Smart meter engagement: how to bring micro businesses onside

micro businesses smart meter engagement
Smart meter engagement: Smart Energy GB has outlined a strategy to engage micro businesses with the rollout

Smart Energy GB, the campaign for the national advanced metering rollout, has updated its paper on smart meter engagement for UK micro businesses.

The association is tasked with ensuring that domestic consumers and micro businesses in Great Britain understand what smart meters are, how to get one and how they can use their new smart meter to help get gas and electricity usage under control.

The report ‘Smart Energy for Business – Our approach to engaging micro businesses in the smart meter rollout’ defines a micro business as a non-domestic customer employing fewer than 10 employees.

The report cites the Competition and Markets Authority review of the market and in its ‘Smart energy for business consultation’ in July 2015, that micro businesses often do not know or understand their energy usage, with many not knowing the overall monthly or annual cost either.

Smart meter engagement journey

The journey for micro businesses is broadly the same as it is for domestic consumers, though smart meter engagement and behaviour at various stages of the journey may vary across the two groups, states the report.

At the current stage of the rollout, the majority of micro businesses with a smart meter installed have had their installation after being contacted by their energy supplier (only 5% have requested one proactively).

This suggests an absence of the first two stages of the journey in many cases – Hearing About a Smart Meter and Taking a Decision to Say Yes to a Smart Meter – which may in turn contribute to the relatively low levels of active energy management post-installation (just 11% have taken subsequent action to reduce their energy consumption).

The report then outlines how the organisation can attempt to boost micro businesses’ smart meter engagement, for example extending the channels for communication.

One suggestion is to partner with organisations that have one-on-one relationships with micro businesses, who will cascade information to their members/beneficiaries.

These include membership, professional, advisory, supplier, intermediary and network organisations (operating at both national and regional levels, both of which are relevant) that reflect both generalist business interests and those of industry sectors specifically and we will seek to work with the most effective combination of both.