Energy management is crucial for large consumption businesses. Inaccurate meter readings can lead to overpayment or even underpayment, potentially leading to cash flow issues. If a business has a peak electricity usage of 100 KVA (Kilo Volt Amperes) or higher at least three times a year, it will be required by law to install a half-hourly meter.
The size of the business in revenue and employees does not matter, any electricity-intensive business as outlined above will be required to install a half-hourly meter.
What Is A Half Hourly Meter?
Half-hourly electricity meters are similar to smart meters. The difference is that a half-hourly meter will send meter readings to the energy supplier every 30 minutes to ensure billing accuracy.
This saves the business owner or office manager the hassle of regularly recording meter readings to send the business electricity supplier.
Half Hourly Meter Readings
The main difference between standard business energy meters and half-hourly meters is the automation and regularity of the readings. With a large consumption of electricity, it can be very easy to lose track of usage causing lots of issues with billing - half-hourly meters were introduced to mitigate this problem.
Do I Need A Half Hourly Meter?
If your business records a peak demand for electricity of 100 KVA or more, you will likely be legally obligated to install a half-hourly meter. Some companies operating near this peak demand but not over may choose to install a half-hourly meter to help them better manage business energy consumption.
What Are The Benefits Of Half Hourly Meters?
Apart from automating the meter reading process, there are a few notable benefits to installing a half-hourly electricity meter. Before the technology was introduced, a common problem was inaccurate billing. This caused many companies to either be overcharged or undercharged with hefty electricity bills at the end of the year.
However, there’s much more to it than better cash flow management:
- Easier to work with data management systems to improve energy efficiency
- Bespoke energy tariffs available for larger consumption businesses
- Accurately forecast future energy usage
- Make energy management much easier
Will A Half-Hourly Meter Save Money?
The biggest advantage of half-hourly meters is that they provide you with more data on energy usage in comparison to other meters.
This information offers an advantage in several ways:
- Make decisions around energy efficiency - the information provided from half-hourly meters means you can make strategic decisions on reducing energy consumption to lower energy bills.
- Energy costs analysis - knowing where you're spending the most can provide you with some great information you can use when switching to a new energy supplier.
For example, a manufacturing business may be able to switch to a multi-rate meter and switch production times to off-peak hours to reduce electricity consumption costs.
Can I Change From A Half Hourly Meter?
You may have some uncertainties around half-hourly meters and if they're the right solution for you.
If your business has a peak electricity usage of 100 KVA then you will not be able to change from a half-hourly meter. Businesses in this bracket are required by law to have a half-hourly meter. However, if your business has a peak usage lower than this amount, you can install a standard business energy meter.
You may have some further questions or uncertainties around half-hourly electricity meters. Here are some of the common questions our expert team asked regularly.
What Is Kilo Volt Amperes?
Kilo Volt Amperes (KVA) is a monthly charge paid to the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) - they’re responsible for the power lines and infrastructure that connects the network to your property. This is paid indirectly to the DNO and is included in your energy bill. This charge is based on your Maximum Import Capacity (MIC).
What Is A Maximum Import Capacity (MIC)?
A Maximum Import Capacity is the peak power load your business can use from the electricity grid. This is agreed between your business and the local DNO. If your business exceeds this agreed amount, you will be charged an Excess Capacity Charge. This is all included in your business energy bill.
How Can I Find My KVA And MIC Charges?
You can find your Maximum Import Capacity and Kilo Volt Amperes charges on your business energy bill. As the energy industry likes to make things a little bit more confusing, they are sometimes called a different name depending on your current business energy supplier. A KVA is sometimes called an Availability Charge or Capacity Charge, and your MIC may be known as an Agreed Supply Capacity (ASC).
Unsure if half-hourly meters will work for your business? Our Energy Helpline experts would be more than happy to discuss half-hourly metering to see if it's the right solution for you.