Business Electricity

Business Electricity Meters

New business electricity meter installation

Energy can be a huge source of expenditure for businesses – this is how a new electricity meter can help you save money

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Do I need a new business electricity meter?

If you run a business from any kind of premises, whether it’s an office block, a shop front or a restaurant, your energy costs are a major consideration for two reasons:

  • Carbon footprint: The more attention you pay to your energy usage and costs, the easier it will be to reduce the excess energy you use. By making your business more energy efficient, you’ll contribute to a greener, healthier planet – which can benefit your business’s image as well as the environment
  • Energy costs: The specifics of your energy bill will vary hugely according to the size of your business, your premises and the nature of your work. Every business needs energy in some form, and when you count all the possible energy costs – from kettles to vital machinery, it adds up. Taking steps to reduce your energy usage can make a difference to the overall budget

This is why it pays to keep an eye on energy consumption – the more accurate a picture you have, the more accurate your energy bills will be. Sending your provider regular readings of your electricity meter, at least quarterly but ideally every month, will show them what they should be billing you.

What happens if I don’t send regular electricity meter readings?

Without regular updates, your provider will base your energy bill on an estimate, as they’re only legally obliged to check your meter themselves every two years. There’s every chance an estimate won’t quite be on the mark – and providers may end up over- or undercharging you for energy.

If you’re overcharged, it can be a hassle to claim the money back. However if you’re undercharged you’ll start to build up a debt with your provider – and you won’t be able to switch to a new tariff until this is paid off.

This can be an issue if you’re stuck on a pricy tariff as you’ll continue to pay at this rate until your debt is cleared – likely costing you even more in the long run.

What if my electricity meter doesn’t work?

If your electricity meter doesn’t work, or if you believe it’s taking inaccurate readings, you should get it replaced as soon as possible to avoid any extra energy charges.

What type of electricity meter does my business need?

Electricity meters come in a variety of shapes and functions, and the one best suited to you will depend on your energy requirements and the tariff you’re on. The first thing to consider is the type of rate you’ll be on:

  1. Single-rate: A single-rate meter means you’ll be charged the exact same rate for your electricity no matter what time your business is open. This kind of rate is suited to businesses which operate during standard opening hours, such as offices or shops.
  2. Two-rate: A two-rate electricity meter charges you for electricity usage at two different rates, usually defined as peak-time and off-peak. Examples of two-rate tariffs include Economy 7 and Economy 10. Businesses that benefit from a two-rate tariff usually operate during late hours, such as restaurants and takeaways.
  3. Three-rate: Three-rate meters also offer peak and off-peak hours, though they also offer a third rate at weekends. A three-rate meter is likely the best option for businesses open through the weekend, such as clubs and pubs.

What is a half-hourly meter?

A half-hourly or HH meter automatically sends an electricity reading every 30 minutes through a phone line. The meter readings are detailed, and are a good way to reduce your energy usage. As they are fully automated you won’t have to worry about taking manual readings.

If your business’s maximum energy demand is 100kW or greater during any half-hour period in the day, then an HH meter will be legally required. However it will still be an option if your maximum energy demand for any half hour is over 70kW.

You can see if you have a half-hour meter by checking the label: if the top left box contains ‘00’ your meter is half hourly.

Do I need a smart meter for my business?

A smart meter can help your business stay on top of its energy usage and requirements. They work in a similar way to HH meters in that they send automated readings to your supplier, saving you the hassle of doing it yourself and helping you get a more accurate bill at the same time.

In most cases you’ll be able to upgrade to a smart meter at no cost, and it’s worth talking to your business energy supplier for more information.

Do I need a single- or three-phase business electricity supply?

When you look for energy suppliers for your business, you may have to decide between a single- or three-phase energy supply:

  • Single-phase: A single-phase electricity supply is more suitable if your business needs a small amount of power – if most of your electricity is for basics such as lighting or heating, for example
  • Three-phase: A three-phase electricity supply offers more electricity, and is better if your business uses heavy-duty machinery

How do I get a new electricity meter for my business?

If you’re looking to get a new electricity meter for your business’s energy needs, there are a few things you should think about first:

  • When should I get a new electricity meter? If your place of business isn’t already fitted with a commercial energy supply line, you should install a new meter at least a month before the new line is installed. It can take around 12 weeks to have a new line installed if there isn’t one already in place, and around 10-15 days to have a new meter installed
  • What is my MPAN? Your MPAN, or Meeting Point Administration Number, is a unique reference number. You’ll need it to hand in when your new meter is installed. You can normally find it on a recent energy bill, but you can also call your current supplier for it. If you’ve relocated your business and aren’t sure who the current supplier is, you’ll be able to find your MPAN at the Energy Networks Association

To organise a new electricity meter installation, or to have an existing one reconnected, speak to the business energy experts at Bionic. Give them a call on #CAMPAIGNBUSINESSSERVICENUMBER# and they'll be able to help you out.