BEIS consultation on proposals to improve non-domestic consumers’ smart metering awareness and data access
BEIS’ latest consultation sought views on two non-domestic policy proposals; extending Smart Energy GB’s (SEGB) remit to specifically cover microbusinesses and mandating access to energy consumption data be offered for free.
BEIS should empower the competitive market to address the issue of microbusiness awareness of Smart meters.
Historic BEIS policy disincentivised microbusiness specialists and constrained business consumer choice to a centralised, domestic Smart metering solution that fails to meet their requirements. Hence the low levels of awareness. Directing SEGB to undertake a potentially inefficient, unfocussed and expensive marketing campaign, which would ultimately be paid for by consumers, will not rectify this.
Allowing the competitive market to deliver established, alternative solutions that address the shortcomings of Smart meters for business consumers will, whilst also being more cost effective.
Microbusiness marketing will also impact non-microbusinesses – any messaging should be relevant for both and stress the following:
- Accepting a Smart meter is optional, and;
- There is a completely equivalent and fully compliant alternative in Advanced metering
All consumers should have fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory access to their energy consumption data.
We strongly believe there should be no additional “point of access” that are triggered by a consumer’s request to access data they’ve already paid for. If additional DCC costs are incurred, the notion of free access to energy consumption data is undermined.
A standardised “supplier-to-consumer” data offering will not encourage energy management.
Data belongs to the customer and they should be able to request it in whatever format suits their requirements.
This is an area where consumers will benefit from competition as providers develop new formats and distribution methods to meet evolving needs. There should be obligations to share data within mandated timelines, which are better defined than “in a timely manner”.
This should apply equally to suppliers, agents and other parties.