Future of Energy

How your meter choice can support the UK’s low-carbon transition (and benefit your business too)

Posted on 09 December 2019
By Andrew Butterfield
Andrew Butterfield
Metering Migration and Deployment Manager, npower Business Solutions

Andrew has 11 years’ experience working within the energy industry, with a key focus on managing the operational delivery of metering and energy management products and services. In his current role as Metering Migration and Deployment Manager at npower Business Solutions (nBS), he is responsible for delivering the Smart mandate, using his expertise to support customers with their metering requirements, whilst ensuring that nBS remains compliant.

When it comes to the way we generate and consume energy, there’s no doubt things are changing – and rapidly too.

Last quarter, for example, saw renewables overtake fossil fuels as the main source of UK electricity for the first time.

At the start of the decade, electricity generation from large-scale gas, oil and coal plants contributed around three quarters of our total demand.

But as of Q3 2019, that’s halved to around 39%, with renewables output quadrupling to 40%, and nuclear supplying the other 19%.

The way in which electricity is distributed is also changing, with a new ‘Smart Grid’ being developed to incorporate many more diverse and smaller generators – and also facilitate greater interaction with end users.

Opportunities for consumers

This brings new opportunities for consumers to participate in the more complex requirements facing National Grid and local electricity distributors to balance supply with demand.

But information exchange is key to this process. So the emerging Smart Grid therefore has to support two-way communication between consumer and supplier, rather than the historic model of a one-way flow of electricity.

Two-way dialogue needed

Many business consumers already have this ‘dialogue’ via Half-Hourly (HH) meters.

This makes consumption patterns visible – so energy distributors can respond more effectively to manage energy requirements, suppliers can invoice more accurately and energy managers can better monitor and reduce energy waste.

But for those consumers with smaller Non-Half Hourly (NHH) supply, getting similar levels of visibility has traditionally been more difficult.

This is where more technologically-enabled meters come in.

Intelligent meters for smaller sites

This category of meters includes both Automated Meter Reading (AMR) and Smart meters.

Although AMR and Smart meters are not the same, they both offer similar features and functionality over NHH traditional meters. These include:

  • No need for meter reads – AMR and Smart meters can be read remotely, so you no longer need to submit manual reads or provide access for periodic meter reading site visits*

  • No more estimated invoices – automated meter reads are taken remotely every month, so your invoices therefore reflect actual, rather than estimated, usage*

  • Access to better value deals – having a clearer picture of your actual consumption means your supplier is better placed to offer you better value tariffs in the future

To find out more about AMR and Smart meters, please contact our Metering Team on 0800 316 0142

If you are an existing npower Business Solutions (nBS) supply customer, we can also arrange a meter upgrade at no extra cost if any of your current meters are traditional NHH models.

But please note, we can only install AMR meters currently. We expect Smart meters to be available in the first half of 2020 onwards.

* As long as your meter is operating correctly. If there is any fault, then there may be a need for manual meter reads and/or estimated invoicing until it is repaired.


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