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Are small businesses clued up on smart meters?

New research suggests that only around 1 in 10 small and medium-sized business is already using smart meters.

You'd think the UK's small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) would be making full use of smart meter technology.

They're in the profit-making game, after all - and smart meters give them an opportunity to make a positive impact on their bottom lines. This is because they - the meters - provide live, accurate consumption information to energy suppliers, which makes estimated usage and the higher bills that often come with it obsolete.

Plus, they provide insight into usage, so a customer who has a smart meter can identify where and when they are using a large amount of energy and, where possible, take measures to reduce their consumption. Obviously, less energy used means lower bills and higher profits.

So, having a smart meter looks like a no brainer, right? Especially since many suppliers offer the technology free to new customers and are obliged by the government to take 'all reasonable steps' to install smart meters at all non-domestic sites by the end of 2019.

Well, it's surprising to learn today that the large majority of businesses do not have a smart meter. Opus Energy, one of the UK's leading business energy suppliers whose customers include Paperchase and Pizza Hut, surveyed 1,000 SMEs and found that 87% of them have not yet adopted the technology.

Commenting on the survey results, Opus Energy's Operations Director Andy Nash said:

"We have recognised 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 programme. 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."

The survey also asked respondents to select the features of smart metering that are or would be useful to their business. Just less than half (47%) selected the accurate communication of consumption for billing purposes, while less than a third (31%) thought the ability to automatically switch off appliances during peak price times was a useful feature.

According to the Carbon Trust's report, SMEs using smart metering can save over £1,000 per year - so with precious profit at stake, perhaps business owners need to wise up to the possibilities of smart meter technology.

Image credit: Miss Efficiency