THE FUTURE OF ENERGY FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Whether you own a bakery, have your own plumbing business, or work as a hairdresser, you’ll know how important energy is to your business. We know that engaging with the energy market can be time consuming and confusing, but the rollout of smart meters can help small businesses now and in the future.
We’ve worked with Cornwall Insight and Dr Jeff Hardy from Imperial College London to bring to life and explain how smart meters could help small businesses in the future. Find out more below:
The challenges for small businesses and energy
As a small business owner, you’ll often have a seemingly never-ending list of tasks to complete. So, finding time to look into what different energy suppliers are offering may not be top of your to do list! And that isn’t the only issue…
Accessing your energy usage data isn't always straightforward, meaning comparing prices and offers to find the best deal can often be confusing. But ignoring your energy usage could be a costly mistake.
52% of business owners predict they will need to cut overheads in order to survive, including reducing their energy costs. So now is a great time to look ahead and plan how you can engage with the energy market in the future.
How can smart meters help small businesses?
We know that engaging with the energy market can be complicated for small businesses, but the smart meter rollout is helping to address the challenges.
Smart meters are helping businesses to gain more control of their energy usage, saving time and money in the process – now that’s smart! From the companies who have already taken up smart meters, some have recorded up 11% reductions in energy use, worth up to £135 a year on average.
Smart meters also mean accurate, not estimated bills, so you only pay for the energy you use. As many as 68% of those planning to install smart meter are doing so because they want an accurate reading of their energy usage.
But that isn’t all! 67% of businesses wanting a smart meter are doing so for the environmental benefits. When you get a smart meter installed, you are helping create a smart energy system which could ultimately help reduce our carbon emissions as a nation.
Smart meters are also enabling a range of new products and services, specifically to help small businesses manage their energy usage. Find out how below:
What tariff matchmaking could look like in the future
With your consent, energy tariff comparison websites could find you the best tariff for your business, based on your energy consumption data from your smart meter. This could be the future of tariff matchmaking!
These websites would compare your energy consumption levels, patterns and costs with other similar businesses (anonymously, of course). They would then use this information to show you the best energy suppliers and tariffs for your business. Sounds much easier than scrolling through hundreds of tariffs yourself, doesn’t it?
As these services develop, you may also be able to access other products through these websites such as phone contracts, broadband and insurance. Essentially providing a one-stop-shop for all your business needs.
This would reduce the time, effort and experience needed to get the best deal. So, you could save time searching for the most cost-effective tariff, and spend more time on what is important - your business!
How energy usage could be managed in rental properties
Are you a landlord of business premises which you rent to a variety of businesses? Or a business owner who rents part of a building or premises? Either way, in the future, managing your energy tariff(s) could be much simpler…
Energy contracts could be secured for a whole premises. For example, a shopping centre (including all the rented shops within it), instead of every individual shop paying for their energy usage separately.
This energy contract could use energy data from smart meters to understand the energy usage patterns of each tenant. So the supplier can provide energy to meet the specific needs of each business.
This would provide both the landlord and tenant with a wider range of energy tariff options, and therefore more benefits:
- For tenants, this could mean a fixed monthly fee for all of their energy service needs. This would lead to predictable and potentially lower energy costs. Meaning less stress when the energy bills come through – great!
- For landlords, these benefits could attract different tenants, and increase the loyalty of tenants already there.
A win-win for the landlord and the tenant!
How electric vehicles could be charged to suit your business
Are you one of the 33% of businesses who are planning to transition to hybrid or electric vehicles? If you are, you’ll be happy to hear that in the future, you could cut your electric vehicle travel costs with a smart meter enabled tariff. These tariffs would be designed to reduce the cost of charging your electric vehicle when you’re least likely to need it – at night.
And to avoid any confusion between your travel costs and your business running costs, you could use your smart meter to separate your electric vehicle charging costs with the rest of your businesses’ electricity consumption.
Each trip you make could also be recorded, which would make it easy for you to bill your travel costs to each client.
Haven’t got a smart meter for your small business, but want one?
Smart meters are helping small businesses around the country save time and money by taking control of their energy use. Smart meters send your energy readings directly to your supplier, meaning accurate bills and an end to time spent submitting manual meter readings. Freeing up your time to focus on your business instead.
To request yours, simply enter your energy supplier in the box below and we’ll connect you. If your business works with a Third-Party Intermediary (TPI) or broker, please contact them directly to request your smart meter.
Want to find out more?
- How to request a smart meter - Find out how you can get a smart meter for your small business.
- The benefits of smart meters for small businesses - We lay out all the potential benefits in getting a smart meter for your small business.
- Money saving tips for small businesses - Our top tips to help your small business cut costs.
How long does installation take?
Installations normally take about two hours and are arranged in advance so that you can make any necessary arrangements beforehand to ensure minimal disruption to your normal business operations.
Can I arrange installation outside of working hours?
Energy suppliers will work with you to find a time that’s convenient for you both. Some suppliers offer installations on a Saturday or in the evening to minimise disruption to your small business; please speak to your supplier to find out what is available.