Half Hourly Meters
Large users of energy have half hourly metering systems in place. This guide explains how they work and how to get the best contract rates.
What is a Half Hourly Meter?
Any UK corporation that uses more than 100,000 kWh of electricity per year will have these meters installed as a mandatory requirement. These meters, also known as “00″ meters because of the numbering, “Smart” or HH, measure and record consumption automatically. The example meter shown has a reading of 38,177.
They are so called because the meter is read every half an hour (30 minutes) 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Large users of energy such as manufacturing plants, printers, department stores and assembly plants will have these installed. Regulatory legislation makes this a mandatory requirement by law to have these meters operational.
How do They Work?
They work in the same manner as a regular meter with usage and consumption recorded. HH meters automatically transmit the data back to your power supplier via mobile phone signals or a fixed data line every 30 minutes.
This data is stored by the power company and companies can gain access to manage their own information directly.
Once you have access to your personalised data there are three main uses that this information is useful for as follows:
- Calculating a unit charge and daily rate to produce your invoices. Because the data is read automatically bills are never estimated and are 100% accurate.
- Using the data for negotiations on your next contract.
- To upload into an energy management system to manage usage and implement efficiency programmes.
Which Businesses Have These Meters?
There are three main scenarios in which a business could have a HH meter installed as follows:
- A mandatory installation is required if your maximum demand in any 30 minute period is more than 100 kWh. Most meters are installed due to this legal obligation.
- Voluntary installations can be requested for those business owners wishing to get access to their consumption data every 30 minutes.
- Light usage mainly for residential premises as part of the government roll out. These meters are also known as smart meters and perform the same tasks as a traditional meter.
How Can I Compare Prices to Get a Competitive Tariff?
For smaller businesses with an annual consumption below 100,000 kWh they can simply get online quotes from a variety of sources. Unfortunately for 00 meters the process is more complex although just as straight forward.
You can either contact your current provider for their rates or use the services of an expert broker. There are additional processes involved to access the cheapest deals based on the wholesale market. Here’s how it works:
- Contact a broker and provide your company information such as meter number and meter address.
- Provide a Data Release Letter (DRL) so that the broker can access your data from your current provider. This is required for the pricing negotiation process.
- An invitation to tender (ITT) is arranged and submitted to all energy suppliers. Within a few days a range of rates are provided for the client to review.
- The pricing presented is generally only available for 24 hours due to the volatile nature of the wholesale market. Prices are always based on the current wholesale market which are generally higher in the winter months. Speak to your broker for the best time to negotiate your rates.
- Switching takes between 4-6 weeks depending on contract renewal dates.
- Brokers will assist you through this entire process saving you time and money.
Some of the customers we have worked with have literally saved over £300,000 per year because:
- a) Their meters were grouped together and bid for the rates as a “group buy”
- b) Their meter types were changed to take advantage of lower night and weekend rates.
A good broker will find the right deal available for your circumstances.
Examples of Rates
It’s difficult to provide examples of tariffs because every business situation is different. The unit rate is where to concentrate efforts on as the standing charges are quite low. Here are some example rates of customers coming to us. We were able to reduce the overall annual pricing for all of them.
- 2,411,000 kWh usage rates: day 9.523 p/kWh, night 6.700 p/kWh, s/c £93.07 per month
- 11,000,000 kWh usage: day 6.836 p/kWh, night 5.255 p/kWh s/c £26.67
- 3,450,000 kWh usage: day 10.15 p/kWh, night 7.27 p/kWh s/c £82.65
- 452,500 kWh usage: day 9.8 p/kWh, night 6.4 p/kWh, s/c £30.42
There is great variation because the demands are different and different brokers were previously involved. Get in touch if you have a half hourly meter so our energy broker team can help you.
Using the Data for Efficiency Management
Apart from being able to negotiate rates with the data collected you can use that to see where your business could save money.
There are plenty of free and paid energy management software solutions on the market today which will help you interpret the data recorded. Some of this may be information overload so it’s important to have an expert on hand to help you understand how to use it.
Most companies save money by reducing consumption during the night time periods (switching off machinery, lights and computers that are not required) but there are other options.
Every one of our HHM clients gets access to our proprietary management software so just ask our consultants about our software solutions when you call.