Gas and electricity business meters are used to monitor how much energy a company is using. A vitally important part of any business’ infrastructure, once you have researched, compared energy plans and selected the right supplier for your business, these meters enable you to ensure your gas and electricity bills are accurate. Afterall, it’s worth remembering that without regular meter readings, energy suppliers will base bills on estimated energy usage, and this could result in regular overpayment.
So, if your business is expanding and you need additional capacity, or you are simply moving into new premises with no energy meters currently fitted, commercial gas and electric meter installation is essential. Here’s everything you need to know about gas and electricity meters and what you need to do if you need one installed at your business premises.
For most domestic and commercial properties, electric meters will simply look like a rectangular box mounted on the wall that will display a series of digits. The specific aesthetic of an electric meter will depend mainly on whether it is a modern digital-style meter – the type that is typically fitted today during new electric meter installations – or a traditional analogue-style meter – usually found in older properties.
Digital meters will either feature an LCD screen or mileage-style ticker that will display a series of digits that form your current meter reading. Usually manufactured from plastic, this type of meter is now available in a range of colours, although they are typically white.
Alternatively, analogue meters are almost exclusively metallic silver or black in colour and feature clock-style dials that display the usage reading. While this type of meter tends to be more difficult to read, nowadays they are far less prevalent than their modern digital counterparts.
How to get a new electric meter installed
The best way to have a new electric meter installed depends on whether or not the property in question is connected to an electricity supply. In order to have an electric meter installed in a new building that is not currently connected to the national grid, you will first need to get in touch with your local distribution network operator or ‘DNO’. If you are unsure who your local DNO is, The Energy Networks Association can help you. This DNO will own and operate the local infrastructure that delivers electricity to your property. Once you have paid for the DNO to connect your house, you will then have to select an electricity supplier to come and install a meter at your property. Only then can your usage be monitored and billed for accordingly.
Alternatively, if your property is already connected to an electricity supply and you simply require a new meter, contact your energy company – or a new one if you’re thinking about switching suppliers – and set up an appointment with one of their meter engineers. For those businesses that struggle to find the time to organise appointments like this, Utility Bidder can manage the whole process for you quickly and easily, liaising with all parties concerned on your behalf.
How much does an electric meter cost?
Typically, the average cost of having a new electric meter installed in the UK ranges between £200 and £800. This cost is completely dependent on a number of factors including; the potential location of your new meter, the type of electric meter you have chosen and the standard labour costs your electricity supplier charges for installation and the meter itself.
How do I read my electric meter?
The type of meter your property has will determine how to read it correctly. If you have a modern digital electricity meter with an LCD screen or mileage-style ticker, simply note down the digits as you read them from left to right. Always include any zeros at the start of the reading. However, you should ignore any red numbers, as well as those that come after the decimal point.
If you have an analogue meter, read the clock-like dials from left to right, making sure you include any zeros. If the pointer is in between two figures, just note down the lower of the two. If your meter has any red dials, these can be ignored.
How to get a gas meter installed
As is the case with electric meters, new gas meter installation depends on whether or not your property is connected to the mains or not. If not, your first step to having a gas meter installed is to contact your local gas transporter to get your domestic or commercial property connected. Remember, these companies are only responsible for the gas piping connecting your building to the main supply – they will not act as your gas supplier.
Once your property is connected – or if you’re looking for a new gas meter to be installed into a pre-connected building – you now have to find a gas supplier. This can be your existing supplier or, if you are due to renew your contract or are looking for a supplier for the first time, you can use a comparison site such as Utility Bidder to help you choose. Once you’ve signed up, your energy company will install a meter on your property. This allows them to monitor your gas usage and bill you accordingly.
Who can install a gas meter?
Usually, it is the responsibility of your gas supplier to send a correctly qualified Gas Safe-registered gas and heating engineer to complete your commercial gas meter installation. This important accreditation ensures the engineer is properly trained and experienced and will install your gas meter safely and efficiently. They will also inspect the meter once installed, along with your pipework and any heating appliances, to help ensure they all comply with current legislation.
How do I read my gas meter?
Reading your gas meter correctly requires a similar process to reading your electric meter, and mostly depends on the type of gas meter you have. If you are reading a digital meter, simply note down the numbers displayed on the LCD screen or mileage-ticker. Read from left to right, include any zeros and ignore all digits after the decimal point.
Alternatively, if you have an analogue meter, simply read the dials from left to right, again making sure you include any zeros. As with analogue electricity meters, if any pointer is in between two figures, simply note down the lower of the two numbers.
What is a half-hourly meter?
Half-hourly meters are used in larger businesses – particularly those that make use of factories and warehouses – to provide up-to-date automated energy readings which allow the supplier to bill more accurately without the need for manual readings. Designed to send data directly to the supplier every half-hour, this technology is similar to modern day smart meters – indeed, newer models of half-hourly meters are smart – and not only ensures energy readings are a lot more accurate, but can also be used to ensure your business’ energy usage is more efficient in the future.
Businesses that use 100kW or higher during any 30-minute period of the day are required by law to install a half-hourly meter. However, some SMEs and even small start-ups are now opting to use these automated meters to ensure billing is always based on actual usage and not estimates and to allow suppliers to use the data collected to better understand your business’ energy usage patterns. Some suppliers have even started to use this data to offer businesses new and improved tailored energy plans when it comes to renewing contracts.
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