Any one that has an electricity supply that falls under the category of a half hour meter may be surprised to know that you are in a small select niche of customers. It has recently being estimated that there is only approximately 100,000 meters with this type of supply profile in the UK. If you do have one of the meters then your business is in high demand with suppliers, as all of them prefer these types of profiles over any other sort of profile. So lets take a closer look at the half hour electricity market and see what make this market so unique. Review our Half Hourly Procurement Brochure and an overview of our approach and methodology process.
But why do suppliers love these types of supply over traditional electricity meters? Well there are several reasons to this, but the main ones are that size of the energy consumption associated with this type of supply and the ability to accurately understand the exact shape and profile use. The later really helps a supplier in their future energy purchasing requirements as they can forecast exactly how much energy is going to be needed and when it needs to be provided. Put simply sites with consistent usage patterns throughout the year will generally be more attractive to a supplier against irregular and constantly changing consumption profiles.
In most of the UK, and especially in residential areas, consumers as well as small businesses opt to use traditional non half hourly meters. However, half hourly meters take a reading of the amount of electricity that is being used during each half hour period and send it back to the electricity company that is supplying the power. For non half hourly sites the same can be achieved with the help of what are known as ‘smart meters’,but for these types of meters a communication system is always included as standard. Many suppliers choose to use a GSM sim card now as this is a low cost and effective way to transmit supply data back. However these can also include a physical phone line or radio packet signal device in areas where a mobile signal is no longer effective or has poor coverage. There are many benefits to having this type of supply, and the half hourly electricity market in the UK continues to grow, as a result.
Consumers or business owners who want to know whether or not they are part of the settled half hourly meter electricity market should first determine whether or not they are already using such a meter.
This is relatively simple to do; it involves finding a recent copy bill from your supplier that is assigned to the building and then looking at your unique supply number. This is normally displayed within a box of numbers with a large "S" at the front somewhere on your invoice. Once you have located this box look at the first two numbers on the top row. If these first 2 number are "00" then you already have a half hour meter.
The various other numbers on the bill represent different things. Some indicate whether or not the address is a heavy or light power user; others indicate whether you have installed the half hourly meter voluntarily or whether it was mandatory. Also included within this code of numbers will be the local distribution area that your meter is connected to, and the type of connection that you have. Either cable below ground or connected through electricity pylons. For a quick guide to determine if you have a half hourly meter, watch our short video overview.
Large industrial buildings and certain types of businesses use large amounts of power, and while traditional non half hourly meters are quite reliable for measuring this usage, half hourly meters are even more accurate. They are wonderful tools for these businesses because they will allow them to save money and energy through an energy management system. Those who are part of the half hourly electricity market can also hire consultants who can use the readings from these meters to quickly put together reports regarding energy usage. These may include times of peak demand, times of least usage and more.
As more and more business owners realise the benefits that these meters can provide, the half hourly electricity market will undoubtedly continue to grow. These meters ensure that usage is properly measured and that companies are properly billed for their usage, saving both time and money.
When the UK energy market was first deregulated it started out with the half hour meters and then gradually over a period of time worked its way all the way down to domestic level. The market was deregulated during April and October of 1990 and although some companies proceeded to add various extensions onto annual contracts, to take advantage of lower summer rates, still the vast majority of contracts start on these months still. By adding additional cheaper summer prices to help average out higher winter prices was fairly common, up until a few years ago when the divide between summer and winter power prices narrowed.
In line with this original market deregulation the vast majority of our customers that have these types of meters fall within these dates although because we have hundreds of half hourly customers our portfolio covers sites throughout the year. Most if not all half hour sites will have a contract start date at the start of a new calendar month. This is in line with how suppliers purchase and group these types of requirements together to ensure that they are buying in the most cost effective way for the market. Over the years some suppliers have chosen to start these contracts during the calendar month, but most if not all will finish at the end of a calendar month still.
If you are looking to compare half hour energy quotes or have any further questions about the half hourly electricity market, please don't hesitate to contact our friendly team who will be happy to talk through your business energy requirements. Our range of services will provide you with a range of half hourly energy quotes for your business including fully fixed, pass through or flexible half hour electricity quotes.
Total Gas & Power
Scottish & Southern Energy
LGP Lancshire Gas and Power
Crown Gas and Power
Contract Natural Gas
British Gas Business
Western Power Distribution
G4S Utility Services