Business gas rates are at the forefront of everyone's mind. Rising rates, unstable supply chains, and political strife has thrown the energy industry into disarray. Luckily, business owners can invest in a growing range of devices that support their energy-efficient ideals.
Commercial gas meters provide consumers and energy suppliers with clear, concise energy consumption figures. But human error, glitches, and inaccurate estimates can skew these figures and cause problems down the line.
Our experts have created this comprehensive guide for business owners who are looking for business gas meters that suit their needs. They answer all the burning business meter questions, such as how to read a commercial gas meter.
What Is a Commercial Gas Meter?
Domestic and commercial gas meters record energy usage. Consumers all over the UK depend on meters to provide them with accurate energy readings. They are comprised of a few buttons and digital screens, analogue screens, or dials that show energy consumption figures.
Like domestic meters, business gas meters must be installed by a professional. Energy suppliers employ professionals who will install meters at a time that suits you. The only difference between domestic and commercial meters is the name.
Read our tips on setting up gas and electricity for the first time to ensure a hassle-free process.
Types of Business Gas Meters
No matter what type of business you run, you need a commercial gas meter. With energy prices on the rise, it is no surprise that business owners are on the lookout for technology that can support their needs.
There are lots of different business gas meters to choose from. Business owners can choose from traditional, smart, multi-rate, and half-hourly meters. Keep reading to discover which meter is right for you.
Traditional vs Smart Business Gas Meters
Traditional meters are very simple. They record the amount of energy that consumers use and display the amount via an analogue screen, a digital screen, or dials. These meters are small and unobtrusive. They feature very few buttons and are more functional than they are versatile. Business owners have to send meter readings to their energy provider once a month.
With traditional meters, readings are far less accurate. Consumers can read or write the reading inaccurately, and monthly readings do not best represent real-time usage. Energy providers depend on consumers for accurate readings. Inaccurate readings can lead to lump-sum payments in the future.
Smart meters are the next generation of energy technology. They are often referred to in conjunction with home automation systems, but lots of businesses owners also install smart commercial gas meters. More and more business owners are making the switch from traditional meters to smart meters. The benefits of smart technology are more prominent for business owners, who have to pay for far more energy than domestic consumers.
Smart business gas meters record energy usage in real-time and send the recording to the energy provider. The main benefit of these devices is that they reduce the possibility of mistakes.
There are a few different smart meters that business owners can choose from.
Smart Multi-Rate Commercial Gas Meters
Multi-rate meters are compatible with Economy tariffs. These types of tariffs offer energy consumers different rates for peak and off-peak times. They are more suited to specific types of businesses such as laundromats and 24-hour call centres. A lot of catering and hospitality businesses can benefit from off-peak rates.
Businesses that operate outside of standard nine to five hours can make big savings with smart multi-rate business gas meters. Economy 7 tariffs and Economy 10 tariffs are the most popular types of off-peak tariffs. As the name suggests, most Economy 7 tariffs offer consumers reduced prices for around seven hours.
Business owners can choose from two types of smart multi-rate meters.
- Two-rate meters: Business owners who have an Economy 7 tariff will also have a two-rate meter. The meter is programmed to record two rates, one for peak times and one for off-peak times.
- Three-rate meters: Like two-rate meters, three-rate meters record different rates for three different times. These three rates usually include weekend, peak, and off-peak times.
Smart Half-Hourly Commercial Gas Meters
Smart half-hourly business gas meters provide energy suppliers with the most accurate readings. As the name suggests, this type of meter reads energy consumption every half an hour and sends the readings to suppliers straight away. The likelihood of inaccurate readings is greatly reduced, which means that business owners do not have to worry about large lump-sum payments in the future.
A lot of people who want smart business gas meters think that half-hourly meters are a no brainer. This type of smart meter is so popular that Ofgem has introduced plans to make half-hourly meters the default option for new energy consumers.
How to Read a Commercial Gas Meter
One of the most common questions that business owners ask us is how to read a commercial gas meter. There is no one size fits all answer to this question. Digital, electronic, smart, and dial meters might all look slightly different, but the mechanics remain the same.
Meters are small and concise. No matter what type of meter you have, you will be able to locate the numbers. To take a meter reading, simply write down the numbers from left to right.
Multi-rate business gas meters have either two or three rows of numbers to account for peak, off-peak, and weekend rates. Note down all the numbers and relay the information to your energy provider.
Dial meters are slightly more complicated. Consumers can either have 4 dial or 5 dial meters. Each dial has numbers from 0 to 9. Start with the first dial on the left, and note the numbers down. If the pointer hovers right over a number, note that number down. If the pointer is between two numbers, note the smallest number down. In this case, always adjust the pointer to hover over the smallest number after you have taken the reading. In some cases, there will be a dial on the right that is a different colour. Consumers can ignore this dial.
Business owners who invest in smart commercial gas meters do not have to worry about taking readings. The biggest benefit of smart meters is that they automatically send readings to energy suppliers. They eliminate the hassle of writing down long sequences and sending them to suppliers every month. A lot of business owners do not have the time for meter readings, which means that they will receive estimated billing instead. Estimated billing is often inaccurate, and can cause big problems for large businesses that use a lot of energy from month to month.