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What is a half-hourly meter?


A half hourly meter (also known as HH or 00) is a business electricity meter that sends meter readings to the energy supplier every half hour via a telecommunications link. 


As a half-hourly customer, you need to appoint a Meter Operator (this is arranged via a Meter Operator contract which is separate to your Supply Contract). The Meter Operator arranges to install, maintain and retrieve the data from your meter and sends this to your energy supplier.


Both the older AMR (also called ‘advanced’) and the newer smart meter technologies allow for half hourly supplies. 


For businesses that have a maximum demand of 100kW or higher during any half hour period of the day, half-hourly metering is compulsory.


What is a DNO?


DNO stands for your local Distribution Network Operator. Regulated by Ofgem, these companies are separate from your energy supplier.  They manage and maintain the electricity network in your area – the local connectivity of cables and wires that bring power from the National Grid to homes and businesses.


In general, the development, maintenance and upgrading of the local network by DNOs is paid out of your energy bills through Distribution Use of System (DUoS).


Larger energy users, including all businesses with half-hourly meters, must have an agreement with their DNO about the maximum power which their premises will pull from the electricity system. This enables the DNO to ensure that the local system is robust enough to supply users’ energy needs. In turn, businesses pay a charge depending on their agreed maximum power load, usually called the Maximum Import Capacity or Available or Authorised Supply Capacity.


What is Maximum Demand & Maximum Import Capacity?


Maximum Demand (MD) is a business’s highest demand of electricity at any half-hour period and is measured in either kW or kVA. 


Maximum Import Capacity (MIC) is also known as Available Supply Capacity (ASC), Availability and Agreed Capacity. This is a connection agreement between your business and the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO). The agreement specifies the upper threshold of energy that the consumer expects to draw from the distribution system.


If the Maximum Demand exceeds the agreed-upon Maximum Import Capacity, an Excess Capacity Charge is levied by the DNO.


What is Capacity Charge?


Capacity Charge (also known as the Availability Charge) is the monthly per-unit charge that an energy user pays the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO). 


The charge is based on the agreed-upon Maximum Import Capacity (MIC) of the business and it covers the maintenance of the electricity network.


What is the kVA charge?


The kVA (kilo-Volt-Ampers) charge is a monthly amount paid to the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) for the available power capacity provided to your business. This is paid indirectly to the DNO, via your energy bill. Your kVA charge is based on your Maximum Import Capacity (MIC).


Where can I find details of my MIC and my kVA charge?


Your MIC and KVA charge are usually shown on your energy bill. Maximum Import Capacity (MIC) may be listed as Agreed Supply Capacity (ASC), Agreed Capacity or Availability. For your kVA charge, look for Capacity Charge or Availability Charge. Another simple way to find this key information is to call your local Distribution Network Operator (DNO).


What is a time-of-use tariff?


Time-of-use (also called time-of-day) tariffs offer lower rates of energy for business consumers who can shift their demand to off-peak hours. This helps suppliers and the entire UK energy network balance demand more efficiently. Plus, it helps business customers save on their energy bill.


Smart meters are crucial for the implementation of time-of-use tariffs. Businesses with smart meters can more easily understand their own patterns of energy use and can pinpoint opportunities to shift their demand.


What is P272?


P272 is a regulation which requires that energy suppliers measure the electricity consumption of business customers in half-hourly intervals. This meant upgrading meters with Profiles 05, 06, 07 & 08 to Profile 00. You can tell if you have a half-hourly (00) meter quite simply: next to the large S, your bill will show the number 00.


The reason for the change is to make the energy market more efficient. Due to changes in demand during the day, energy is more expensive at certain ‘peak’ periods. To price accurately, your energy supplier needs to compare how much energy your business uses at different times of the day with how much energy they need to buy from the generator.


In order to make this comparison process (known as ‘settlement’) more accurate, Ofgem introduced the P272 regulation.