Is this the end for smart meters with on-site displays?
Alternatives to the smart meter in-home displayThe government announcement means that energy suppliers will be able to experiment with alternatives to the in-home display like smartphone apps and online platforms. Smartphone apps could be particularly useful for domestic customers, and advocates of this approach argue that users are much more likely to use an app to track their consumption patterns using their phone rather than an in-home display. Data from energy supplier Ovo Energy suggested that more than 60 per cent of in-home display units provided by them were not being used after just a year of installation. The company said that when it tried conduct an update on the devices, only 39 per cent of them could be accessed suggesting that the rest were switched off. The software approach will also serve to make the entire smart meter project cheaper. It has been acknowledged that the £12bn smart metering programme will cause bills to rise in the short term, but the government claims that efficiencies will that consumers eventually save money. With in-home displays costing anywhere between £15 and £35 to produce this could significantly increase the costs associated with the programme. After all, why should you bother paying for what is in effect a screen, that will probably end up sitting in a dusty cupboard underneath the stairs, when many people already having a perfectly good screen in their pockets that they already know and trust. As well as their Hive home heating system, which allows homeowners to control the temperature from their smart phone, British Gas have also trialled an app that enables smart meter customers to check up on their energy usage from their phone. People who subscribed to the British Gas trial in Bristol, Reading and Wiltshire reported that they were better able to manage their energy usage and felt a greater sense of control over spending.
Online reporting systemsBusinesses can also benefit from the software approach to smart metering. But smart phone apps are not particularly relevant for businesses. Instead they prefer to use online portals and reporting systems. At Utility Helpline, we can provide access to an online portal for customers to help businesses monitor and improve their energy consumption. Our energy performance monitoring system automatically reports energy consumption within your own chosen site-specific parameters. This feature can be offered to half-hourly energy customers, as well as SMEs. It is highly customisable and comes with some very useful product benefits like a real-time notification delivery system if consumption is unusually high. All of the information can be represented in an easy-to-understand graphical format, giving you a clear view over your sites and allowing you to identify patterns very easily. Online reporting systems are the easy way for businesses to identify waste and use this information to create positive change in the organisation. For more advice on how to use smart meters to reduce your organisation’s energy consumption read our business guide to smart meters.
To learn more about our online energy reporting system, contact our award-winning accounts team. Call: 0800 043 0423.
Published by Utility Helpline on (modified )
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