Smart Meters For Business: What SMEs Need To Know


Small businesses have had to make drastic operational changes and go the extra mile to re-engage frugal and hesitant customers who had once been fiercely loyal to their brands. Most have had to grapple with reduced revenue, and as a result, had to make some tough choices with regards to spending. More than ever, the better visibility and transparency you have over your business finances, the easier it is to take control of your spending.
Last update: November 2022

No business can afford to overspend on their energy plans. Smart meters for business can help you to track your business’s energy spending in real time, and take control of your energy usage. You can also track the effects of energy-saving initiatives as you implement them. In this post, we’ll take a close look at commercial smart meters and how they could benefit your business.

Can you get a smart meter for your business?

Yes, absolutely. When many of us think of smart meters, we often think of domestic smart meters. Indeed, of the 17.4 million smart and advanced meters in use all over the country, the overwhelming majority (93% or 15.97 million) are installed in homes. However, that still leaves 1.17 smart meters hard at work in non-domestic sites.

The UK government is keen to make smart meters available to all UK homes and businesses by 2025. As a result, many UK energy suppliers offer smart meters to both their domestic and commercial customers. This includes all of the “Big 6” energy suppliers, and dedicated business energy suppliers. Most smaller suppliers that offer business energy will also provide smart meters.

Most energy companies offer next-generation SMETS2 meters. These are superior to the original SMETS1 meters, especially for business users who will want to switch suppliers regularly to improve cash flow and avoid unnecessary costs. SMETS1 meters use 3G technology to communicate usage data to suppliers. However, when you switch, it is no longer able to transmit data to your new supplier. SMETS2 meters, on the other hand, use a DCC network, meaning that they’re still able to transmit usage data after you switch suppliers.

Will your business benefit from a smart meter?

A business smart meter is completely free to install, and the downtime required for installation is practically non-existent. There are also no running and maintenance costs associated with using a smart meter.

Essential, you have nothing to lose. But you could gain a range of benefits including:

  • Less time spent chasing up meter reads (especially time-consuming across multiple sites).
  • Fair and accurate billing. No more estimates compromising your cash flow.
  • Easier budgeting and cash flow projections.
  • See the effects of energy saving measures in real time.

The more data you have, the better positioned you are to make energy saving decisions that can reduce your operational costs without compromising the standards that your clientele expects of you.

Smart meters and AMR meters. What’s the difference?

As well as commercial smart meters, many energy suppliers also offer Advanced Meter Reading meters. Unless you are a micro business, your supplier will offer you a choice of either a SMETS2 smart meter or AMR.

But what’s the difference between the two?

In operational terms they are exactly the same.

  • Both can record and store profile (half hourly) and polled (monthly read) usage data.
  • Both communicate directly with your supplier to eliminate energy estimates.
  • Both remain in full working order if you a change supplier.
  • Both provide data which can help your business save money and CO2 emissions.

The difference lies in the technology they use. An AMR meter only communicates from the customer to the supplier, while a smart meter facilitates two-way communication between the energy supplier and the business customer.

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Which should I use?

AMR meters have been overshadowed by SMETS2 smart meters in recent years. SMETS 2 can communicate a lot more data than AMR meters, and as a result they are the preferred option for many business owners. Rather than simply logging and communicating profile and polled usage data, they can transmit:

  • Cumulative kWh usage
  • Daily usage
  • Peak kW demand
  • Voltage information
  • Outage information
  • Time of use kWh
  • Peak kW load readings
  • Tamper notifications

smart meter

How to set up a business smart meter

Getting a business smart meter set up is relatively quick and easy. You just need to follow these simple steps:

  • Get in touch with your supplier and tell them you would like a smart meter for your business.
  • They will arrange for an engineer to visit your business premises.
  • On the agreed date, the engineer will fit your smart meter. The whole process takes about 3 hours. However, the downtime is very minimal. The process requires gas and electricity to be switched off for around 20 minutes each. This should be factored into your operations on the day to minimise disruption.

Let us find the right smart meter deal for your home

It’s just as important to ensure that you’re getting a great energy deal at home as it is for your business. Fortunately, we can help you to find the perfect energy deal for your household’s needs and energy usage. Including energy deals that offer free smart meters.

Read more about business energy in these related articles

  1. Business Gas
  2. Business Electricity
  3. Business energy suppliers
  4. Comparing business energy prices online

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Is an AMR meter the same as a commercial smart meter?

While they function in similar ways, an AMR communicates with your supplier differently. It also communicates less information than the new generation of smart meters.

Do all business energy suppliers provide smart meters?

Because the government is keen to make smart meters available by 2025, you’ll find that virtually all business energy suppliers offer smart meters to their customers. Including the “Big 6”.

Do I have to pay for a smart meter for my business?

No. Your supplier will fit your commercial smart meter free of charge!

What’s the difference between SMETS1 and SMETS2 smart meters?

The two generations of smart meters use different networks to communicate with energy suppliers. The earlier SMETS1 meters use 3G while SMETS2 meters use a DCC network. The main difference for energy consumers is that a SMETS2 meter will continue to transmit usage data and communicate even if you switch energy suppliers. The earlier meters, however, do not. Although you can still use them to track your usage. 

Updated on 29 Jan, 2024

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