Smart meters can lead to significant benefits for your small business.
We explore how using Amaryllis Hair Salon, Cardiff as a case study.
But, first it’s important to understand what is a smart meter.
What is a smart meter?
Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters currently being rolled out in homes and small businesses across Great Britain by energy suppliers.
Smart meters digitally measure how much energy you’re using and send your meter reading directly to your energy supplier at agreed intervals – putting an end to estimated bills.
How to get a smart meter for your business
You may be eligible for a smart meter if your business has the following:
- fewer than 10 employees or their full time equivalent (including the business owner)
- an annual turnover of less than £1.67 million; or
- an energy consumption of no more than 100,000 kWh of electricity per year; or
- a gas consumption of no more than 293,000 kWh per yearIf you rent your business space but don’t have your own gas and/or electricity meter, then you can ask your landlord if they plan to get one for your building.
Smart meter offerings may vary between energy suppliers, and each supplier could have different related terms and conditions. You may also be able to get a smart meter if you have a small business with more than 10 employees. Contact your energy supplier for more details.
Benefits of smart meters for small businesses
Smart meters can give you more control over your business’s energy spend thanks to the data they provide. Being more aware of how much energy you’re using and when you’re using it means you can make small changes to make your business more efficient.
Smart meters give you accurate energy bills, so you pay for the energy your business actually uses, rather than through estimated bills. This is because the smart meter digitally measures how much energy you’re using in near-real time, and sends your meter reading directly to your energy supplier at agreed intervals. This means you will no longer have to send meter readings to your supplier, and puts an end to estimated bills.
Smart meters are the foundation of a smarter and more flexible energy system for Great Britain. A smart energy system uses digital technology and data to improve its efficiency. This helps the energy system better manage the supply and demand of energy in order to reduce waste. It will also be able to integrate more renewables into the system. With future demands for electricity set to increase, it has never been more important to upgrade Britain’s energy system to one that is more sustainable and less reliant on non-renewable fuel sources.
Case study – Amaryllis Hair Salon, Cardiff
Tiffany Hall and Rebecca Ryce are the co-owners of Amaryllis, an eco-friendly salon based in Cardiff with six employees. They recently had a smart meter installed by their energy supplier to help save money and make their business even more sustainable.
“We strongly believe in looking after the planet for the next generation, so it’s hugely important to us that our salon is as eco-friendly as possible. We’re always aware, however, that there is more we could be doing, so a while ago we invited an energy advisor come to the salon. Several of the tips she gave us were very simple to do, and we were particularly interested to hear about the benefits that a smart meter could bring to our business, both in terms of sustainability and cost cutting,” the co-owners stated.
“We had already made a number of energy saving measures to the business, but despite this we sometimes struggled to keep track of how much energy we were using or which equipment and activities were causing unnecessary waste and additional costs.
“All that changed when we had the smart meter fitted. It was very easy to arrange and the installation itself was quick and simple. We were instantly provided with near real-time access to our energy use and costs, which has made it much easier to identify what is using the most energy, at what times, and to take actions to cut down. It has also been a very useful tool to help our staff manage our salon’s energy use,” they continued.
Now that they are able to see how much energy each appliance uses and how much it costs in pounds and pence, they are more aware of taking steps like turning the water boiler off or unplugging electrical items from sockets at the end of the day. As well as being better for the environment, this has undoubtedly saved the hair salon a lot of money over time, as the owners are not needlessly paying for energy to run items that are not in use.
“The smart meter has also been really helpful in terms of budgeting, for example during lockdown the business used a lot less energy. Having access to our energy data enabled us to track exactly how much money we were saving and amend the budgets accordingly,” they added.
Ultimately, knowledge is power when it comes to saving energy. It can be hard for small business owners to know where to start when they want to cut their energy use and costs – especially when they can’t see how much they’re using and at what times.
With a smart meter, small businesses will get accurate bills, no more estimates, and the visibility needed to make changes to the way you use energy.
For more information about the how to install a smart meter in your workplace, visit the Smart Energy GB website at smartenergyGB.org
Will my business be charged to get a smart meter?
Through the national rollout, many small businesses can get a smart meter at no extra cost. Depending on your business’s energy supplier and tariff, you may be charged for a part of the upgrade or for access to your energy usage data. Your supplier will let you know about any charges upfront.
Can I get a smart meter if my business is in a rented premises?
Yes. If you pay the energy bills you can make the decision about whether to get a smart meter. If your landlord pays your energy bills, speak with them about getting a smart meter for your building.
How long does installation take?
Installations normally take about two hours and are arranged in advance so that you can make any necessary arrangements beforehand to ensure minimal disruption to your normal business operations.
Can I arrange installation outside of working hours?
Your energy supplier will work with you to find a time that’s convenient for you both. Contact your supplier to find out what is available.