Quantcast Chapter 1. Overview

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Utilities Metering

Total Energy Used

1.  BACKGROUND.  Prior to the 1970's, energy was inexpensive. Consequently,
these costs were often ignored.  In that era of energy affluence, inefficient
practices developed.  On military installations, the problem was further
compounded by a general lack of metering systems.  The Department of Energy
reports that prior to 1973, the energy costs of a typical metal fabricating
company totaled one-half of 1 percent of the total operating budget.  By 1980,
energy costs rose to 10 percent of the total operating costs and in other
industries, energy consumed as much as 25 percent of the operating budget.
With energy rivaling, or in some instances exceeding, other major cost
categories, attention focused on ways to reduce the staggering expenses.
Numerous programs designed to eliminate energy wasteful operations and improve
efficiency were implemented nationwide.  This manual emphasizes the essential
role of meters in energy management programs.
2.  WHY METER.  Metering is a management tool that points the way to efficient
use of utilities. Without metering, utility managers must depend on estimates
and models to determine effectiveness of their utilities systems.  For
example, by metering, managers can identify energy waste or questionable
practices, determine if steam and electric distribution lines are properly
sized, and ascertain if transformers are improperly utilized.  Metering
pinpoints equipment in need of repair or that is being used ineffectively.
Intelligent use of information generated by metering can result in savings of
both energy and dollars.  Identifying and eliminating operational practices or
equipment that waste or inefficiently use energy will contribute substantially
to successful energy management programs.
2.1 Identifying Energy Users. Many studies have been conducted to evaluate
the use of meters versus "flat rates."  These studies typically conclude that
large savings can be achieved by metering energy use. An electric utility
company in the Southwest found energy use decreased approximately 40 percent
when flat rates were eliminated and individual meters installed. As a
corollary, individual meters in an apartment complex were eliminated in favor
of a master meter and energy consumption doubled. Not all studies identify
such dramatic results, but they clearly show a potential exists for
significant savings if the user is accountable for the energy he consumes.
3. REDUCING COSTS.  Almost all electricity supplied by utility companies,
because of its extensive use, offers potential dollar savings. Other energy
systems such as steam, high-temperature water, and natural gas also offer
opportunities for savings.
4.  ELECTRICITY MANAGEMENT.  Electrical energy costs are high and are expected
to escalate. This makes it mandatory that energy saving procedures be
Implemented.  This task is more complicated than merely using less
electricity, although lower consumption reduces cost.  Since billing
procedures are often extremely complicated, it is imperative that a complete


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