UK Businesses may be missing a trick with their smart-meter technology

Date
05/21/2013

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Research from business-to-business energy supplier, Opus Energy, suggests that UK business owners are not making the most of energy meter technology, despite the government's directive that businesses must have an advanced or smart meter installed by 2020. Of the panel of 1,000 small and medium enterprise (SME) leaders questioned by Opus Energy, 87% did not yet have a smart meter installed, and 61% stated to not ever actively use the information from their energy meter - smart or otherwise. Andy Nash, Operations Director, Opus Energy, comments on the findings: "We have recognized that - even with the government driving forward smart meter installations in order for businesses to make energy savings - it is not yet common practice for businesses to actually use their energy data. This is something we are keen to address as we continue with our smart meter installation program. Businesses are missing a trick on saving energy and money if they don't use the data which their smart meter automatically records throughout the day." Of those businesses that said they did use the information from their energy meter, 26% use the data to budget for energy usage, and 23% use the data to make changes to their business' energy usage. Similarly, when asked which functions of a smart meter would be / are useful to the running of their business, the SME leaders stated: • It provides actual meter readings for billing, rather than estimates (47%) • A display pad to show real-time energy consumption (39%) • Being able to program the smart meter to turn off appliances during peak price times (31%) • Energy consumption data given on a daily basis (31%) TriRunning, a Northampton-based sport and athletics shop, was a start-up business when it became an Opus Energy customer. Gabrielle Deere, Managing Director of TriRunning, wanted to know how much she should budget for the shop's energy consumption, and so was keen to install a smart meter. To highlight the benefits of using smart meter data, Gabrielle has recently been trained by Opus Energy on how to use the data to help save energy and money. Commenting on this she said: "I could see spikes in my energy usage throughout the week, which correlated with the shop's opening hours. There was an unexpected surge in energy usage on one day at the start of the month; I can't think why this was, so I will log back into the graph to keep an eye on whether it happens again. If it does, I'll be more aware as to why. "The training also made me realize that my employees may not be as energy aware as I am. I'll therefore monitor the energy usage to show them the impact of the heating and encourage them to turn the heating down if it doesn't need to be on as high. The same applies to the air con." 36% (28,623) of Opus Energy's existing SME portfolio are already operating on smart meter technology. Opus Energy is now informing these customers about how to benefit from using their energy data. By following the instruction guide on the Opus Energy website, customers are able to log into their online account and start actively using the data to make energy saving changes to their business. Key information available from customers' online accounts includes: • An online step-by-step guide to viewing consumption data (which can be drilled down to every 30 minutes) • Tips on how to change energy usage according to times of peak or unexpected electricity use, as shown by the data Opus Energy

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