Half Hourly Metering

Half hourly (AMR) meters explained: what are half hourly meter readings and how do they impact you?

An Automated Meter Reading (AMR) electricity meter is a type of metering system that uses automatic meter reading technology to split your energy consumption into more accurate 30-minute blocks called half-hourly (HH) metering.

Because half-hourly meters offer remote, fully-automated readings, there’s no need to take a manual reading. This offers greater convenience for businesses and allows for accurate, up-to-date billing with no need for estimation.

What is the difference between half-hourly and non-half-hourly meters?

The main difference is that while standard business energy meters require you to make a note of your reading and send it to your supplier (usually once a month), half-hourly meters automatically give your supplier your latest reading at 30-minute intervals.

Find out more about half hourly readings by getting in touch with Consultiv Utilities

Understanding the benefits of half hourly meter readings can help you save on your business energy in the long run, which is important at a time when energy prices are on the rise. We have the skills you need to master energy management across your organisation.

If you would like further information on how your business could benefit from our range of tailored half hourly metering services, get in touch with the Consultiv Utilities team today. We’ll help you take the necessary steps to gaining full control of your energy spending and management, with long term benefits for you and your business.

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Do I need a HH (AMR) meter?

If your business has a peak electricity demand of 100KVA or more every half hour, then having a half-hourly meter is mandatory and you’ve no option but to have one installed.

If your peak electricity demand is no lower than 70KVA every half hour, then installation is optional. 

Understanding if you have a HH (AMR) fitted, by checking if there’s a “00” in the top corner next to the S (as shown below) on your electricity invoice.

In addition, you will also require a Meter Operator (MOP) Agreement for the maintenance of your half-hourly meter along with a valid Data Collector (DC) to process your half-hourly readings.


What is a MOP agreement?

A MOP Contract or Meter Operator agreement is a mandatory requirement for all half-hourly electricity supplied meters. This contract covers the supply of the actual meter along with the supporting maintenance and the necessary communications link for sending your half-hourly consumption data to your energy supplier.


What is a P272 mandatory meter change?

P272 is an Ofgem ruling that came into effect on 1st April 2017. Under the regulation, energy suppliers are responsible for changing Maximum Demand Meters (non-half-hourly) to half-hourly meters. The P272 regulation applies to businesses with 05-08 profile meters.

Prior to the implementation, of P272 both domestic and non-domestic consumers were put into profile classes ranging from 01-08, based on how and when they consumed energy. Since the change in regulations, business meters originally in profile classes 05-08 have been moved to HH meters (also referred to as profile class 00 by the energy industry).

P272 was introduced to make the energy market more efficient and create more accurate billing for business consumers. Half-hourly readings mean that energy suppliers can accurately match the amount of energy they buy to fulfil the amount of energy a business customer actually consumes.


What is DCP161?

DCP 161 introduced Excess Capacity penalties for Half Hourly (HH) electricity supplies. From 1st April 2018, HH supplies that exceed the assigned available capacity pay significantly more due to a change to the DCUSA (Distribution Connection and Use of System Agreement).


Why is DCP161 happening?

The new charge recovers the additional costs that DNOs (Distribution Network Operators) can incur when customers exceed their available capacity levels.


How does DCP161 affect businesses?

All half-hourly customers will be impacted by the increased charges from the DNOs if they exceed their capacity levels. The rates that are charged for excess capacity can be over 3x higher than the standard rate.

To avoid or reduce the impact of this change, half-hourly customers should manage their energy consumption and their contracted capacity levels better.


How can businesses comply?

It is vital that the available capacity and maximum demand levels are understood in case these supplies exceed the available capacity levels. At Consultiv Utilities we can review your account to look at your current capacity and see if an increase is needed.

Alternatively, a business could invest time and money in energy saving measures to reduce capacity to below the maximum allocation.

What is kVA?

Authorised capacity / kVA is the level of ‘apparent power’ reserved from the network to guarantee the provision of a certain volume of power to a site. All sites with a half hourly meter have a kVA allowance – it is itemised on a bill as a capacity charge.  

What are triads?

It’s worth knowing about triads when exploring the benefits and uses of half hourly metering. Triads are the three half hour periods of peak power across the national grid in a year (from November to February).

These three readings are first averaged and then used to calibrate the system costs, which are passed onto the industry. A Triad year runs from April to March, so the customer’s monthly invoices from April to February will recover a Triad Interim payment.


Additional charges involved in half hourly metering

There are a few charges to be aware of when it comes to half hourly metering. Settlement charges, otherwise known as pass through charges, are set by the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO). They include Available Capacity, Excess Available Capacity and Reactive Power charges.

If you have half hourly meters, Available Capacity can make up a significant proportion of your energy costs. This is used to increase the Maximum Demand, essentially describing the amount of electricity the local DNO is required to make available at your site at any one time.

Maximum Demand is another charge, showing a business’s peak demand of electricity at any half hour period. 


Can you upgrade to a half hourly meter?

It is possible to upgrade to a half hourly meter. We would recommend first checking your site requirements. If the kVA required is going to exceed 69kVA, you can opt to have a half hourly AMR meter installed.

You’ll need to have any relevant supply upgrade agreed and completed with the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) before your meter can be upgraded.