Small businesses who rent can get more control this winter with a smart meter
Although many small business owners feel more confident this year, high costs are still a worry
Research* with small business owners who rent say that 85% are feeling more confident about the health of their business than this time last year. This is positive news, however they still have worries heading into the winter, with the cost of living, increasing rents and the high cost of energy rounding out the top three biggest concerns.
With energy a continuing worry for small business owners who rent, many say that, if they were able to, they would explore improving the insulation in their building, fit double glazing and install light sensors. Getting a smart meter was also high on the list of actions small business owners would take to get more control over their energy use and costs.
Smart meters have lots of benefits for small businesses and many can request one from their supplier at no additional cost**. Because they automatically send meter readings to energy suppliers small business owners pay for the energy they use – no more estimated bills. The data provided by smart meters can give them more control over their business’ energy spend, helping them monitor energy usage and identify where cost savings can be made.
Small businesses with a smart meter can now request free access to 12 months of historic energy usage data from their energy supplier. This could help with budgeting and reduce bill shock, which could give small business owners greater peace of mind as the nights close in.
Claire Moore, owner of Achieve Believe, a personal training business in Sheffield
With the rising cost of living, it’s really good that I can track my usage, and I know what’s going out at the end of each month. Our energy usage increases both in the winter and summer, due to needing heating in the winter and fans in the summer. Now that I’ve been in my new premises a year, I can see patterns, so it’s now about planning ahead, and having a smart meter is really helpful for that.
The cost of living crisis has been really tough, and since we’ve moved our energy bills have pretty much doubled. This is why having a smart meter is so important, because I can’t just switch the heating and fans on and think it will be fine. It helps me to keep a watchful eye on our spending, which is really important because we’re such a small business.
I’m worried about winter and the rising costs, every single bill has gone up. It’s not just energy. I’ve just got to keep on top of it and plan ahead as much as I can. It can be really easy as a small business to put your head in the sand and pretend that bills aren’t happening. I’ve been there in the past and you get yourself in a real pickle – it’s a horrible feeling. The more you’re aware of how much it’s costing to run your business, the better, as it helps with cashflow and budgeting.
The best bit about having a smart meter is knowing where I am financially, knowing what I’ve just spent and planning what I’m going to spend. I also have a better idea of what’s coming this winter, so I’ve started paying a bit more now so it’s not too much of a shock when it comes around in a few months.
More information on the benefits of smart meters for small businesses who rent can be found at www.smartenergygb.org/businessesthatrent
*Research by CensusWide for Smart Energy GB, survey of 507 UK small business owners/decision makers who rent their business premises, October 2023
**Contact your energy supplier or broker to check eligibility. You may need to check with your landlord that any changes to the meter are allowed within the rental contract.
Get the inside track on what MPs and Peers are talking about. Sign up to The House's morning email for the latest insight and reaction from Parliamentarians, policy-makers and organisations.