Automatic Meter Readers (AMR)

What is AMR?

Automatic Meter Readers (AMRs or SMART Meters as they are sometimes known) provide suppliers with a cost-effective solution to obtaining meter reads on supplies that would otherwise need to be physically read. They are also capable of providing end users with information to help monitor and control consumption.

The problem

Many energy suppliers have been forging partnerships with metering companies and have begun installing AMRs under the headline that they are free of charge. The reality is that under a supply arrangement with your chosen supplier, part of the monthly standing charge includes a cost element which they pay to an agency to physically read your meter.

For an electricity supply, this would typically equate to an annual charge of around £80 - a charge that you do not directly see. By arranging installation of a ‘free’ AMR, suppliers are simply re-directing these funds to a preferred metering provider to install an AMR on their behalf. Consumption data from these meters would be ‘owned’ by the supplier, and the metering provider would generally aim to sell you services that provide access to detailed usage information.

The solution

To avert potential problems, we recommend signing an AMR agreement independent to a supply contract, which would mean you have a portable metering arrangement and more importantly, own and have access to your data.

Although an independent AMR contract would not be without cost, this should really be considered as part of the overall charge for a supply. Depending on supplier, this could be offset by the removal of the metering charge element within supply contract standing charges, in effect meaning that such a project would be a cost neutral exercise.

The benefits

There are several direct and indirect financial benefits that could further offset this none of which – other than the elimination of estimated readings – will apply to supplier installed ‘free’ equipment.

Accurate supply billing – supplier invoices should ultimately be based on actual meter reads.

Cost optimisation through more effective tariff management – having access to accurate supply data will help us to determine the optimum contract structure for each supply point and better manage supply costs. It could also allow us to improve terms, if we can demonstrate to a supplier that the assigned profile code (MPAN) is incorrect.

Monthly accrual reports – we would be able to provide monthly reports on projected costs that will allow you to budget with greater accuracy.

Potential energy savings through consumption monitoring – Using data from AMRs, we would be able to provide regular consumption reports that could help initiate behavioural changes within your organisation to reduce consumption and in turn costs.

How can Control Energy Costs help?

Our CEC Solutions team regularly manages AMR roll out projects from single site to multi-location portfolios across the UK. If you would like to manage an AMR roll-out project for your estate, please get in touch. We would be delighted to help.