Smart metering and your business - FAQ

Things to know and myths to bust about smart meters

There are a number of myths and confusions out there about smart meters. So, we wanted to help answer your questions and set the record straight....

Myth 1: The electricity to my business will be switched off all day

No, this isn't true. Each meter takes around an hour to fit and will require the electricity to be turned off for about half an hour. Once installed, a smart meter sends meter readings automatically, and securely. This means accurate bills and an end to estimated meter readings.

We know this can still be disruptive to businesses, so we do book appointments in either 2 or 4 hour timeslotss. We can offer evening or Saturday appointments where needed.

 

Myth 2: I operate from a rented property, so I won't be able to get a smart meter

You'll be able to have a smart meter installed if you pay your own energy bills. 

It's best to talk to your landlord before you register to get a smart meter, to make sure you're not breaking your tenancy agreement, and also so we can have a copy of their written permission.

Myth 3: If I change my energy supplier my smart meter won't work

We only install the latest versions of smart meters. These newer, second generation smart meters will keep their smart functionality if you switch your energy supplier. 

You won't have to stay with the energy supplier who installed your smart meter.

Myth 4: Smart meters need the internet to work

No, they don't. You don't need to have broadband or Wi-Fi internet to have a smart meter. Every smart meter has its own SIM card. It'll send your meter readings remotely over a safe, dedicated wireless GSM network. 

Myth 5: The radiation from smart meters isn't safe 

The smart meters we use have been through rigorous testing and exceed every UK and EU safety standard. Smart meters emit less radiation than your mobile phone, so they're not dangerous to your health. The UK government has published research about smart meters and their safety.

 

 

Myth 6: Everyone HAS to have a smart meter

No, this isn't true. Smart meters aren't mandatory. If you decide you don't want one, you simply need to let us know by opting out of having one. 

There are benefits to having a smart meter installed at your business, such as accurate bills without the hassle of giving reads. Also the more data available to the grid, the smarter the energy system can be at anticipating future energy demands and reducing wastage.

Myth 7: I'll still need to submit meter readings

No, you won't need to read your smart meter because it's smart! Smart meters collect information remotely and automatically, so we’ll no longer need to ask you for meter reads. The more regularly we receive reads, the more specific we can be in helping you to become energy efficient. Rest assured we won’t share your consumption data with anyone. 

Very rarely, if your smart meter loses connection it may not be able to send us an automated meter reading. If this happens we'll get in touch to ask you to take a meter reading.

 

Myth 8: My personal data and information won't be safe

Yes, it will. Smart meters capture and store data about your energy use. You can choose how often they do this, every half an hour, every day or once a month. The energy usage data that you choose to share with us is handled securely in full compliance with data protection legislation and our privacy policy. Whether we share details about your energy usage with other organisations is entirely up to you. Read the smart meter data guide.

Personal details such as your name, address, bank details are not stored on, or transmitted, by smart meters.

The data that we get from smart meters allows us to provide you with more accurate invoices, and help identify products or services that may benefit you. We'll also use the information from smart meters to get a better understanding of when our customers use energy.  It's important to know this because it makes it easier to plan the amount of energy we'll need to keep the lights on for years to come. 

Interested in having a smart meter installed?

If you’d like to register your interest in having a smart meter, please let us know by raising a query via MyBusiness (selecting ‘Registering your interest in Smart’).

We'll get in touch as soon as we start installing in your area and meter type.

 

Register your interest

A couple of other useful things to know

Your business premises and installation

Will I be eligible for a smart meter?

To be eligible for a smart meter, your supply must meet a range of criteria such as being NHH, Profile Class 1-4. There may also be other technical metering reasons why your meter may not be eligible for replacement at this time.

Do I have to pay for the installation of a smart meter?

You won't have to pay upfront to have a smart meter installed. There will be an increase in the metering charges that are currently applied through your energy bill.

Who will install my smart meter? 

Our smart meter installers are fully accredited. Our team have received training at a level appropriate to the installation, including from a National Skills Academy for Power accredited provider or equivalent.

Is there any reason why a smart meter may not be installed?

Almost all our smart meter installations go ahead without a hitch. But every now and again we run into a problem which means we can’t fit one. There are various different reasons this could happen – it could be because after carrying out an inspection we found a health and safety problem, or that we need some extra equipment. If for any reason we are unable to install a smart meter at the time of your appointment, we will be in touch with you to explain what has happened and agree what will happen next.

Metering and data

How to view and download your smart consumption data through MyBusiness

In MyBusiness, you can view and download your smart meter consumption data from as recently as 3 days ago. This is different to your energy bills, which have a cut off date and so are a view of a point in time.

In the “Data Analysis” section in the sidebar, you can view and download the data of up to 4 MPANS at once.
Here you can choose to:

  • graphically view consumption as a line chart of a bar chart,
  • modify the granularity,
  • set the date range (up to a year at a time),
  • and choose the meters to review.

 


If you need to view more MPANS, you can use the dedicated “Data Export” feature (which you can find as an option under “Data Analysis”).
Here, similar filters can be used to export up to 350,000 records (equivalent to Half Hourly interval data of up to 20 MPANS for one year) at one time and download data direct to CSV or Excel.

To choose which sites you’re interested in, select them from the list on the left and use the >> arrows to move them to the list on the right.

Then choose the desired format to download your data.

Reading your smart electricity meter

Your smart meter will automatically send us readings, but sometimes it can take a little while for your meter to start communicating with us or we're unable to communicate with the smart meter. If this happens, we may contact you for a meter reading.  If we need a reading, refer to the below instructions for your specific meter

Aclara (formerly GE) smart meter 
The screen you’ll need to view your energy usage is the Total Active Import screen. This is the default screen on your new Aclara (formerly GE) smart meter and you should be able to take a reading from this. If you need the screen illuminating press button B – it’s the blue button B to the right of the screen. Once the screen is lit, you’ll need to get back to the Total Active Import screen. You can do this by pressing button B a further four times. If you get lost and can’t find the screen you need, just keep pressing button B until you reach the Total Active Import screen. Make a note of the information on the screen, including the zeros, as this is your meter reading you’ll need to submit if your smart meter isn’t yet communicating with us.


 

What’s the difference between a smart meter and an AMR meter?

Smart and advanced meters are two meter technologies introduced nationally to help create the national energy infrastructure needed for a low carbon future.
To understand more about the differences between AMR and smart metering read our Guide to AMR & Smart Metering.