Small & Medium Enterprises: Great Britain’s Hotbed for Energy Data

Back in 2022, the government’s response to the consultation on the secondary legislation Maximising non-domestic smart meter consumer benefits, put energy providers in the pressure cooker. The original legislation aimed at enhancing data access for an underserved segment of energy users, namely SMEs. The legislation introduced a large chip on the table: According to the impact analysis, the potential energy savings from SMEs engaging with their energy data was estimated at up to £1.5 billion. And energy providers were mandated to supply this data – by October 2024.

The updated legislation outlined 3 key requirements for energy providers:

1. On-request data offer.
The on-request data offer allows SMEs and designated third parties to request access to up to 12 months of energy use data from their smart meters. This data must be provided online and for free, in a digital format, and within 10 business days of the request.

2. Default data offer
The default data offer mandates energy suppliers to provide energy use data for free to SMEs with smart meters. The data requirements are half-hourly or hourly consumption data, provided in regular intervals. This initiative aims to cash out the £1.5 billion chip by giving SMEs insights into their energy consumption and enabling them to make informed decisions about their energy use.

– An SME is defined as a business or a public sector site within the electricity profile classes 1-4 or with gas consumption of less than 732 MWh annually.
– The deadline for compliance is set for 1st October 2024
This allows energy providers five months, including the summer months, to complete the project from discovery to full rollout.
– Third-party suppliers are permitted to participate in the data provision process.

3. Raising SME awareness of energy data
The third initiative involves energy providers raising awareness among SMEs regarding the accessibility and benefits of energy data. This awareness-raising effort must occur regularly, minimally every six months, to ensure that SMEs are informed about the potential advantages of leveraging energy data for their businesses.

As the October deadline approaches, the market mobilisation to comply with these regulations intensifies. The most recent example came in April from SMS who, in partnership with Eliq, launched the Smart Energy Data app, an SME energy usage data app available to energy providers as a white-label solution to help them meet the deadline.

The mobilisation efforts also accelerated the Non-Domestic smart meter rollout. In 2023, while the overall installation of smart meters decreased by 6% compared to 2022, the installation of non-domestic smart meters saw a significant 39% increase.

Data source: Q3 2023 Smart Meters Statistics Report, Q4 2023 Smart Meters Statistics Report

By the end of 2023, 57% of non-domestic meters were operating in smart mode, slightly less than the 61% of domestic meters operating in smart mode. Between Q3 and Q4 of 2023, there was a 6% increase in non-domestic smart meter installations, marking the largest non-domestic smart meter installation burst to date.

Data source: Q3 2023 Smart Meters Statistics Report, Q4 2023 Smart Meters Statistics Report

Zooming in on non-domestic smart meters already at work, the distribution of non-domestic electricity smart meters in Q4 2023 is at 54%, slightly increased compared to the Q3 distribution of 51%. However, the most impressive change is spotted in operational non-domestic smart gas meters, which in Q4 marked an even distribution with non-smart meters, overturning the non-smart meter majority of Q3. 

Looking ahead, the aim for Great Britain-wide smart meter coverage is 2025 and advances in non-domestic smart meter installations give plenty of hope. However, the state of play today confirms one thing for sure: SMEs are the hotbed of the British Energy space right now. Are you up to speed?