What is the Smart Grid?
A smart energy system is being developed in the UK that uses digital technology to revolutionise the way that we generate and use energy. In the past, the electricity grid (aka National Grid) was formed of basic connections with electricity flowing from the generator to the end user. These grids have evolved to incorporate advanced means of communication and connectivity, therefore attracting the term ‘smart’. A key component of this energy system are smart meters, that produce accurate data and automatically provide meter readings, so that suppliers and grid operators can actively monitor the electricity homes and businesses require across the country.
The existing energy system in the UK is unable to map the demands accurately, so a lot of energy can go to waste. However, through the smarter energy system, by using two-way communication, the network will better manage the supply and demand of energy to reduce waste. In effect, it works on real-time changes in demand, and can tell precisely where to direct the energy. This can encourage a shift away from traditional peak usage, reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and instead allow us to source energy through renewable generation.
What is a Smart Meter?
A smart meter is an advanced electricity or gas meter, they are replacing traditional meters. They work by automatically sending meter readings to your energy supplier. They calculate how much energy you’re using and what this costs over time. The industry refers to smart meters as SMETS (Smart Metering Equipment Technical Standard). There are two different types; SMETS1 (comms sent via a 3G mobile network) and SMETS2 (comms sent via a purpose built network). If your smart meter was installed before 2018, it will likely be a SMETS1.
SMETS2 however, use the latest technology and are becoming more commonplace. They provide the highest level of security and give businesses greater flexibility over switching. The telecommunications network is operated by the central Data Communications Company (DCC), meaning it is not fixed to a single utility supplier. This means it’s easier to switch supplier and you won’t lose any of your smart meter features. If you have a SMETS1 meter, the DCC will work to migrate this to the new network in line with industry timelines.
The benefits of Smart Meters
Accurate billing – regular meter readings ensure your monthly energy bills reflect actual business usage
Automated readings – usage data is sent automatically meaning one less thing for you to have to do each month
Improved security – data is transferred over a private, secure connection, meters use tamper detection technology
Understanding usage – get access to detailed energy data, to better understand usage and change habits to reduce costs
Control costs – can be switched to a pre-pay service if you need help managing your payments and budgeting
Lower carbon emissions – helps the energy network understand demand and match this with renewable generation
The future of Smart Meters
There are reassuring signs that the uptake in smart meters is steadily increasing. In the UK alone, there were 23.6 million smart and advanced meters in homes and small businesses at the end of 2020, a 12% increase from the previous year. Smart meters are an effective tool in helping your business save time and money. Furthermore, they are a fundamental component of our smart energy system, and in the wider agenda on climate change, play a major step in building a sustainable future.
Having a smart meter ensures the UK can continue the transition to sourcing renewable energy, by enabling vital data to be shared with generators, suppliers and network companies to accurately balance demand and supply. We are actively supporting the switch to smart meters for the business community, by installing the latest technology at no extra cost for all SmartestEnergy Business customers.
Get a Smart Meter today
If you are a SmartestEnergy Business customer currently without a smart meter, please contact our Metering team in the first instance who will check if your supply is eligible to have one. If so, they will be able to arrange installation at a day/time convenient to your business, and with minimal interruption to your supply. Please register your interest with our Metering team here:
If you are a SmartestEnergy Business customer with a smart meter, and would like access to your detailed smart meter data to help better understand your usage, and therefore aim to reduce energy consumption and lower your energy bills, please contact our dedicated, UK Customer Services who will be able to assist with your request: