Due to the importance of accurately measuring the power used by energy-intensive businesses – for example manufacturers, brewers and caterers – those with a higher demand for electricity tend to have their consumption monitored in a more specialised way than typical SMEs.
This is normally done with the use of a half hourly meter.
These meters are designed to capture details about a business's electricity usage every 30 minutes, relaying the information to the supplier in real time. This enables suppliers to ensure they're accurately charging firms, and is especially beneficial for businesses with high usage as it minimises the risk of any incorrect charges.
Another bonus is that it means half-hourly customers can have their contracts flexibly tailored to their unique profile – they can opt for complete budget certainty, with set prices, or take a larger risk on their energy costs by allowing a supplier to pass charges through to them on a variable basis.
What businesses should consider a half-hourly meter?
If your business has a peak electricity demand of 100 Kilo Volt Amperes (KVA) or higher, more than three times a year, then you'll be obliged to have a half-hourly meter installed. You’ll be able to find out from looking at recent bills.
Some businesses with slightly lower usage opt to have the 30-minute meters installed anyway – mainly because of the promise of accurate billing. However, due to industry changes, this will become more common from 2016 for all users with a peak demand of 75 KAV.
How does a half-hourly meter work?
As half-hourly meters are intended to submit meter readings so frequently, the good news is that they're automated, which means there's no need for business owners to submit readings themselves.
These meters are designed to capture details about a business's electricity usage every 30 minutes, relaying the information to the supplier in real time.
The meters typically rely on a phone line or internet connection to send usage details to a supplier, who then uses these readings to determine a business's bills.
How to work out if you've already got a half-hourly meter
If you've currently got a half hourly meter this is something you're probably aware of, as it's likely you'll have been told by a supplier that you need one – or asked for one to be installed.
However, some businesses move into premises without realising that they've got a half hourly meter.
The easiest way to check is to take a look at a recent bill – if your supply number (S number) begins with '00' then it means you've got a half-hourly meter.
Can I switch my half-hourly tariff for cheaper rates?
Businesses can switch their half-hourly supplier as a means of getting a cheaper deal for their electricity – and it's recommended to use a broker to do so.
That's because businesses that consume high levels of electricity are often expected to negotiate deals with suppliers, which can be difficult for business owners who haven't had a lot of experience in the industrial electricity market.
A broker will be able to get prices from a wide panel of suppliers on your behalf, negotiating a deal that enables you to minimise your business's energy bills and continue to enjoy the benefits of a half hourly meter. They'll be able to process any paperwork and handle the administrative side of things to make the switch as easy as possible, enabling you to focus on running your business.
To ensure you're getting a fair deal for your half hourly rates, call 0800 177 7591 or visit our website.