Smart metering slashes utility bills

Small and medium-sized organisations could reduce their electricity, gas and water use by up to 25% using advanced metering techniques, the Carbon Trust says.

The Trust is carrying out a £1.5 million trial of new, low-cost metering equipment which, it says, is now viable for smaller sites with low utility bills of "well under £50,000". So far, meters have installed at 300 SME sites, and the Trust hopes to extend the trial to 1,000 sites by the end of the year.

The meters monitor consumption every 15 minutes and send readings to a computer which allows detailed analysis of usage patterns - and the ready identification of savings.

Shield Engineering, a manufacturing company specialising in machining of engine components, uncovered high energy use because staff were leaving machinery turned on overnight. It identified potential annual savings of up to £20,000. Tiverton High School, another participant, uncovered a water leak costing £20,000 per year.