“Smart” meters – The difference between AMR & smart

Automated meter reading (AMR) devices

These devices create a communications channel between the consumer and supplier. Consumption data can be sent from your meter, directly to the supplier, meaning you do not need to submit manual meter reads. This ensures accurate billing and gives customers the option to monitor and analyse their usage.

Smart meters (SMETS1 & SMETS2)

Smart meters are operated by a centralised data communication company, which then submits the data to the suppliers. Smart meters allow you to review your usage in “real time” via a device fitted within your premises. You can usually review your consumption in units, as well as pounds and pence. SMETS1 meters are older types, which usually lose functionality when you switch your provider. Suppliers are now required to install SMETS2 meters, which are expected to maintain functionality across all suppliers.

Smart meter & AMR roll-out

Suppliers are now only allowed to install SMET compliant smart meters at domestic and smaller commercial premises, except in some exceptional cases. AMR meters will continue to be installed at larger commercial premises.

Strategic review of the micro-business retail market

What is it?

Ofgem has published an opening statement seeking a review of the micro-business retail market with a view to introduce more regulation to protect the end consumer. The opening statement can be viewed here.

What does it say?

In summary, Ofgem is concerned that some micro-businesses are still struggling to engage with the market and are paying more for their energy than they need to. They believe that micro-businesses should be able to access competitive prices easily to make an informed decision, should receive good service and be adequately protected. Evaluation of suppliers and their debt management rules, along with the assessment of broker practices will form part of this review to ensure that consumers are being treated fairly by both suppliers and brokers.

Who does it apply to? 

This review is only focused on micro-businesses and excludes home-based single site and large businesses. Ofgem’s definition of a micro-business can be found here

What is the timeline? 

This review is currently in its research and evidence gathering stage, with an updated position and next steps expected to be presented this winter.