Why do businesses use half-hourly electricity meters?

What is a half-hourly meter?

Energy rates that update every half hour may seem excessive, but if you are looking for the cheapest business electricity for your company, then a half-hourly meter will ensure you get the best deal. Here we cover everything you need to know about these unique business energy meters and how having a half hour electricity quote can help you stay on top of your energy spending.

A half-hourly meter (sometimes known as a “00” meter) is precisely what it sounds like – an electricity meter that takes readings every 30 minutes. As a business energy meter, many people may not be aware of this type of device, as it is not used in domestic locations. Half-hourly meters are reserved for high-usage business environments such as warehouses or large offices. That said, many domestic smart meters can often be programmed to perform as HH (half-hourly) meters and the benefits remain the same, but what are they?

  • Automatic meter readings: Readings are sent to your business energy supplier every 30 minutes, no need for manual readings

  • Fully accurate bills: Such frequent readings mean there’s no need for estimated billing, as all your business’s energy use has been tracked

  • Clearer data: With the meter providing constant updates of your energy use, your business will also have a clear overview of how much power you use, and how you can improve on this

Who needs a half-hourly meter?

Large companies on a business energy plan may need a half-hourly meter depending on their usage. 

  • Companies that use 100 kWh or more in a 30-minute period i.e. large offices with dozens of PCs or a factory, are legally obligated to have a half-hourly meter installed

  • Smaller businesses like those who use 70 kWh per 30 minutes can opt to have a half-hourly meter fitted anyway

By keeping up to date with your energy use and forming accurate billing, finding the cheapest business electricity for your company is made easy, as you don’t have the possibility of overcharging that comes with estimated or manual readings. 

How is my half hour electricity quote taken?

A phone line or internet connection is required if you want your business to benefit from one of these meters. Just like a domestic smart meter, these devices automatically send readings back to the supplier, so it’s important that your business location can accommodate this. Most business locations will not have any issues, as strong phone and internet connections are a standard expectation of any working environment. 

How do I know if my company has a half-hourly meter?

New businesses quite often move to new locations without realising they are on a half-hourly meter. It’s important to check this information as it’s key to understanding your energy bills. If you are unsure if your business energy meter takes readings half-hourly, check your last bill. Your supply number (also known as the S number) will begin with two zeros (‘00’). 

How to save money on your business energy with a business smart meter

Half-hourly meters are also sometimes known as business smart meters and, so far as money saving and billing goes, work in the same way as a household smart meter. With the frequent readings and clearer understanding of your usage that your business gains from having one of these meters fitted, you can also save money in the same way:

  • Easily compare energy deals armed with accurate details of your usage and budget

  • Consider moving some of your energy-heavy processes to off-peak times when electricity is cheaper

Comparing business energy prices and making the switch isn’t quite as speedy as switching your home’s supplier, simply because of the volume of energy any large business needs. It’s recommended you start looking for deals several months before your current contract is up and finalise the change at least one month before your current energy deal ends. You may also want to use an energy broker to help you find the best deal if you have a particularly large company, as they can help negotiate a better price for you.

Failing to find a suitable contract once your current plan ends may cause you to shift to a much more expensive plan, so you should always stay up to date with your contract end date and preparing for a switch.

Business energy switches

Switching business electricity suppliers is a little different from how you would change energy supplier for your home:

  • Gather your bills so that you’re fully aware of your usage and spending when comparing prices

  • Set your budget

  • Use a broker if necessary

Energy suppliers are no longer allowed to lock you into an automatic rollover contract, so you can switch more easily than in the past. Keep in mind, however, that your current or chosen supplier can decline the switch if you are still in contract or are currently in debt. 

There is also no 14-day cooling off period like there is with domestic switches, so you do not have the freedom to change your mind once you have selected your new supplier. This makes it doubly important to find the best deal for your business and compare plenty of supplier prices before you switch.

You should also make an energy switch top of your agenda if you have moved to a new business location. You will be automatically placed on a ‘deemed tariff’ when you move premises, and these can be significantly higher than fixed rate business energy plans. You can also be shifted to a deemed rate if you let your current fixed rate contract run out. If you are on a deemed contract, you can switch without any fee, even if you’re in debt. 

Just like your domestic energy switches, a change of supplier for your business electricity will not disrupt your service and the only noticeable difference will be the name on your bills, plus any savings you stand to make.

Bjorn GriffithDec 9th 2019