FAQs on smart meters for business

Business smart meter FAQs

A person using pen and paper to write down a reading from an old business energy meter

Why do I need a smart meter for my business?

Smart meters are designed to make life easier for businesses. Once connected:

  • We'll automatically receive regular smart meter readings
  • You won't need to send us manual meter readings
  • You'll get more accurate bills and only be charged for the energy you've used

Why do I need a smart meter for my business?

A person using pen and paper to write down a reading from an old business energy meter

Smart meters are designed to make life easier for businesses. Once connected:

  • We'll automatically receive regular smart meter readings
  • You won't need to send us manual meter readings
  • You'll get more accurate bills and only be charged for the energy you've used

How can I upgrade my business energy meter to a smart meter?

Fill out our get a smart meter form to let us know you'd like to upgrade.

If you're eligible to have a smart meter installed, one of our trusted partners will be in touch to book an appointment that suits you.

We work with third party specialist companies to install smart meters on our behalf including IMSERV, SMS, EAL, and MDS.

A store worker wearing an apron looks at a tablet screen about business smart meters

How can I upgrade my business energy meter to a smart meter?

A store worker wearing an apron looks at a tablet screen about business smart meters

Fill out our get a smart meter form to let us know you'd like to upgrade.

If you're eligible to have a smart meter installed, one of our trusted partners will be in touch to book an appointment that suits you.

We work with third party specialist companies to install smart meters on our behalf including IMSERV, SMS, EAL, and MDS.

Man on phone to customer wanting a smart meter

Why can't I get a business smart meter yet?

Not every business is eligible to get a smart meter straight away. This may be due to meter installation requirements and/or poor network signal.

  • Signal – if you have no network signal or a weak signal at your premise, the SMETS2 smart meter will not be able to send readings to Data and Communications Company (DCC), who manage the communications infrastructure that connects smart meters with the business systems of energy suppliers and network operators. DCC are constantly working on solutions to minimise this issue where needed.
  • Meter type – We're rolling out SMETS2, replacing existing meters by type starting with single phase single rate meters and then moving on to polyphase and switched load functionality meters.
  • Space – some existing meter installations don't provide enough space for the SMETS2 smart meter and communications hub to be installed.

If you've applied for a business smart meter, but we can't currently proceed for any of these reasons, we'll be in touch, or write to let you know your options and next steps.

Why can't I get a business smart meter yet?

Man on phone to customer wanting a smart meter

Not everyone is eligible to get a smart meter straight away. This may be due to meter installation requirements and/or poor network signal.

  • Signal – if you have no network signal or a weak signal at your premise, the SMETS2 smart meter will not be able to send readings to Data and Communications Company (DCC), who manage the communications infrastructure that connects smart meters with the business systems of energy suppliers and network operators. DCC are constantly working on solutions to minimise this issue where needed.
  • Meter type – We're rolling out SMETS2, replacing existing meters by type starting with single phase single rate meters and then moving on to polyphase and switched load functionality meters.
  • Space – some existing meter installations don't provide enough space for the SMETS2 smart meter and communications hub to be installed.

If you've applied for a business smart meter, but we can't currently proceed for any of these reasons, we'll be in touch, or write to let you know your options and next steps.

 I'm a large business.
What type of smart meter can I have?

If you use more than 100,000 kWh electricity, or more than 293,000 kWh gas a year and you're a non-micro business you can choose between an Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) smart meter and a SMETS2 smart meter. Both offer similar benefits, depending on your needs – see the comparison table below.


AMR smart meter SMETS2 smart meter
Automatic meter readings

Accurate billing [1]

Consumption data [2]

Appointment time to suit you

No additional cost to install

Change of supplier Your smart meter should operate with the same functionality as long as the supplier has an agreement with the operator of the AMR meter Your smart meter should operate with the same functionality
When can I get one? Now Subject to availability

AMR smart meter
Automatic meter readings
Accurate billing
Consumption data
Appointment time to suit you
No additional cost to install
Change of supplier Your smart meter should operate with the same functionality as long as the supplier has an agreement with the operator of the AMR meter
When can I get one? Now

SMETS2 smart meter
Automatic meter readings
Accurate billing
Consumption data
Appointment time to suit you
No additional cost to install
Change of supplier Your smart meter should operate with the same functionality
When can I get one? Subject to availability

If you choose an AMR meter now and want to change to a SMETS2 meter at a later date, you may be charged for the new meter.

