Coronavirus Information and Support

Being clear on energy usage and consumption has many benefits for businesses. The main being that it allows you to strategise a plan to help reduce energy use which in turn results in reduced bills and money saved.

It also helps you to gain an understanding of your energy outgoings and identify any energy issues you may have, allowing you to make operational decisions to be greener. So it’s a win win all round.

Back in 2008, the UK Government began making preparations to roll-out SMART meters to 30 million homes and small businesses. The SMART meter roll-out covers around two million non-domestic sites in the UK, the majority of which are microbusinesses and SMEs.

A SMART meter measures energy use, in the same way as a traditional gas or electricity meter. However SMART meters are able to send that information directly to your energy supplier, automatically. No more estimated bills. No more having to read your own meter. Not only this, they also help you to gain much more of an understanding on your energy use and in turn help you to identify opportunities to be more energy efficient.

The roll-out of SMART meters hasn’t been all smooth sailing though. Government deadlines had already been extended prior to Coronavirus (2024 against the original 2020 deadline), due to the lack of compatibility of older SMART devices when switching suppliers and the presumed disruption it will cause on a business. So as the Coronavirus outbreak hit, there was further concern on the impact it would have on the roll out.

There is one thing that is becoming more and more clear however, the importance of data analytics for energy usage. Over the past few years, data has pipped oil as the most valuable commodity and it is unsurprising.

Although the SMART meter roll out may have been stalled, we are seeing other ways for customers to better understand their energy usage but they are perhaps not always aware of the operational or commercial implications this may cause upfront.

Your meter is managed and owned by a metering agent, which is chosen by your supplier. They are responsible for the design, installation, commissioning, maintenance, removal and disposal of gas supply meters. There are many metering agents and some can offer businesses insights in terms of energy usage and efficiency that may help save on energy bills.

In times like these, we know as a business you are wanting to do all you can to save money, but while it may seem tempting to move to a metering agent who can provide your business with data analytics that may help decrease spend on a monthly basis, there are implications and costs to think about before doing so.

Data comes from your meter, and in order for a metering agent to look at data and consumption, they need to be able to access the information from your meter. Changing Metering Agent involves transferring the responsibility for the meter to another party, and is achieved in one of two ways:

Purchase & Transfer of Assets – The new Metering Agent will come to a commercial arrangement to procure the meters that are in situ from the incumbent agent, this means that no meter exchange needs to occur and no termination fees are triggered by the incumbent agent.

Removal & Replacement of Assets – The new Metering Agent removes the existing meter, replacing it with their own meter and returns the old meter to the incumbent agent. This process is more complex, as it’s likely that the removal of a meter will lead to the incumbent Metering Agent triggering a Termination Fee.

If your preferred metering agent is unable to reach an agreement with the existing agent this may cause commercial implications for you.

Additional meter rental or AMR Data Charges could be applied which will be fully liable to you and the meter agent may charge you for operation and maintenance of the meter. We have witnessed customers receiving additional charges of over thousands of pounds a year and costly termination charges per meter. If you are a business that has more than one meter – this cost can accelerate quickly.

At CNG we understand that being in control of energy usage is critical for the running of businesses and we are always looking at ways to help our customers manage their energy.  We have recently partnered with energy analytics and industrial IoT solutions provider Hark, in order to explore our offer for customers to provide analytics on energy consumption. The partnership will allow CNG access to their brand-new Advanced Meter Readings (AMR) tool in order to analyse data on energy consumption and usage for its customers.