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Business Electricity Meter Types

There are a variety of different business electricity meters available, and the type of meter that is best for a business will depend on its size, energy consumption patterns, and budget. If you’re unsure of what electricity meter would be right for your business, then take a look at our guide where we will take you through the various options available.

Business energy contract due to renew? Call us on 0800 9777 000 or fill in our business quote form to see how much you could save…

Types of business electricity meters

There are a variety of business electricity meters available, with each one offering a different rate. Picking a meter that is right for your business depends on the type of business that you are. Depending on when your business operates, whether that is all day or part of the day there are differing meters that will best suit your business. We’ll take you through each of the options that are available to businesses below.

Single rate meters

A single rate meter is an electricity meter that measures all electricity usage at the same rate, regardless of the time of day. This means you will be charged the same price for electricity whether you use it during the day, at night or over a weekend. Single rate meters are the most common type of meter and are most likely already being used in your business.

Advantages of single-rate meters

Simplicity – They’re really easy to understand and use as there is only one rate to remember.

Predictability – Single rate meters can help you budget for your electricity costs – as you will know the exact amount you’ll be charged each month, making budgeting running costs easier to calculate. Perfect for businesses.

Disadvantages of single-rate meters

Limited flexibility – You are unable to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates that could be made available in off-peak hours.

Higher costs – Single rate meters can be more expensive for businesses with an unpredictable electricity usage pattern.

How to read a single-rate meter

Locate your meter – Usually located in your utility space or sometimes affixed to the exterior of your business premises.

Identify the dials – Single rate meters usually have five dials with numbers and there may be a sixth dial with a decimal point. Ignore the sixth dial and any red dials there might be.

Read the dials from left to right – From the dial that is furthest to the left write down each number in order from left to right, ignore any numbers after the decimal point.

Recording the reading – The number written down is your electricity meter reading, and you should make a record of it. Keeping the number will mean you aren’t charged incorrectly for your business electricity bills.

Contact your supplier – Submit your reading to your energy provider, whether that is over the phone or online.

The reading for this meter is: 12345

Two-rate meters

A two-rate meter is also known as a dual rate meter and records your consumption in two separate categories; peak and off-peak. Peak rates would typically be higher and are in effect during the busier times, typically on weekdays between 7am and 7pm. Off-peak rates are usually lower and apply during times when demand for electricity is lower, usually nights or weekends.

Benefits of two-rate meters

Savings – Two-rate meters can help you save money as your electricity meter can change to cheaper off-peak rates.

Environmental benefits – Two-rate meters can help to reduce the overall demand for electricity during peak hours, helping to conserve resources and lower overall monthly expenditure. It can also encourage businesses like yours to begin using renewable energy sources, including solar and wind power.

Disadvantages of two rate meters

More complex – Two rate meters are more complex than single rate meters which makes them a more expensive product to purchase and have installed. For small businesses which have an electricity consumption of less than 20,000 kWh per year, a two-rate meter would typically be free of charge to install.

Requires changes in consumption habits – Two-rate meters require consumers to make changes in order to make savings on their energy bills.

How to read a two-rate meter

Locate your meter – Like your single-rate meter, a two-rate meter is likely in a utility space or outdoors attached to your business.

Identify the rate indicators – Two rate meters usually have two sets of dials or a digital display with rate indicators.

Record the low (night) rate reading – Your meter will have two sets of dials; look at the dials labelled either “low” or “night”. Record the numbers from left to right, and like the single rate meter ignore any red dials or numbers after the decimal point.

Record the normal (day) rate reading – Repeat the same process as above for the normal or day readings, writing down the numbers from left to right. If your display is digital, wait for the “normal” or “day” rate to be displayed.

Combine the readings – Add the low rate and the normal rate to get your electricity consumption data.

Contact your supplier – Whichever means you’re using to submit your meter readings whether it’s online or over the phone, just provide them with the digits you’ve taken from your meter.

The readings for these would be: 87654 and 45678

Half-hourly meters

A half-hourly meter is an electricity meter which provides recordings of your electricity consumption in 30-minute intervals. Having your electricity tracked like this will ensure the most accurate possible reading and pricing.

Advantages of half-hourly meters:

More accurate billing – As your consumption is tracked half hourly your bills will be more accurate than other meters, helping consumers’ peace of mind.

Identification of usage patterns – As readings are so accurate it allows you to track energy usage properly, so you can see where you’re spending more than you should and can adjust your operations accordingly.

Automatically updates – Providing that your meter’s connection is set up and working, half-hourly meters communicate directly with your supplier – which means no more manual meter readings!

Disadvantages of half-hourly meters

Increased costs – Half-hourly meters can typically be more expensive to install than traditional meters due to their advanced levels of technology.

Complex billing – With more detailed data on your half-hourly meters it can mean you’ll be spending more time studying your bills.

Not every business is entitled to one – To be entitled to have a half-hourly electricity meter you must either have a business that has a maximum demand of at least 70 Kilovolt-amperes during any half-hour period of the day or have a business that consumes at least 50,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

How to read a half-hourly meter

Locate your meter – Half-hourly meters will likely be near your fuse box.

