Woah! Shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted! As tempting as it is to continue with the theme, we’d better cut to the chase!
Smart Meters are arriving as we speak. The DECC (Dept. of Energy & Climate Change) talk in terms of: 160,000 05‐08 profile electricity meters and 40,000 large gas meters (732 MWhs). These are all supposed to be replaced by 2014 and guess what, DECC and OFGEM are still discussing with energy suppliers the type and capability of the meters to be used, it’s that ‘VHS vs. BETAMAX’ debate all over again.
Worse still some suppliers (and we’re including the ‘big six’ in this) have seen this as some sort of opportunity to tie businesses into long‐term metering contracts, making it difficult to change suppliers come supply contract renewal time, and making spurious claims about ‘interoperability with other suppliers’ meters’.
Lets be clear there may be some technical issues, however, commercial restrictions are certainly not acceptable, and these views we believe are endorsed by the DECC. To make matters worse, there are instances of energy suppliers ringing business customers and telling them they must have a new smart meter by next April…it’s simply not true.
Our advice right now is ‘Hold Your Horses!’ be very careful about any Smart Meter arrangements, get Torse to check things out first…
The Government has passed legislation requiring all suppliers to replace both Electricity and Gas meters with automatic meters for all (but the smallest) businesses by 6th April 2010. It might sound a long way away, but they will have to change 200,000 meters.
Guess who pays? The government has allowed suppliers to pass on all the costs to businesses. This will be either through your supply contract (much the same as it is for most businesses at the moment) or a separate AMR Metering contract. This will inevitably cause some confusion when Renewing or changing your Gas and Electricity supply contracts; the business or whoever looks after your Energy Supply arrangements will generally be able to assist in this area. This information really belongs to the business and so you can sort out all your own metering arrangements and not just keep paying the supplier.
Smart Metering is in the news today and the BBC have produced an overview of how a smart meter works in addition to their discussion on how much you can save with a smart meter. Whilst these refer to the domestic market, there is significant relevance for the business market also.
It’s a familiar story; if you can’t measure it or see it, it can be hard to do anything about it. It seems unlikely that energy prices will reduce over time, and this combined with the focus on Carbon Reduction Commitment for all, should make this a very real issue for most businesses.
Empirical research suggests that simply monitoring consumption, improves awareness and typically consumption will fall. Thus at the most basic level smart metering will help. What Smart metering will do above and beyond the basics for business is provide, up to date accurate information about their consumption.