You may have seen our announcement that, at the end of April 2020, we became one of the very first installers in the UK smart metering industry to fit a 3-Phase SMETs2 smart meter.

The installation, which was completed at our Smart DCC Test Lab in collaboration with our client, SSE Business Energy, marks a significant milestone and is a gamechanger for the UK smart meter rollout.

But why exactly does this development represent such a breakthrough for our smart energy revolution? 

And what does it mean for the Automated Meter Reading (AMR) technology already used by consumers who are supplied with three-phase electric power? We explain below.

Firstly, what is 3-Phase electric power?

Three-phase electric power is a type of polyphase system (the method of distributing alternating-current electrical power) and is most commonly used to provide heavy loads of electricity, such as those used by industry and business.

What is a 3-Phase electric meter?

The 3-phase electric meter is used for measuring the power of three-phase electrical supply, most commonly for commercial use. Currently, consumers using three-phase electricity have not been able to get a digital smart meter installed, however have been able to take advantage of AMR technology – such as three-phase advanced meters – to log their electrical consumption. In 2018, the UK Government ruled that energy suppliers are allowed to offer SME and larger business consumers a choice between an AMR advanced meter and a smart meter.

What is the difference between AMR and smart meter technology?

Despite their similarities in terms of benefits, AMR devices and smart meters perform differently and utilise distinct technologies.

All of the different AMR devices – advanced meters, data loggers and embedded meters – create a remote communication channel between a business and its energy supplier. Consumption data is transmitted from the AMR device directly to the energy supplier, meaning manual meter readings are generally no longer required, while the collection of this data ensures more accurate bills, and gives customers the option to analyse and manage their energy usage data.

Smart meters on the other hand, which are being rolled out by energy suppliers across the domestic and non-domestic markets, are operated through a centralised data communication company (Smart DCC) rather than a remote connection.

Whilst the ultimate benefits of smart meters are similar to those offered by AMR, the Government ruled in 2018 – in the interests of maintaining a competitive marketplace – that non-domestic customers (with the exception of microbusinesses) will continue to be able to enjoy the flexibility of choice between the two technologies.

The imminent availability of the 3-Phase SMETs2 smart meter will now extend that choice to business consumers who use 3-phase electric supply, and that can only be a good thing for the smart energy revolution.

So, can I get a 3-Phase smart meter installed now?

If you use three-phase electricity, you’ll soon be able to benefit from having a three-phase smart meter (SMETs2) installed at your premises. Once final certification is completed, as the UK’s leading smart meter installer we expect to be ready to begin installing three-phase smart meters with our energy supplier partners from Summer 2020.

What’s the benefit of a smart meter for my business?

If you are not already using an AMR device at your business, by getting a smart meter installed you can join the smart energy revolution, opening up a world of opportunity to reduce your energy consumption, and therefore helping cut costs and carbon emissions.

A smart meter helps you understand your business energy usage, and when used with an energy management platform (such as SmartVision Pro), you can monitor, track and take action to lower your usage.

Through digitising the country’s energy consumption, SMETs2 smart meters are also helping introduce innovative new tariffs, products, and smart technologies. In coming years, smart meters – for example through facilitating electric vehicle charging – will help encourage more flexible energy usage, thereby supporting decarbonisation and a more efficient grid.

That’s why smart meters won’t just help your business, they’ll also play an important role in achieving the UK government’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

If you have 3-phase electric supply, you can register your interest to get a smart meter or AMR device installed by contacting your energy supplier.

A trusted energy partner

At SMS we are making businesses smarter, partnering with energy suppliers to install smart meters and AMR devices at non-domestic premises. We also serve UK organisations directly through our independent Smart Metering & Data services, as an accredited Meter Operator, Meter Asset Manager and DCDA provider. 

Besides metering, we additionally work with industry and the public sector to reduce carbon emissions to net zero through our Smart Energy Services. Find out more.