What is Smart Metering and P272, and What Does it Mean to You?

Contrary to what some people will have you believe, the installation of smart meters alone will have no positive effect on your bills.  They were often sold on this premise in the early days (yes they’ve actually been around for quite some time) and amazingly still are by some.

Smart meters create half-hourly data that can be incredibly useful if analysed and turned into business information on which decisions affecting usage can be made. If the data isn’t looked at then it remains just this, data, not information!

There are many ways in which this data can be used to your advantage and a couple of examples include; identification of energy usage outside of business hours (generally due to people leaving things switched on which shouldn’t be) and high usage during peak times on processes which could be run when energy is cheaper.

Thorough investigation as a result of analysis of half hourly data can even lead to shocking discoveries such as the fact you’re paying for the electricity usage of the nightclub next door! (yes I’ve seen this and many, many more interesting discoveries).

If you don’t already have a smart meter installed at your premises, it’s only a matter of time until you will, whether you want one or not (which you really should). Government legislation (P272) is already in place for some meters and this will filter through to all meter profiles over the coming years.

This regulation applies to all commercial energy meters that are in profile classes 05-08 that have an advanced meter installed.  The changes are due to a modification to the Balancing and Settlement code called P272 meaning that all businesses with these profile class of meters will have their energy recorded half hourly and used in ‘settlement’.  The Balancing and Settlement Code, called P322, which helps businesses and suppliers move to half hourly ‘settlement’ has been modified to bring about this change.

How do I know if this applies to me?

If you look on your electricity bill, you will see a Meter Point Administration Number.  This is a large ‘S’ followed by a variety of numbers in boxes.  If the first two-digit number in the box is 05,06,07 or 08 then the changes will apply to you.

When will these changes take effect?

Since 5 November 2015, every customer entering into  a new contract with a supplier should have had their energy use recorded half hourly and used in settlement and by 1 April 2017 this should have applied to all businesses whether entering into a new contract or not.

Does this mean I need a new meter?

No.  This legislation applies only to businesses who already have an advanced meter installed although since 2014 it has been the responsibility of suppliers to ensure that businesses in these profile classes are supplied through  advanced meters.

Will this affect my bills?

It may do, is the vague but honest answer. You may well need to pay more to cover the costs of collecting and processing your electricity use each half hour an also if you have a Current Transformer (CT) meter, you will now face capacity charges for where the distribution network operator has reserved capacity for you on their network.

How can I mitigate against any cost increases?

By utilising our energy management expertise, we can advise and assist you on all of the options available to you to optimise your energy costs.  The whole idea of smart metering is to bring about behavioural changes in customers and for this to reduce the energy consumed and thus overall costs.

Get in touch with us now for a complete energy management strategy tailored to your organisation. Please get in touch with us for a free appraisal of your energy prices. We’d love to help you save money and power up your social responsibilty.