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SMART Meters – Fad or Fab?

14 December 2018

SMART meters or SMETS (Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications) are a device that can be installed at your business premises in order for you to track your energy use more accurately.  The Government have a target to install every home and non- domestic premises with a SMART by the end of 2020. However, many experts in the energy industry are doubtful that the target will be met. Customers don’t have to have the meter installed but It is up to each supplier to ensure that their customers are offered SMART meters and if the customer agrees they are also in charge of the installation.

Whilst SMART Meters are not compulsory, if you decide against having one installed, you may be limited on which tariffs you can get access to as suppliers may only offer certain rates to SMART Meter users.

According to consumer group Which? Suppliers will have to install 24 units per minute in order for the target to be met. Non domestic smart meter instillations cover around 2million sites and include both private and public sector organisations, and range from small shops to chain stores, from small industrial units to schools.

When SMART meters were first introduced, the saving per household/ SME business was estimated to be around £26 annually, however the figure has since been reduced to around £11. With the news of such a low saving, many people are questioning if they are worth installing, but it is worth noting that the installation of a SMART Meter is not instantly going to reduce the bill. It is up to the household or business to interact with the meter and monitor the usage in order to find ways in which costs can be reduced. It can act as a reminder to turn lights and plugs off when they are not being used just by having it in the room, so while the average saving is £11 but depending on how it is uses there are more potential savings to be made.

SMART Meters could also bring an end to estimated readings, because the meter sends daily usage readings to the supplier via a SIM Card, the suppliers will have very accurate usage and will mean yjr bills received will be for the exact amount of energy that you are using.

One concern that has arisen over the instillation of universal SMART Meters (this means all suppliers can access all meters in order to make the process of switching easier) is the security of personal data. There are some concerns that the meters could be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. This means hackers could potentially gain access to the meter and tamper with bills or steal personal information. However Robert Cheesewright from Smart Energy GB issued a statement to put these claims to bed stating “Smart meters are one of the safest and most secure pieces of technology in your home. Only energy data is stored on a meter and this is encrypted. Your name, address, bank account or other financial details are not stored on the meter.”

If you decide your business could benefit from a SMART Meter, then the process of instillation is very simple. All you need to do is either wait for your supplier to contact you regarding instillation, or contact the supplier yourself, as they may be able to arrange an earlier date than originally intended. You will then arrange a date for the meter to be installed that is convenient for both parties, when the agreed date arrives, the installation will take place and you will be able to immediately start making use of your new SMART Meter.

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