UK SMEs granted £8.8m to trial innovative smart meter tech

A total of nine competition winners across the hospitality, retail and education sectors will explore new approaches to cut energy costs

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The UK Government has awarded £8.8 million to small and medium size businesses (SMEs) to take control of their energy use through the use of smart meters.

A total of nine competition winners across the hospitality, retail and education sectors will trial innovative approaches of the technology in controlling energy costs.

Official figures suggest these sectors use the same amount of energy as 4.3 million homes in total but that could be reduced by more than one million through more efficient practices.

According to the government, there are more than 11 million smart meters in operation in homes and small businesses, however, there is a lack of products specifically aimed at SMEs to help them use that technology to take control of their energy use.

The competition winners, which include tech giants Samsung and Toshiba, have been granted funds to develop such products.

Some have designed smart information systems that give businesses real-time, tailored data on their energy use. For example, Considerate Hoteliers is developing an energy management app for the SME hospitality market, which will provide users with information they can act on immediately to minimise operational efficiencies and reduce energy consumption and associated costs.

RAE2, an energy management system, will get data from smart and advanced meters and undertake complex analytics in order to create a visual representation of energy use for the business or site.

It will be able to create energy strategies aligned to business needs, set energy budgets for individual machines or operational activities, monitor energy use in near real-time and schedule workloads accordingly as well as identify potentially faulty machines or operational issues.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “Energy costs for businesses can be one of the hardest things to understand and control but these projects can change that, as well as help educate the next generation in our schools on the importance of controlling our energy consumption.

“Smart meters are an opportunity for us to rewrite the rules on how we engage with the energy market and these winners will ensure that the benefits can be felt by businesses and schools as well as homes.”

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