We all know about the serious pressure utility bills are putting on businesses across the UK. With soaring energy prices putting the squeeze on finances, we’ve been looking at how we can help businesses cut electricity bills.
While external factors push up prices, there is still a range of energy-saving measures you can try to save money on your energy bills. These may be practical, but the cost savings are marginal when compared to a little-known tip that affects how your business electricity bills are calculated and the fees you pay.
This relates to your Meter Operator and Data Collector contract, and when managed effectively, it’s possible to save hundreds and thousands of pounds depending on your business size and industry.
Do I have a Meter Operator Agreement or MOP contract?
Yes. A Meter Operator Agreement, MOP contract or MOP agreement, is a legal obligation between a business and an electricity meter operating company, covering all half-hourly supplied electricity metres. In a lot of cases, your MOP is included in your existing electricity bills and is made between the meter company and your electricity supplier, without your involvement. This relationship between meter operators and electricity distribution businesses is governed under the Meter Operating Code of Practice Agreement (MOCoPA).
What is a Meter Operator (MOP) contract?
A MOP or Meter Operators role is to install, operate, and maintain automated electricity meters and devices on behalf of energy suppliers and their customers. Meter Operators are required to meet the stringent engineering, technical, regulatory and performance standards set by bodies such as Ofgem and Elexon.
Automated Meter Readers (AMR) and smart meters allow Meter Operators to collect half-hourly and non-half-hourly consumption data however, the validation of the data must meet industry procedures and be accredited as Meter Operators, as well as Data Collectors and Data Aggregators (MOP, DC & DA).
What is Data Collector (DC) & Data Aggregator (DA) contract?
DC (Data Collection) & DA (Data Aggregator) are legal requirements for businesses with half-hourly meters. The DC retrieves your consumption data and then forwards it to the DA who validates the data so it can be used by your supplier for billing purposes. The data collected can also be provided for you to view on an online portal.
What is a half-hourly supplied electricity meter?
A half-hourly supplied meter is a type of electricity meter which measures your power use to the half hour (instead of hourly), giving a more accurate result to generate your bills. It’s a legal requirement for all businesses with a supply of over 65kW, but a half-hourly meter reading can also be requested by other businesses that are trying to cut their utility bill costs.
How can a new MOP contract save my business money?
Most Meter Operator Agreements are made between the meter operating company and your electricity distributor, as part of your tariff and without your involvement in the process. They usually include a fee from the supplier to manage the service, and they often don’t check that you’re on the best package with the meter operator. Ongoing support can also be limited, with your electricity supplier often telling you to ‘speak to the meter operator’ if you experience a technical problem.
By negotiating your MOP contract directly with the meter operator, you can save money – as you can usually negotiate a lower fee. Furthermore, working with a third-party specialist can save you even more money, due to their knowledge of the current lowest energy prices and direct relationships with energy suppliers and distribution companies.
Effective Meter Operator Agreements can provide greater control over your overall electricity spending, through improved visibility of your usage. For example, if you have several meters within your business, it’s possible to negotiate different MOP contracts for each meter, by negotiating a cheaper deal in the areas of your business with higher usage, such as in manufacturing facilities or when charging electric vehicles.
MOP readings can also be used to validate your past electricity bills, comparing your actual half-hourly usage against the estimated data that your electricity supplier uses to calculate your bills. It’s also possible to reclaim backdated overspending on your electricity bills – allowing you to claim back any past overpayments that your business may be owed and save money in the future. You can see the specific charges your business is paying as part of your itemised bill.
How do I set up a new Meter Operator Agreement?
Through talking to your existing meter operator, or speaking with a new provider, it is possible to work with them to put in place a new arrangement which would cover all the relevant aspects needed to get this up and running. This includes several key elements:
- Creation of contract paperwork based on your usage, number of meters and other business requirements.
- The installation of any new meters as required.
- The ongoing maintenance of your installed meters.
- The delivery of consumption data and associated communication link between your meter and utility provider – fully automating the process.
However, this work can be managed by a specialist provider, saving both time and money for business owners. Just like electricity providers, Managed Service Providers like Curveball Solutions can negotiate with meter companies – making sure that these savings are passed on to you in your monthly bills.
How do I manage my MOP contract?
Your electricity usage is measured in kilowatt-hours, a measurement of watts consumed in each given time period. The main variable here is whether you’re using an analogue electricity meter or a new digital Smart Meter.
For analogue meters, the process is reliant on providing a monthly meter reading to your energy supplier which then allows them to calculate your bill. If you’re using a Smart Meter, then this data is submitted automatically via radio waves or your business internet connection.
I want to save on electricity bills with a review of my MOP contract.
What are the next steps?
The first step is to send us a recent business electricity bill, this will give us the information we need such as your electricity usage and all charging. We can then use this information to swap your MOP contract to a contract directly with the meter operator – we can do this at any point in your electricity contract.
How much will a MOP Contract review cost?
We offer this service free of charge. This means that the only effort on your part is to send us your bill (say 2 minutes?). We will then review your electricity bill and let you know if we can help save you money and how much.