Transforming the UK’s energy infrastructure

The move to Smart metering is the biggest change in the energy market since deregulation in 1998. It marks the start of a process to harmonise the industry and it is hoped this will lead to reductions in carbon emissions too, which is especially relevant as we work towards the UK's Net Zero goal in 2050.

Smart meters are designed to give consumers more visibility of their energy use. They communicate consumption data directly to suppliers to help predict demand, making energy generation, - and management of the energy system, - more efficient, as well as sending automatic meter readings to help with accurate invoicing.

The Smart mandate is not restricted to Smart meters alone – it also includes Automated Meter Reading (AMR) meters.

For micro-business customers, the choice is whether they wish to accept a Smart meter or not. However, non-micro-business consumers can choose between having a Smart meter installed or an AMR meter to replace any existing traditional meters*

*A customer can be defined as a non-micro-business customer if you consume more than 100,000 kWh  (for electricity) or more than 293,000 kWh (for gas) and have ten or more employees and an annual turnover or balance sheet exceeding 2-million euros.

Types of electricity metering used across npower Business Solutions (nBS)

Traditional meters
AMR meters
Smart meters

Traditional meters

Often referred to as ‘trad’, this is old technology that is reliant on a meter reader physically obtaining meter readings from a customer’s premises or the customer providing them manually.

AMR meters

With AMR meters, remote reads are obtained by the Data Collector (DC) and sent to the supplier. AMR meters use a different communication network to Smart and can record energy consumption at up to Half-Hourly (HH) level. They can be used for all metering types (profile class 1-8 and HH settled).

Smart meters

There are currently two types of smart meters; SMETS1 and SMETS2.

SMETS1 Smart meters communicate to suppliers via multiple service providers and any new supplier may not have commercial arrangements with that provider. While other suppliers may be able to support SMETS1 with interoperability, npower Business Solutions will not support SMETS1 meters installed by other suppliers. Within npower Business Solutions, should we gain a customer with a SMETS1 meter, we will treat it in the same way as a traditional meter until we can install a SMETS2 meter.

The communication for SMETS2 Smart meters is provided by a single central communication provider (the DCC) which delivers full interoperability if you change your supplier. This is the meter type that we will be installing as part of our deployment plan for eligible customers.

How a Smart or AMR meter can benefit your business

No more meter reading visits
No more estimated invoices

No more meter reading visits

We will read your meter remotely, so you will no longer need to provide us access for periodic meter reading site visits or provide manual reads yourself*

* As long as your meter is operating correctly. If there is any fault or issue in obtaining a meter read, then there may be a need for manual meter reads and/or estimated invoicing until the fault or issue is rectified.

No more estimated invoices

Collecting your meter reads remotely every month ensures your invoices are more accurate and based on actual usage*

* As long as your meter is operating correctly. If there is any fault or issue in obtaining a meter read, then there may be a need for manual meter reads and/or estimated invoicing until the fault or issue is rectified.

Choosing the right meter for you

Non-micro business customers can choose between Smart or AMR meters. Our table below details the features of both meter types.

 

Feature  SMETS2 Smart meter AMR meter
Records consumption at half-hourly intervals? Yes Yes
Remotely sends meter readings back to the supplier? Yes Yes
Used for all metering types?
Non-CT metered sites and small gas meters (use on profile class 1-4 power supplies and gas supplies with an annual consumption of =< 732,000 kWh) Yes
Three phase capability?
(Three phase electricity is connected at 400 or 415 volts, by three active wires or phases and one neutral. This is mostly used in industrial and large commercial settings with powerful appliances)
Meter variant not currently available and under development Yes
Records meter readings daily? Yes Yes
Stores half hourly consumption on the meter? Up to 24 months Up to 12 months
Market Interoperable?
(Meters that are not interoperable would lose some of their functionality if they were to move to a new energy supplier)
Yes (dependent on the meter being enrolled onto the DCC and the supplier being able to support the metering technology) Yes (dependent on the supplier being able to support the metering technology)
The meter is remotely configurable? Yes Yes
Available for installation? From second half of 2020 Yes
Enhanced energy management opportunities? Yes Yes

How to qualify for a Smart or AMR meter

You qualify to have a Smart or an AMR meter fitted if your on-site electricity meter is in profile classes 1 to 4. For gas, your meter must have an annual consumption equal to 732,000 kWh or less.

If you have profile class 5-8 meters

Originally these meters were covered by the AMR meter upgrade, which mandated that all customers with meters in profile classes 5-8 should have an AMR solution installed by April 2014.

Later, suppliers were required to move customers with a profile class 5-8 electricity AMR meter to HH settlement by April 2017.  The aim of this was to facilitate a more detailed view of electricity usage.

Meters in profile class 5-8 are not included within the current Smart meter mandate.

