Insights / How suppliers use smart meters: Myth-busting with Bjoern Reinke

How suppliers use smart meters: Myth-busting with Bjoern Reinke

23rd September 2020

Welcome to our fifth deep-dive into some of the oddest things we’ve heard about smart meters. Today we explore the issue of supplier trust.

Smart meters are providing better data on energy usage. But some have speculated that smart meters are simply profit-making devices, designed so suppliers can hike up prices or sell you more products.

How can you be sure suppliers will use your data in the right way?

We’re guided today by Bjoern Reinke, Head of Data and Data Science at Drax. Bjoern’s been one of the leading lights in the movement towards smart meters for over ten years now, so we’ve asked him what he thinks about some of these rumours.

How suppliers use smart meters: Myth-busting with Bjoern Reinke | Opus Energy

Will energy suppliers use smart meter installation visits to sell new products?

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Energy companies aren’t actually allowed to do this. When someone comes to your workplace or home to install a smart meter, they’re only allowed to do just that - and give you energy efficiency advice. In fact, the regulations prescribe exactly how an engineer should act at a visit so it’s consistent across energy suppliers. You can find out more about the smart meter installation process here.

Will energy suppliers increase prices when they see demand is high?

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The whole point of smart meters is to do the exact opposite. Smart meters allow energy suppliers to share the savings when energy prices are low. Better data on energy usage will allow suppliers to provide tariffs that reflect real-time energy costs and pass on the benefits.

Smart meters automatically record how much energy your business consumes in 30-minute intervals. In the future, this could allow suppliers to provide your business with more relevant offers and tariffs based on actual usage. The better the data on our customer’s energy use, the more efficiently we’ll be able to predict future energy use and offer competitive prices. This could even allow us to create accurate benchmarks of usage by premises and sector.

Previously, customers have been able to opt to share their smart data with us every day or month rather than every 30 minutes. From 3 November 2022, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) have changed the rules around sharing half hourly data. This applies to all energy suppliers and is not specific to Opus Energy. Find out more.

Will energy companies make huge gains from smart meters because they no longer need to pay billing staff?

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The idea of smart meters is to make the way we consume energy and the way we bill energy much easier. Smart meters are about enabling our colleagues to add some real value for customers. They’ll allow suppliers to develop energy experts in their teams who have time to give customers tailored support - instead of having to manage and resolve billing inaccuracies from estimated bills.

If you’re one of our customers at Opus Energy, we can install a new smart meter for you at no extra cost. Just register here.

Request a smart meter

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