Businesses are not making the most of energy meter technology, according to new research by the energy industry

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Despite the government's directive that businesses must have an advanced or smart meter installed by 2020, UK business owners are not making the most of energy meter technology.

A government directive dictates that businesses must have an advanced or smart meter installed by 2020. But 87% of the 1,000 small and medium enterprise (SME) leaders surveyed said they were not using the technology, while 61% said they never make use of the information from their energy meter – smart or otherwise.

Andy Nash, Operations Director of Opus Energy, the business-to-business energy supplier which conducted the research, 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.”

Only 23% of those who do use the information from their energy meter do so with a view to making changes to their energy consumption, while 26% use the data to budget for energy usage.

When asked which features of a smart meter are, or would be, useful to the running of their business, the SME leaders stated:

  • It provides actual meter readings for billing, rather than estimates (47%)
  • A display pad to show real-time energy consumption (39%)
  • Being able to program the smart meter to turn off appliances during peak price times (31%)
  • Energy consumption data given on a daily basis (31%)

Case study:

TriRunning was a sports and athletics retail start-up when it became an Opus Energy customer in late November 2011. Managing Director Gabrielle Deere wanted to know how much she should budget for the Northampton-based shop’s energy usage, so was keen to install a smart meter. Opus Energy has teamed up with TriRunning to give training in how to use their smart meter to monitor and budget energy usage, helping to save the business energy and money.

Gabrielle says: “I could see spikes in my energy usage throughout the week, which correlated with the shop’s opening hours. There was an unexpected surge in energy usage on one day at the start of the month; I can’t think why this was, so I will log back into the graph to keep an eye on whether it happens again. If it does, I’ll be more aware as to why.”

“The training also made me realise that my employees may not be as energy aware as I am. I’ll therefore monitor the energy usage to show them the impact of the heating and encourage them to turn the heating down if it doesn’t need to be on as high. The same applies to the air con.”

How Opus Energy customers can make the most of their smart meter:

From Opus Energy’s existing SME portfolio 36% (28,623) are already using a smart meter. Opus Energy is now informing these customers about how to benefit from using their energy data. By following the instruction guide on the Opus Energy website, customers are able to log into their online account and start actively using the data to make energy saving changes to their business. Key information available from customers’ online accounts includes:

  • An online step-by-step guide to viewing consumption data (which can be drilled down to every 30 minutes)
  • Tips on how to change energy usage according to times of peak or unexpected electricity use, as shown by the data.

Ends

Notes to editors:

  • Survey based on YouGov data: December 12th, 2012
  • Field dates: 12th to 19th December 2012, 1000 SME respondents
  • The Energy Act 2008 states that medium energy business users have advanced metering installed by 2014, and suppliers of smaller energy users should take all reasonable steps to install advanced or smart metering at their smaller non domestic sites by the end of 2020
  • TriRunning case study and supporting photos available upon request
  • Opus Energy’s smart meter information is available from: http://www.opusenergy.com/smart-meters/access-your-smart-meter-data/
  • Opus Energy customers can log into their online account via the ‘My Account’ link at the top right of the Opus Energy website, http://www.opusenergy.com
  • An interview with Andy Nash, Operations Director, Opus Energy, is available upon request.

For press enquiries, please contact:
Lisa Donohue
FTI Consulting
T. 0207 269 7219
E. lisa.donohue(at)fticonsulting(dot)com

About Opus Energy

Opus Energy is the UK’s leading business energy supplier. The company employs 485 people over its Northampton and Oxford-based offices.

Opus Energy supplies more than 150,000 business locations across the UK with power. Customers include: White Stuff, Paperchase, Stagecoach, Pizza Hut and Virgin Media.

In addition to supplying energy, Opus Energy also purchases power from over 600 renewable generators in the UK which it then supplies to its customers.

Opus Energy was ranked as the highest-rated provider for small and medium energy users in Datamonitor’s 2012 B2B Customer Satisfaction Survey published in March 2013.

The management team has a 50 per cent stake in the business, while GDF SUEZ holds 30 per cent and Telecom Plus Plc has 20 per cent.

For further information about Opus Energy, please visit http://www.opusenergy.com.

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