A Guide to Commercial Electricity Meter Installation

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Learn about commercial electricity meter installation: the process, benefits for your business, and how the right meter can reduce energy costs.

A Guide to Commercial Electricity Meter Installation

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Responsible businesses should always be on top of their energy bills, and whether it’s to make sure that you’re not being overcharged or to reduce your carbon footprint, ensuring that your meters are up to date could be all important. In this guide, we’ll be telling you about the different types of meters available and how to get one installed. 

What is a Business Electricity Meter?

In order to know how much electricity you’re using and bill you for the correct amount, your supplier needs to have a meter installed. You can then provide meter readings to the supplier either every quarter or every month. 

Why Should Businesses Get An Electricity Meter Installed?

Without accurate readings from you, your supplier will have little option but to bill you based on estimated readings, meaning that you may get charged for energy that you haven’t even used. If you’re concerned about reducing your carbon footprint, it also makes sense to get a meter installed. Without one, understanding your business energy usage becomes extremely difficult because you’re unable to gauge whether you’re decreasing it. If you’re moving into new premises, you may even find that there isn’t one installed at all. 

Does Your Business Need a New Electricity Meter?

Of course, it may well be that your business already has one installed, in which case you could be wondering why you’d need to change it. There are certainly good reasons to do so. It may be, for example, that your usage has changed or that you want to change where it’s located. It’s also worth remembering that meters come with a period of certification, and that they may become inaccurate over time. If that certification has expired, it’s worth getting a new one installed. 

The Different Types of Business Electricity Meter

These days there is a plethora of meters that can be used, and it’s important to choose the right one for your specific needs. If your business uses a lot of electricity, there may be a certain type that you need to use. So here are some of the most common types.  

Smart Meters

Smart meters are the latest technology for measuring energy use, making use of smart technology to transmit your usage directly back to your supplier. They create accurate reflections of your use and consequently accurate bills that you can use to monitor your electricity usage. 

HH Meters

HH stands for “Half Hourly”. These meters send readings back to your supplier every thirty minutes and are suitable for businesses that use a lot of energy. They may even enable you to get a contract tailored to your precise needs. If your business maximum electricity demand in any 30-minute period is more than 100 kilowatts (kW), you are legally required to have a half-hourly meter, but if your maximum business demand is between 70kW and 100kW during any 30-minute period, it is your choice whether or not you opt for a half hourly meter.

Single Rate Meters

A single-rate meter means that you’ll be charged the exact same rate for your electricity no matter what time your business is open. This kind of rate is suited to businesses which operate during standard opening hours, such as offices or shops. 

Two-Rate Meters

A two-rate electricity meter charges you for electricity usage at two different rates, usually defined as peak-time and off-peak. Examples of two-rate tariffs include Economy 7 and Economy 10. Businesses that benefit from a two-rate tariff usually operate during late hours, such as restaurants and takeaways.

Three-Rate Meters

Are you spotting a pattern yet? Three-rate meters offer peak and off-peak hours, and they also offer a third rate for weekend use. A three-rate meter is probably the best option for businesses open through the weekend, such as clubs and pubs.

Can I Install a Commercial Electricity Meter Myself, or Do I Need a Professional?

While it’s fine to install a private meter, the short answer to this question is no; it's illegal to install a meter unless you're a registered and qualified technician. Electricity and gas meters can be dangerous if installed incorrectly, so this is a job best left to the professionals. 

How to Get a New Commercial Electricity Meter Installed

Make Sure to Have Your Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN)

Your MPAN, or Meeting Point Administration Number, is a unique reference number which allows your energy company to identify exactly the meter that is being installed. You’ll need it to hand in when your new meter is installed. You can normally find it on a recent energy bill, but you can also call your current supplier for it, note that you won’t find it on the meter itself. If you’ve relocated your business and aren’t sure who the current supplier is, you’ll be able to find your MPAN at the Energy Networks Association. 

Check if the Meter is Already Connected

The amount of money that you pay for your installation will be determined by that installation, so you must know before contacting your energy supplier whether any existing meters are already connected.

Make Sure You Know Which Meter Type You Need

As we’ve already seen from the above list of meter types, the best business electricity meter for your company’s needs is the one that best suits the tariff that you’re on. If you’re on Economy 7 or 10, you’ll need a two-rate meter. If you have separate tariffs for evenings and weekends, you’ll need a three-rate one. 

Negotiate a Price for Your New Meter

Installation costs aren’t fixed, so it’s worth trying to negotiate the best deal for your company to save money. You may also find that by speaking to the supplier in detail from the outset, you can change tariffs and save yourself even more! 

Arrange an Installation

Installation of a new meter shouldn’t take too long, but complications can significantly delay the process. It’s best to start the process as soon as you can, to minimise delays caused by factors that you may not have taken into account. 

How Much Does It Cost to Install a New Electricity Meter at a Business Property?

The cost of installation will depend on several different factors, such as the ease of installation, whether a meter is already connected at the premises and the type of meter that you’re using. 

How Long Does It Take to Install a New Business Electricity Meter?

As a rule, five to fourteen days is a reasonable expectation to have for the installation of a new meter, although complications can add to both the time scale and cost of getting it completed. Try to allow at least a month for it to be done and, since the installation cannot be completed in any other way, make sure there’s someone present when the installer turns up to put it in. 

Can I Switch Business Electricity Supplier?

You absolutely can, and this is our speciality! SwitchPal helps people save money through switching electricity suppliers or tariffs every single day, so contact us if you’re interested in talking to one of our experts about how you may be able to do this. 

Having the wrong electricity meter for your business can cause a world of problems. Without knowing how you’re using your energy you can’t deal with any issues relating to your carbon footprint, and it may even turn out that you’re significantly over or underpaying your supplier. By making these changes, you can make your electricity work for you rather than your business having to work for its electricity!

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