Powered by Octopus: the Saltburn Vintage Rooms go smart

Saltburn blog header

When we want to know how customers are getting on, we go straight to the source.

Recently, we’ve been catching up with businesses that have smart meters.

We see them as a great way to save money, make customers’ lives easier and unlock a greener future. So, we've been chatting to businesses about the difference smart meters are making to them.

That’s why we got in touch with Fiona from the Saltburn Vintage Rooms. She told us all about how she’s finding life with her smart meter - and how it’s helping to make her shop greener and more efficient.

The Saltburn Vintage Rooms are home to heaps of bygone goodies. From silks to silverware, vases to vinyls and handbags to hardbacks - the shop’s shelves meet many an antique appetite.

They sit - aptly enough - on Diamond Street in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, just east of Middlesbrough and up the coast from Whitby. But, while the items on the shelves are vintage, the energy setup is anything but.

Their electricity runs through a new smart meter. This is helping the owners - Fiona and Susanne - to take control of the shop’s energy usage. With the Octopus app at their fingertips, they’ve become energy aficionados, keeping the spotlights shining on their shelves without wasting electricity.

So, we spoke to Fiona to find out more about the difference that going smart has made to the shop.

You’ve been running the Saltburn Vintage Rooms since November 2020. How is managing energy different today compared to when you opened?

Energy prices have been increasing a lot for everyone. So, we take a lot more interest in what we’re using in the shop - and making sure we’re not wasting anything.

We’ve been much more conscious of what we use since the energy crisis began.


Why did you choose Octopus as the shop's energy supplier?

Before I took on the rooms, I’d read about Octopus in the media. All the mentions were so positive - I was particularly swung by the reviews in Which?.

I tried to switch my home energy to you first, but wasn’t able to leave my contract yet. When I found out you supply business energy too, it was a cert that we’d go with you.

We had such a positive experience that I did then end up switching my home energy soon after.


I can imagine it takes a lot of power to run things. Is there anything about the shop that’s particularly energy-intensive?

Well, we try to be efficient. But obviously, things cost money to run - including 120 tubes of fluorescent lighting! They’re on 4 or 5 days a week.

saltburn susanne and irene

We try to save energy in other places. That’s why we don’t often have the heating on, for example.


We installed your shiny new smart meter a few months ago - how did you find the set-up experience?

It was all very straightforward. The chap that installed it was really helpful and it all went smoothly.

Once it was up and running, I looked at my online account and saw all the information and data in there ready for me. It was very quick.


What benefits have you noticed from having a smart meter?

There are lots. The biggest is knowing how much energy is being used and when. With that information at your fingertips, you can identify what’s using the energy and turn it off.

It’s also much more convenient. I don’t have to remember to read the meter each month, so it saves me a job!


So you’ve been monitoring your energy usage more?

Yes, I’m able to pay so much more attention to it now. I check the Octopus app every day. It shows you what you’re using at different points across the day.

When there’s a spike in what we’re using, I can see why. Looking at the information in the app, I can tell what needs turning off. I can even tell if people are leaving the lights on when I’m not there!

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We also provide spots for other sellers to display vintage lighting. We insist that they use low-energy light bulbs, and I check the Octopus app each day to make sure they do. If I notice someone isn’t using a low-energy bulb, I can let them know - even if I’m not in the shop that day.


Have you noticed a difference in the amount of energy you’re using?


Yes, we’re definitely using less now.

In the past, the staff and I would talk about wanting to use less energy. But, it wasn’t always clear how or where we could turn things down.

Now, we have the data to back everything up. It’s easier to convince everyone that we need to switch things off - because we see how it’s affecting our usage. We can check what we’re wasting and stop it from happening, using the data to prove it.

Compared to this time last year, our usage is lower - and it’s all thanks to the smart meter. We’re so much more aware and careful about leaving things on.


Have you had any difficulties with the new smart meter?

No, none at all! We’re really happy with what it has to offer.


It sounds like you've become an energy-saving expert! Do you have any top tips for other shops looking to be more efficient?

Small things can make a big difference.

For example, get low-energy appliances and energy-saving light bulbs wherever you can. These can really affect how much energy you’re using.

Connect and save

Recently, someone mistakenly used a 100 watt bulb on a glass lamp with a metal frame. This made the lampshade so hot that it burned when I tried to change it! So low-energy bulbs aren’t just more economical, they’re safer too.

And - of course - I’d definitely recommend having a smart meter too! It's made all these efficiency improvements possible.


Thanks so much for speaking with us, Fiona.

No problem - thank you. It’s nice to be a part of the drive to save more energy.


It’s always a pleasure to hear about customers reaping the rewards of a smart meter. The Saltburn Vintage Rooms are another great example of how businesses can make going smart work for them.

Like Fiona, you too can unlock these smart benefits for your business. By getting a smart meter, you’ll be able to:

🎩 save time and reduce your energy bills 🎩

🪞 use our app to track how much you’re using 🪞

🧥 make extra savings in smart trials, like Saving Sessions 🧥


If you'd like a smart meter of your own, just let us know.

To learn more about how businesses can benefit from smart meters, check out our interview with Simply Flowers and our round-up of the 7 best things about having a smart meter - according to our business customers.

Published on 26th July 2023 by:

image of Pete McNally

Pete McNally

Content Writer at Octopus Energy For Business

Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!