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Smart VS AMR Meters: What Is The Difference?

Guides | Smart

6th February 2019

Smart VS AMR Meters: What Is The Difference?

Advances in metering and energy technology has taken leaps and bounds over the last few years, meaning manual meter reads and estimated bills are becoming a thing of the past.

Many businesses already have an AMR meter, but what is the difference between this and the new AMR smart meter?

First, we’ll look at what each type of meter is:


AMR stands for Automated Meter Reading device. An AMR meter works by creating a connection channel between a business customer and its energy supplier.

For an AMR meter, the communication only goes in one direction, to the supplier. The energy supplier will receive meter reads once per month, so there is no need for manual meter reads. This ensures accurate billing and allows the customer to analyse their energy usage data.


  • They send accurate meter readings to the energy supplier so there are no more estimated bills
  • Improved security and tamper detection for equipment


Smart meters are the more technologically advanced version of AMR meters. An AMR smart meter is required to be produced to an industry standard, referred to as the Smart Metering Equipment Technical Standard (SMETS). The latest generation of the AMR smart meters is SMETS2, which features many benefits over both conventional and AMR meters.

They share the same functionality of AMR meters by automatically sending a meter reading and diagnostic data to your energy supplier; however, they use a centralised data communication company (DCC) for their communications to the supplier. This allows them to both send and receive messages from their energy provider.

The AMR smart meter also comes with an optional Smart Energy Display, which shows you exactly how much energy you’re using in real time. This allows businesses to gain more control over their energy consumption and bills.


  • They send accurate meter readings to the energy supplier so there are no more estimated bills
  • Improved security and tamper detection for equipment
  • Gives customers the option of having a smart energy display, which shows real time energy usage in pounds and pence. This enables more detailed feedback of energy usage
  • Gives customers feedback on their energy usage to adjust their habits in order to lower their electricity bills
  • Helps the energy network to better understand the UK’s energy demand to match supply
  • Can be operated as a pre-payment meter if you need help managing your payments and budgeting


Despite certain similarities, the AMR meter and AMR smart meter use different technologies and have their own benefits.

An AMR meter only communicates from the customer to the energy supplier, whereas a smart meter has two-way communication between the energy supplier and the business customer.

The amount of information they provide is also different. AMR meters only provide kWh information and possible peak kW demand for the month.

Smart meters send a lot more information, including: cumulative kWh usage, daily usage, peak kW demand, voltage information, outage information, time of use kWh and peak kW readings. They also send tamper notifications to the energy supplier.

Smart meters come with an optional Smart Energy Display, which shows you real time energy usage and how much you’re using in pounds and pence. This helps improve customers’ understanding of their energy usage, and means there will be fewer customer support queries.


To answer the question, ‘Which meter should I have?’, the government has issued guidelines that require energy suppliers to offer smart meters to all domestic and small business customers by the end of 2020.

Although businesses who currently have AMR devices can keep them, in most cases businesses have not been able to have an AMR meter installed since 21st May 2018. Any meter upgrade will automatically be to a smart meter for these customers.

Smart meters give businesses more control over their energy consumption and are ideal for businesses looking to reduce their energy bills. As well as showing real time energy usage data, businesses can now add a new layer of control as we can now offer pre-payment mode on our latest generation of smart meters.

Some customers may be interested in the benefits that pre-payment smart meters offer. These are ideal for certain SME business types, providing an extra level of control to budgeting.

If you’re interested in installing a smart meter in your business, please contact us or click the link below to register your interest.

Register for a smart meter

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