Ensure your account is up-to-date

It is important that you provide a meter reading before your meter is replaced with a Smart or an AMR meter, so please submit your meter reading online or call us on 0800 028 1341 to ensure your account is up-to-date. Our team is here to help 8:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Thursday and 8:30am to 5:00pm on Fridays.

Booking a Smart or AMR meter installation
  • We will need you to confirm your site address, a contact there and the location of the meter being replaced, plus any special access instructions, such as operational hours. It would also be helpful to know if there is parking available nearby for our meter installer and directions on how to find it

  • It is important that you let us know of any vulnerabilities that you or someone on-site may have. For example, if you have equipment that requires a continuous supply of electricity

  • The timescales required for each visit can vary, and we will provide more details once your appointment is confirmed

  • Please be aware that if you have any on-site generation (for instance, solar panels or a wind turbine), then this could prevent a Smart or AMR meter from being installed. There may also be further constraints and, if this is the case, we will discuss this with you in more detail

Before your appointment, it is important that you provide a meter reading, so please submit this online. We can then ensure your account is up-to-date.

On the day

  • Our installer will carry out an assessment of your site and meter to establish whether the installation can take place

  • On average, your electricity and gas will need to be switched off for 30-45 minutes
Our plan for installing Smart and AMR meters

As part of our deployment plan we will be installing Smart meters in stages throughout 2020 in-line with our deployment profile and taking into account customers’ eligibility. We will let you know when we are ready to work with you to install a Smart meter at your premises .

Alternatively, non-micro business customers can choose to have an AMR meter installed , which , at this time, we are able to support and manage.

Please note, it is not compulsory for you to have a Smart or an AMR meter installed, and you have the right to refuse.

Your consumption data

At nBS we take data security very seriously. We work with our meter manufacturers to make sure that the meters we install are secure. We use international encryption standards to transmit your meter data safely and securely and the meter will only accept commands sent by your supplier.

Both AMR and Smart meters are able to record readings on a daily basis and at Half-Hourly intervals.

 

Licence obligations

There are many licence obligations that cover the Smart rollout. Here are the most common that may be of interest:

  • Smart Meter Roll-out Obligation – ensuring we complete our Smart deployment by the end of 2020

  • Smart Meter Installation Code of Practice (SMICoP) – ensuring that we install our meters in a customer-centric method (this covers micro business customers). You can find out more by downloading the SMICoP

  • Smart Energy Code (SEC) – ensuring the security of customers’ Smart data via the Data Communications Company (DCC), (the organisation that manages the Smart communications network). Find out more here

  • Data options – ensuring that data taken from Smart meters is in accordance with the data choices obtained from the customer. Find out more here

For more details on the above, visit the Ofgem website

Changing supplier when you already have a Smart or AMR meter

You are free to change supplier in-line with your contractual terms. If you have had a Smart or AMR meter installed by your previous supplier, we will try to support all of its functions. However, if for any reason we are unable to, we will treat it as a traditional credit meter until we are in a position to supply you with a SMETS2 Smart or AMR meter. This provides full interoperability , allowing  you to change supplier and not lose the functionality of your Smart or AMR meter.*

*Dependent on the supplier being able to support the metering technology and for SMETS2 Smart meters there is a dependency on the meter being enrolled onto the DCC.

Advanced metering for gas

npower Business Solutions (nBS) is in the process of rolling out Automated Meter Reading (AMR) metering across our gas portfolio.

AMR meters offer a number of additional features over traditional models:

  • No need for meter reads – AMR meters can be read remotely, so you no longer need to submit manual reads or provide access for periodic meter reading site visits*
  • No more estimated invoices– automated meter reads are taken remotely every month, so your invoices therefore reflect actual, rather than estimated, usage*

 

How will the work carried out affect you?

  • Our engineer will be with you for between one and three hours
  • A site survey will be carried out and, if the result is satisfactory, the engineer will install the data logger during the same visit
  • There is no need for a gas outage when we do this work

To book an installation or to find out more about AMR meters, please call us on 0330 100 7651 or email us at nbssmart@npower.com. We are open 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday to Friday and will be happy to help.

If you are an existing nBS supply customer, we can also arrange a meter upgrade at no extra cost if any of your current meters are traditional models.

nBS is also looking into options to support Smart metering functionality for gas. If you would like to register your interest in having a Smart meter, when available, please complete our Smart Advance Interest Form.

* As long as your meter is operating correctly. If there is any fault, then there may be a need for manual meter reads and/or estimated invoicing until it is repaired.

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Register your interest now

Complete our online form

If you are an nBS customer and are keen to get your new Smart or AMR meter installed, then please complete our online form. Alternatively, you can call us on 0800 316 0142. Our team is here to help 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday.

Contact us

If you are an nBS customer and are keen to get your new Smart or AMR meter installed, then please complete our online form, or call us on 0800 316 0142.