Future metering solutions: helping businesses amid an energy revolution

Category : Future of energy

Emerging technology is changing the energy landscape, bringing new opportunities for businesses.

Innovation is giving businesses ways to more accurately record usage, and harness data to identify areas for greater energy efficiency. This developing technology also means that suppliers need to work harder than ever to ensure energy is delivered in a sustainable and affordable way, and that systems are well-equipped to deliver energy as pressure on the grid increases.

Metering is crucial to get the balance right and help businesses stay in control of their energy usage. It’s also the key to unlocking benefits for SSE Business Energy customers. To support this, there are several solutions available or on the horizon, including:

Time of use tariffs

The switch to electricity from less clean energy will continue to develop, particularly with more electric vehicles (EVs) on the road. We’ll increasingly see time of use (TOU) tariffs, where customers pay for power on a flexible basis. Already established in the US, you could say that TOU is a smart version of Economy 7, where prices vary with demand. This should smooth out demand, make the most of energy as it’s generated and reduce reliance on high carbon generators to boost supply at peak times. Regional TOU tariffs could come into effect, which would lessen the pressure on the grid from everyone charging EV batteries at the same time. We’re also likely to see government-mandated TOU requirements to support security of supply.

Load shift and switch

As more and more businesses, particularly large, energy-intensive ones, start to measure their usage in half-hourly increments, the available meter data increases. This means suppliers and customers alike will be able to look at trends and assess when peak periods of demand fall. Naturally, suppliers will want to incentivise customers to shift and switch load – which means adjusting electricity usage – to help balance supply and demand and ultimately ensure a smooth supply of energy. As a result, businesses are set to benefit from options that will allow them to reduce their energy costs. We can expect more new and cost-effective technologies to automate power demand response and store energy.

Smart meters: a stepping stone

Developing a world-leading smart system to deliver secure, affordable and clean energy is key to the UK government’s Industrial Strategy. As part of this, Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, requires suppliers to make all reasonable efforts to help customers switch to smart meters. The ambitious targets mean every small business will be offered electricity and gas smart metering by the end of 2020. We’re moving into a new era of how businesses use, pay for and operate with energy so they need a smart meter to be part of it. Ending estimated billing thanks to remote meter reading is only step one. When coupled with energy management tools – like Clarity – detailed meter data can give businesses a complete view of their consumption pattern. This enables them to reduce usage and in turn costs.

Energy management tools like Clarity

With energy costs rising and customers increasingly looking to reduce their carbon footprint, it’s essential for them to have complete visibility of their data regarding consumption. Using a data platform means businesses will be able to view their usage in a way that makes it easier to spot peaks and dips. For businesses to take control of energy consumption, they need to be able to analyse the data and make informed decisions on where they can improve energy efficiency. That means making use of tools they have at their disposal, such as Clarity, our free energy management platform, which turns meter data into digestible reports. Knowledge is power, allowing businesses to work out where they can save money and be more sustainable.

Improving processes: automated meterline

We’ve recently launched an automated meterline to make life easier for customers by enabling them to leave readings without speaking to an adviser. Automating the meter read process will help free up our advisers to have more meaningful conversations with our customers. We’ll be able to offer advice on how to become more energy efficient, or give insights into how the time of day they are using electricity could impact their bills. As we continue to evolve our digital services, we’re confident customers will reap the benefits of these changes – even if we’re simply reducing the number of calls they need to make.

Energy policy and regulation will continue to develop and evolve to meet our changing needs as a society. But taking on board these solutions can help you take control of your energy future. To get started, talk to your account manager or browse our solutions.

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Adam Downing

Head of Technical Billing

Adam is responsible for meter operations, data collection and aggregation activities within SSE Business Energy, as well as building and maintaining relationships with metering agencies.
View all posts by Adam Downing >

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