More FAQs on business smart meters

 

 

Do I need to pay for an upgrade to a business smart meter?
A: We install business smart meters at no extra cost. This does not include new connections. And there may be a charge if you're a non-micro business and you opted to exchange an AMR meter for a SMETS2 meter.
How long does it take to install a business smart meter?
A: A business smart meter installation should take about an hour. Your electricity supply will need to be turned off for about 40 minutes. Our engineers will do their best to minimise disruption to your business.
Where will my smart meter be fitted?
A: In most cases, your new meter (or meters) will be put in the same place as your old one(s).
Why can’t I upgrade my business gas meter?
A: Business gas smart meter upgrades are only available for certain types of meters. We’ll be in touch when we can upgrade yours.
Do I need a strong mobile phone signal on my premises?
A: Yes. During the installation, we'll carry out a test and tell you if your signal is strong enough. If you have a weak signal, the meter won't be able to send smart meter readings to us and our engineer will talk you through your options.
What do you mean when you say a smart meter upgrade is subject to survey?
A: It’s possible that we may not be able to install a business smart meter due to factors that are out of our control. One example would be a poor mobile phone signal at your business premises. For this reason, a survey of your premises is needed. If the survey reveals that we’re unable to install a smart meter, we’ll explain the reasons and tell you the options that are open to you.
How secure is my energy data?
A: We comply with the ISO 27001 standard for all information security management systems, making sure our customer or energy consumption data is held and transmitted securely.

For details of how we manage your personal customer data, please see our privacy policy.

Watch our video on Your smart meter's not a salesman!  

What if I don't want my energy data being used?

A. If you're a micro business and not half-hourly settled, you can opt out of your energy data being used by filling in our opt-out form. We'll still collect your monthly meter readings to produce accurate bills, but we won’t be able to offer you personalised energy-saving advice.

Watch our video on Your smart meter's not a pushover!

I've booked an appointment to have a business smart meter installed. What do I need to do before the installation?
A: Before the installation:
  • Make sure you know the location of the meter to be exchanged
  • Clear the area around your old meter so it's easy to get to with nothing blocking access
  • Unlock doors if your old meter is in a cupboard
  • Turn off any electrical items like alarms or computers, so they're not affected when your electricity is turned off
  • Tell us if there are times and days when the installation would be most convenient
What happens on the day you install my business smart meter?

A: Someone will need to be on site to meet the engineer and show them to the meter

We'll test your network signal to make sure it's strong enough to send meter readings. Our engineer will then record the final reading on your old meter.

Your electricity will need to be turned off for about 40 minutes, It' will take about an hour to fit the new business smart meter.

Our engineer will then take a first reading from your new smart meter.

I had a business smart meter installation booked but no-one turned up. What do I do?
A: If we've missed your appointment please call the installation partner to see if it can be re-scheduled.

After your business smart meter installation

When will I receive my first bill?
A: The date you get your updated bill will depend on when in the month you have your installation.
I’ve got a business smart meter installed but received an estimated bill. Why is this?
A: Sometimes we may not be able to get your smart meter readings due to things like poor signal strength. In these cases, we may have to send you an estimated bill, or ask you to take a meter reading.
I’ve got a business smart meter with British Gas. What if I change supplier?
A: Having a business smart meter doesn't affect your right to switch energy suppliers. However, your smart meter may not continue to work depending on the type you have installed.

If you have the latest generation SMETS2 meter, it will continue to work.

Check with your new supplier, but you may have to go back to submitting your own meter readings until you get the next generation of smart meter installed.

Remember that you can quickly and easily get a renewal quote with us and we'll upgrade your smart meter.

Why is my new business smart meter set to zero?
A: All new meters are set to zero. Our engineer will make a note of the final reading from your old meter and the zero reading on your new meter. The details will be logged on the ‘Smart installation’ leaflet and left with you for your records. Meter readings can take up to 30 days to update on our system.
How do I read my new business smart meter?
A: You don't need to send us readings from your smart meter as it does this automatically. To find out where your reading is displayed, see the 'Smart installation' leaflet that was given to you after your meter was installed. For more information, see:
Where can I get more energy saving advice?
A: There are many sources of advice that can help you make your business more energy efficient.

Read our Energy Made Simple sector guides for help with your business energy efficiency.

Carbon Trust’s energy saving advice by sector:

See also:

[1] You could receive an estimated bill, based on your usage history if we're unable to retrieve a reading.

[2] We'll collect daily or half hourly usage data from your smart meter and may use this for commercial purposes, for example to develop new products and services. We'll never give the data to any third party without your express permission, unless required by law. If you're a micro business and you’d prefer us not to collect and use this data you can opt out.