Energy can be confusing at the best of times, but knowledge is power! As part of our Powerful Allies ethos, we are committed to making things easy and transparent, leaving you free to give your energy to the more important aspects of work life. If you get your MAM’s mixed up with your MOP’S, or have a dislike for the dreaded acronyms, have a read through our handy guide below!
Electricity meters come in two forms; a Half Hourly (HH) meter and a Non-Half Hourly (NHH) meter. Half Hourly meters are used for bigger demand meters that are using a lot of energy and automatically send meter readings to your Meter Operator (see MOP below) every half hour. This means you are billed accurately and, in most instances, you can see your usage on an online portal which can help you monitor your consumption.
Non-Half Hourly meters, however, are more like your domestic meters at home and are used for smaller demand meters. These will usually not be AMR (Automatic Meter Read) meters so you will be required to provide manual meter readings to your supplier, or your supplier may send someone out to read them for you periodically.
Automatic Meter Read meters can be fitted (usually at a cost) for your Gas and Electricity supplies. AMR meters automatically send your data to your supplier to ensure you are billed completely accurately. They take away the stress of those dreaded ‘estimated’ bills and also mean any leaks or faults are identified quickly. They are also helpful if you have a large site with lots of meters hidden away in every corner as you won’t have to walk around to take meter readings and they take out the ‘human error’ aspect from invoicing.
All Half-Hourly (HH) electricity meters are legally required to have a MOP which stands for Meter Operator. They are responsible for supplying, installing and maintaining your HH Electricity meters. Your electricity meters must be inspected every two years ‘by law’, to ensure it is safe, secure and accurate. They will require replacing periodically (10 – 30 years).
In-line with the MOP (above), the gas meter equivalent is known as the MAM, a Meter Asset Manager. They are responsible for ensuring the meters are safe and accurate. The standing charges you pay on your gas bill includes the MAM Fees, so why not choose a MAM that works for you? There is a more complex process in choosing your MAM than that of your MOP, but we can guide you through the process.
Data collectors (DC) retrieve and validate the data from your meter before forwarding to the energy supplier, enabling the efficient processing of billing and are also responsible for doing safety checks of meters. Some DCs’ make the energy data available to the end user (Data Aggregation – DA), which is important to your energy efficiency strategy and ensures your data is settled in line with industry procedures. It is a legal requirement to have a DC/DA in place for all HH Electricity meters, which is a charged-for service. For NHH and Gas AMR meters, the charge for DC/DA will usually be added to your bill. Having your data collated in one place online is the best way to look after your energy budgets – Afterall, if you can’t measure, you can’t manage!
Only when you can visualise your energy use, can you identify trends, such as irregular energy patterns, which may indicate opportunities to make quick wins in energy reductions. This is one of the many reasons why we promote the use of a DC, which provides access to your data via an online portal, assisting you and Powerful Allies in reducing your energy consumption.
Our recommended DCDA (Stark), as well as some others, will offer you a reporting platform where you can set up your own specialised reports (such as the consumption report below), set alerts, and view your cost reports.
Sub-Meters can be installed to measure the consumption of energy from specific targeted areas of a site. Sub-Metering a service or system can identify the potential savings which could be made from upgrading the service or system, such as replacing existing lighting with LED. This will then more precisely illustrate the level of savings achievable and the rate of return on your investment.
If your business has properties that are let out to staff for domestic use or if you’ve recently moved premises, then you will be familiar with the term ‘Change of Tenancy’. When tenants move out of a property, or if you move in, you need to contact the energy supplier and fill out the Change of Tenancy form. You will need to provide a meter reading that you want to start the new tenancy/end the current tenancy with, along with details of the previous and new tenant for billing purposes. A change of tenancy usually takes a few weeks to process, but you cannot change the supplier until it has been completed. We can guide you through this process if necessary and provide you with the correct forms for the suppliers.
The kVa (kilovolt amperes) is also known as ‘Total Power’.
Supply Capacity (or Availability) is a limit on the monthly maximum demand agreed between the user and the regional distributor (normally via the supplier). Measured in kVA. Also known as the Agreed Capacity, this is an agreed amount of electrical load for a property, as stated in the property’s Connection Agreement with the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO).
Availability (kVA) or Agreed Capacity refers to the limit of capacity for a site. E.g. if a site has an Availability of 150 kVA then maximum demand should not exceed that figure at any time. It is set and charged by the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO), according to the kVA of a premise. This fee covers investment and maintenance of the electricity network and can also be called the Capacity Charge. Customers pay a fee (per unit) according to the agreed capacity for that site. In theory, maximum demand should not exceed the agreed capacity at any time.
Pass-Through contracts are becoming more common within the business energy sector but there are a few things you need to be aware of when considering them. They differ from fully fixed contracts in that only the contract duration and wholesale element of your price is fixed for the entire contract duration. All other non-commodity costs including transmission, distribution & government taxes and levies are passed through to you from the supplier at cost and can change without notice and can result in some alarmingly increased bills.
In fully fixed contracts these commodity charges are higher as they have a risk weighting applied to allow for price increases, however, when looking at long-term solutions, fixed contracts offer the security of zero price increases for the duration of your contract term.
If you have any questions on any of the above, feel free to give us a call and our team can offer you guidance where needed. We are here to help!