition because smart meters will give energy companies a considerable amount of information about how businesses (and households as smart meters are being installed in residential properties too) use energy.

The information that will be available to energy companies will be on a national and local level, as well as on an individual level, i.e., your business. Energy suppliers will be able to use this information to improve the service they provide. New products and offerings may also become available over the coming years based on the data collected by energy companies through smart meters.

The government laid down plans for the rollout of smart meters–all businesses should have one installed by 2020. Even without the government’s timeline, it makes good business sense to have one installed.

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