Energy meters are an important device for reading the electricity used at a premises. For your business, they can be a valuable tool to help you better understand and manage your energy usage and costs.
If you haven’t had your meter updated in recent years, there’s a chance you could still be relying on an analogue meter. If that’s the case, it might be time to update to a smart meter.
How a smart meter works
A smart meter digitally tracks and monitors electricity consumption, with that information being automatically sent to your energy retailer. Your electricity data is recorded every 30, 15 or even 5 minutes depending on how old your meter is.
With a smart meter you can choose between a time of use tariff or a single rate tariff. By measuring when and how much electricity is used on premises, you can get a more accurate reading of your business energy and avoid paying more than necessary.
Data is generally uploaded every day if your meter is able to communicate with the meter provider’s network (remotely read), if not, it will be saved in the meter and downloaded to a meter reader. If your meter is remotely read you will have access to next day data about when you use electricity. This can help you identify when your electricity usage is at its peak and you can work out what appliances are using the most power.
A smart meter can also notify your Local Network of outages and faults, which can help pinpoint any problems faster and enable you to monitor the quality of your businesses electricity supply. This information can help with minimising the amount and length of outages.
Avoid accessibility issues
Having a smart meter generally allows for remote meter readings, which can help you avoid any meter access issues.
If you have an analogue energy meter, and it is hard to access, this can mean that when it’s time to get a meter reading, the meter reader has to make an estimate, rather than get a current reading. This can be costly to your business.
Just remember that even if you update to a smart meter, you’ll need to make sure your meter is in an accessible area for installation.
Installing a smart meter
Smart meters are manufactured and installed according to Australian standards. Smart meters are now rolled out for any new meter installations or meter replacements, so you will automatically get a smart meter if your current meter needs replacing, however, you can also choose to get one installed sooner rather than later.
Speak to your energy retailer about getting a smart meter at your business premises. They will help you organise a day and time for the smart meter to be installed. You will experience minimal disruption to your electricity supply during installation, but your retailer will provide at least four days’ notice of this, so you can be prepared.
Before getting a smart meter installed, it’s important to understand any fees involved. Ask your energy retailer about upfront costs, how it will be charged, installation process, and any ongoing fees or costs involved, so you don’t get caught out unaware. The costs involved with the installation of a smart meter are often included as a lump sum on your next electricity bill or spread out over a billing period. You may be able to speak with your retailer about how you want this billed.
With a smart meter installed, you have access to much more detailed meter readings of your electricity consumption. Remote read smart meters reduce the chance of estimated billing, which can help you save on your energy bills. If you want to learn more about the benefits of a smart meter, check out some of our previous blogs on smart meters.