Published to LA Confidential, Summer 2018
While monthly energy use data is essential for benchmarking, interval data (e.g., usage in 15-minute or hourly periods) provides a wealth of additional insights on how a facility uses energy. For many years, Con Ed’s largest customers have had access to such data via meters that send data to the utility via telephone landlines or more recently via cellular communications. Often sporadic due to metering and communication problems, that process will soon be consigned to the technology scrap heap by new smart meters under the utility’s Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) program.
Con Ed is replacing all electric meters by 2022 with units providing 15-minute consumption data for residential customers and 5 minute data for commercial billed customers. New smart gas modules will also be installed in the CECONY gas territory providing hourly data. That program (covering 4.8 million meters) is already underway. Find out when your borough (or county) will be involved at the Con Edison Smart Meter Installation page. All meters are being replaced, regardless of load, based on geographic location. As a result, many residential customers will have smart meters long before the commercial and industrial users that could make more immediate use of the data.
No action, aside from giving access to the existing meters, is required by customers. Con Ed is sending notification postcards to customers approximately 3 months in advance, followed by a letter about 45 days before its blue Smart Meter truck arrives. The actual work is painless, though there may be a brief pause in electric power during the meter replacement process. Online access to AMI data – at Con Ed’s MyAccount dashboard – should be available approximately two weeks after a new meter is installed. MyAccount provides tools for commercial customers to view their data with a weather overlay, or compare usage by hour, day, month or year. Customers can also download their interval data from MyAccount using the Green Button Download My Data tool.
Customers may then use their interval data to focus on issues that impact bills, (e.g., exactly when, and how often, a peak demand occurs), providing clues on ways to reduce it. Many customers chart interval data into daily load profiles to reveal night and weekend usage of equipment that should instead be shut off. Below see before-and-after 24-hour load profiles for one site. The cross-hatched area shows one day’s saved kilowatt-hours after the building’s equipment and energy management system were more tightly controlled.
Demand response (which requires interval data) may also become more viable as customers use their interval data to parse out major demand components with any eye to installing variable speed drives (or two-speed motors), dimming systems for lighting, or other measures to cut load when needed. Integrating solar and cogeneration into a building also becomes easier (and less financially risky) when a customer has a firm grasp on when on-site power will yield the best payback.
Con Ed will use data from its AMI system to improve its grid by giving it a deeper understanding of sub-hourly usage and voltages within its distribution lines, allowing for better voltage control, which will reduce energy consumption, and better outage response.
Securing the greatest value and understanding of interval data is enhanced by an expert’s eye, such as those offered by Luthin Associates. We have a long history of working with such data to help our customers save money and energy, while shrinking their carbon footprints.