Find the LCD display – The LCD display is usually on the front of the meter; it’ll show you your current energy consumption, as well as your consumption for the past half hour and the past 24 hours.

Reading your meter – Simply write the numbers down that are on your LCD screen, this will display your current energy consumption in kilowatt-hours.

You can learn more about half-hourly meters in our guide.

Smart meters

The meter you have probably heard of more than any other is the smart meter. This electricity meter records and transmits information about your energy consumption straight to your provider. Unlike other meters, smart meters will provide details on consumption patterns automatically, making it easier to understand your energy usage, and enabling better energy management and cost savings.

Advantages of smart meters

Improvement in energy efficiency – Smart meters will help businesses identify their energy consumption patterns, leading to ways to reduce their monthly bill.

Accurate billing – Smart meters provide accurate billing and with time data also on your bill it is easy for you to identify if your bill is correct.

Disadvantages of smart meters

Connection issues – If you live in an area where mobile signals are patchy it will affect your smart meters’ ability to collect data.

Availability – There has been a historical shortage of smart meters available for businesses and consumers, which may mean a slight delay if your supplier is running low on stock.

How to read a smart meter

Locate your smart meter – Your smart meter will likely be plugged in and on display, though it does have a built-in rechargeable battery so it can last for around four hours if it isn’t plugged in.

Read your display screen – Your screen will display a series of numbers which will show your current energy consumption, as well as your consumption history.

Navigate through your smart meter – Some smart meters have buttons that allow you to scroll through different display options; some even have a touch screen for easier navigation.

Find your current energy consumption – Look for a reading that is followed by the units “kWh” or “m3” (cubic meters). This set of numbers is your current energy consumption.

Record your reading – Log down your data so you can keep a running total of your usage. You should do this only as a precautionary measure, as your business energy consumption data will automatically be sent to your provider, the big benefit of owning a smart meter.

Switching to a smart meter is easy and doing so will make managing your business energy consumption easy. For more information on smart meters give our smart meter experts a call on 0800 9777 000 or message us now on our live chat.

Choosing the right business electricity meter

When you choose an electricity meter for your business there are a variety of things that you should consider. Every business is different – for example, you might be in the same sector but have more or fewer employees than a competitor, so even though you sell the same product or service you might need differing meters. Take a look at the various factors you should consider below:

Size of the business – Your business size and type will determine the type of meter that you’ll need. If you’re a small business you might only need a standard meter, while much larger businesses will need a half-hourly meter or a smart meter.

Energy Consumption Patterns – How much energy you use and when can be a major factor not only in the price you pay for your utility bills but in the meter that’s best suited to recording your usage.

Budget – Electricity meters will range in price, so you must factor this in before installation.

Do I need a new energy meter installed if we move premises?

You may need a new energy meter installed on your new premises, depending on a few factors:

The type of meter that you have – If you have a smart meter you’ll be able to transfer your meter into your new premises. However, if your current premises have a traditional meter you’re likely going to have to get a new one installed. This is because any old meter will not be able to provide the levels of data needed that smart meters can provide.

The type of energy supply at the new premises – If your energy needs change when you switch property you might need to get a new meter installed. Switching buildings might mean your company has grown in size, and if so you’ll need a new meter installed to suit your new requirements.

The “Do I need a new energy meter?” checklist

Situation Do I need a new meter?
You’ve got a new meter and the new meter has a compatible smart meter No
You have a traditional meter and the new premises have a traditional meter No, but you might consider upgrading to a smart meter
You have a traditional meter and the new premises have no meter at all Yes
Your energy usage needs have changed Yes

If you’re in doubt about your meter requirements, you can find out by calling our energy meter experts on 0800 9777 000.

How can you change your business’s energy meter?

It can be complex to change a business electricity meter and there are several steps you’ll need to take in order to make these changes to your business.

  1. Contact your supplier
  2. Obtain a permit
  3. Have the meter installed
  4. Notify your supplier

Compare and switch business gas and electricity suppliers

If you’re nearing the end of your current business energy contract or your contract has ended and you’re now on a deemed contract. Or even if you have recently taken over a property and need a new business energy contract. Whatever the reason, our expert team of business energy brokers are here to help.

✔ Our customer support team is one of the best in the industry
✔ Contact Exchange Utility to switch your energy tariff in as little as 5 days
✔ We have years of experience comparing business gas and electricity
✔ We have built a solid reputation for being a reliable, independent and trustworthy comparison company
✔ We can compare gas prices from industry leaders to find you competitive rates
✔ Whenever a business gets in touch with us, we always work hard to get them the right rates for their business
✔ Don’t just take our word for it see what our customers are saying about us on Trustpilot

If you have any other questions, take a look at our business energy guides section. Or contact our expert team of business energy brokers who are also available to answer any of your questions about our business gas and electricity comparison services.

Business energy contract due to renew? Call us on 0800 9777 000 or fill in our energy quote form to see how much you could save…