Smart metering is growing in prevalence throughout the UK with the potential to save small businesses thousands of pounds on their annual energy bills.

The Carbon Trust has been working to encourage businesses throughout the country to take steps to reduce their energy use but the introduction of smart meters is seen to be a significant step in that process.

It's no secret that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are responsible for a considerable proportion of all carbon emissions recorded annually in the UK and encouraging reductions among those operations has long been a challenge for the government and for organisations like the Carbon Trust.

But the potential cost savings that smart meters can deliver for SMEs is increasingly providing a tangible incentive towards more responsible and cost-effective energy use.

A trial carried out by the Carbon Trust that involved 580 British SMEs found that the use of smart meters results in an annual average saving of £1,000 and the identification of potential carbon savings equal to 12 per cent of typical use.

Meanwhile, an independent survey on the issue, polling 1,000 business bosses, found that almost half valued the fact that smart meters provide actual readings rather than traditional estimates as the basis for utility bills.

It’s also understood that SMEs and their leaders appreciate that smart meters deliver real-time visibility on energy use and, in doing so, often serve to put the issue of energy use higher up a small or medium-sized company’s agenda.

Other benefits of smart meters that are helping to make them increasingly popular among businesses of different sizes is the fact that their readings are collected remotely and don’t require manual submission.

Online functionality elements of smart meters – such as being able to view your energy consumption in real time via the web – have made energy monitoring more convenient and with greater understanding of how people and businesses use energy, it enables users to set realistic environmental targets.

All of which has many experts convinced that 2016 will be a milestone year for smart meters in terms of energy efficiency and convenience for small businesses.