The Smarter Smart Energy Meter

22 July 2017

Investment in energy monitoring has traditionally been dominated by lengthy CAPEX discussions and the technical specifications of proposed monitoring infrastructure which means spending more cash to find out where cost savings might be made. Little thought was ever given to the data output and associated software –most competing products delivered similar back end services and data displays which required users to export data to CSV format before being able to really interrogate it.

That’s changing with Panoramic Power smart sensors available now in New Zealand, through Total Utilities.

My colleague David, has previously written a series of articles regarding the rise of artificial intelligence algorithms and how major corporations are using these to exploit customer data and drive behavior. Data obtained from raw internet traffic, page clicks, key search words and online transactions is now being structured by algorithms in order to deliver insights and show trends. Further to this, the data is normalised by user defined groups and then compared.

Smart recommendations for energy flows

If Amazon or Apple can recommend a book or record that I might like, why can’t my energy monitoring software make recommendations? And if the data is all I really need, why should I have to purchase a very expensive metering asset that may only be required for 12 months? Of if my usage pattern changes why can’t I quickly adjust my monitoring setup?

Total Utilities encounter clients every day who operate energy intensive equipment, while the type of equipment varies greatly from production and manufacturing applications, cold storage, and commercial buildings, the issues remain the same. Clients need real time visibility of where energy is being used so that they can make strategic decisions and act quickly to save money.

Further to this, they need to know when energy intensive systems are under stress and may require attention outside of their normal maintenance cycle. They want the ability to see their energy flow within their site in various graphical formats and to be able to benchmark their HVAC or compressors across multiple facilities.

Total Utilities use Panoramic Power’s IoT (Internet of Things) sensor technology and cloud based analytics to help customers understand energy consumption.

Fast to install, fast to get benefits

Worldwide there are eight billion data points per month across 800 sites in 30 countries. With more being added in New Zealand every week.

Forty smart meters were installed in 1.5hrs at an Auckland CBD site the week before last and fifty were installed in 2hrs at a site in West Auckland on Friday. Each sensor is clamped onto the outgoing electrical wires of a customer’s distribution board. This eliminates expensive wiring, investment in new panels, lengthy shutdowns, IT connections and reduces health and safety risks. Once installed, it monitors the flow of electricity, sending information wirelessly to the cloud-based analytics platform every ten seconds.

With such an ease of install combined with effective data presentation and representation, potential energy savings can be identified quickly by pinpointing specific areas for further investigation. It took less than two days for Total Utilities to identify that the lighting of a commercial building was switching on at 2am and running for two hours every morning despite the BMS (Building Management System) showing all lights were off. Simple measures were implemented quickly which means the energy monitoring system has already paid for itself.

While the above is a relatively rudimentary and common example, Total Utilities can just as easily correlate key variables such as chiller temperature against outdoor temperature on a monthly, daily and hourly basis across multiple sites located throughout NZ without the need for pain staking manual calculations. We then deliver clients meaningful information and advice quickly so they can act and make significant energy savings.

Total Utilities believes that traditional energy meters are merely becoming a means to an ends as clients engage us for the value we create with intelligent data and analytics.