RWE's UK arm npower is to offer automated meter reading (AMR) technology to its business customers. The AMR technology is to be known as the 'npower smartmeter'.

The technology will be a breakthrough for non-half hourly energy users looking to improve energy management and reduce administration and asset maintenance costs, the company says.

With the smart meter installed, companies can have readings automatically taken up to every half an hour and data can be transferred from the meter as often as every day, depending on requirements. Having a more accurate understanding of consumption will almost eliminate the uncertainty generated by estimated billing and afford companies the means to analyze energy usage and bring down costs, RWE npower said in a statement.

AMR will also help companies that have unmanned sites, or security issues, such as water companies, banks or nurseries, as gathering meter readings in the traditional manner can require a great deal of their time and resources, as well as leaving many bills based largely on estimated rather than actual readings.

The technology will also benefit companies that have a large number of sites, as it will bring together all the data from all sites into a single, easy-to-use web based facility. This will allow energy use to be better monitored, therefore benchmarking consumption over time, and help identify and realize cost savings across a company’s portfolio.

With energy costs causing concern across many UK businesses, getting a greater understanding of consumption is imperative to effectively manage costs. Until now, most non-half-hourly energy users faced challenges trying to do this as infrequent readings including estimates, made the process difficult, says David Titterton, head of marketing at npower’s business supply unit.