Exploring energy: Smart
meters explained

Smart meters measure how much gas or electricity you are using. Smart meters record energy usage regularly and automatically submit readings to your energy supplier. Each meter comes with an optional in-home display that allows you to see your energy usage in pounds and pence. Say goodbye to manually taking monthly meter readings and estimated bills.

Smart meters are currently being rolled out across the domestic and smaller non-domestic market over the next few years.

What is the difference between AMR devices and smart meters?

Some businesses in the UK, particularly those with larger premises or companies operating three-phase equipment are already using a similar technology – Automated Meter Reading (AMR) devices. Similarly to smart meters, AMR devices measure energy consumption and transmit usage information back to your energy supplier. Collection of this data ensures more accurate bills and gives customers the option to access their energy usage data for analysis. Depending on the contract you have with your supplier or meter operator, data is available from your energy supplier on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Businesses therefore only pay for the energy they use each month.

Despite their similarities, AMR devices and smart meters do perform differently. For AMR devices, communication only goes in one direction. Energy suppliers receive meter reads once per month and there is no need for a manual reading. Smart meters are more technologically advanced, they enable two-way communications between the meter and your energy supplier. They are produced to the Smart Metering Equipment Technical Standard (SMETs) and operate through a centralised Data Communication Company (DCC) for their communications to the supplier.

The amount of information provided by an AMR and smart meter also differs. AMR devices only provide kWh information and possible peak kW demand for the month. Whereas smart meters capture a lot more information, including things like: cumulative kWh usage, daily usage, peak kW demand, voltage information, tamper notifications and diagnostics.

Smart meter readings

What’s the difference between SMETS1 and SMETS2 smart meters?

SMETS stands for Smart Metering Equipment Technical Standard, a country wide standard on the way smart meters need to work. SMETS2 is the latest generation, which have improved security and constituency in the market from SMETS1. This means no matter what energy supplier you are with, they will be using the same technology allowing consumers to easily switch between providers without having to change their meter. Ensuring that security and quality of service is maintained.

smart meters

What are the benefits of smart meters?

  • Smart meters send energy usage direct to your supplier, eliminating the need to manually submit meter readings every month. As a result, your energy bills are more accurate, reducing the risk of human error.
  • Smart meters come with an optional in-home display that show you energy usage in pounds and pence, giving you more control over energy consumption and bills.
  • Helps the energy network better understand energy demand across the UK to better match supply.
  • Allows you to better engage with energy management systems as data from your smart meter can be fed into systems like AEMS, giving you greater visibility of energy usage and the role it plays within your business.

How do I get a smart meter?

Government guidelines implemented over recent years now request that all domestic buildings and small business premises must be offered the chance to receive a smart meter by 2020. This is part of an ongoing scheme to make sure that energy usage can be accurately monitored across domestic and business properties more easily.

You can get a smart meter free-of-charge under the Government’s 2020 smart meter roll-out programme. Simply request your smart meter from your energy provider, arrange the time and date for your installation, and a trained installer will be round.

Do I need a smart meter to start using AEMS?

No, you do not require a smart meter to start using AEMS. The energy management system accepts consumption data gathered from both AMR devices and smart meters. Usage information provided by your supplier or meter operator can be integrated with the AEMS system. AEMS doesn’t care where your energy consumption data comes from and therefore empowers all businesses in the control and management of their energy usage.

AEMS monitoring equipment that collects energy usage data is also available for those businesses who do not have an AMR device or smart meter installed. For more information about AEMS click here.