Measuring to Manage With Today’s New Metering and Monitoring Devices

July 13, 2016 Franck Gruffaz

Measuring and managing – these two concepts go hand in hand. You can’t manage what you can’t measure, as the classic business adage says, and you also can’t see how well you’re managing without measuring on an ongoing basis. With power costs climbing, and the importance of good power quality on the rise, building owners and grid operators are seeing greater need for metering programs on both the supply and demand sides of electricity transactions.

As Figure 1 shows, meeting all these needs requires metering devices in a number of locations throughout a facility and the connected grid. Specifiers need to understand both the goals of each specific metering installation, along with any standards that might be relevant to the location and purpose of the device.

 

Figure 1: The five main measurement applications in relationship to the supple side and the demand side.

 

Specifically, today’s specifying engineers are being asked to address five major needs. In a series of posts, I’ll be going into each of these needs, in depth, describing goals and requirements. The following offers a brief overview of these applications.

  • Billing. The process that allows energy suppliers or their representatives to invoice their customers according to a defined contract, for measured usages or services. (These applications may be covered by international standards or covered by regulations such as MID (Measuring Instruments Directive) in Europe or NMI (National Meter Identifier) in Australia, sometimes in addition to utility specifications.)
  • Grid power-quality monitoring. The process that allows energy suppliers and/or their customers to verify the quality of energy delivered/received is in line with a defined contract or regulation. (Limits for European public networks are defined in EN 50160.)
  • Cost allocation. The process that allows a facility manager to allocate energy expenses to their related internal departments or cost centers, such as manufacturing floors or data centres.
  • Sub-billing (or tenant metering). The process that allows a landlord, property management firm, condominium association, homeowner association or other multi-tenant property to spread out invoice over tenants (assign portions of invoice to tenants), for measured usages or services. This fee is usually combined with other tenant’s facility fees. (These applications are sometimes covered by regulations, as they are in the UK, Canada and some U.S. states.)
  • Bill checking. The process that allows customers to check if invoice sent by energy suppliers or their representatives is correct.
  • Energy Efficiency and cost savings, energy usage analysis. The process that allows a facility manager to assign energy consumption/costs to zones (e.g., plants, floors and workshops) and to specific usages (e.g., HVAC, lighting, appliances and processes) over time, in order to optimize energy consumption and energy costs
  • Network monitoring, power availability and reliability, facility planning. The process that allows a facility manager to monitor its electrical installation in order to ensure availability and reliability of energy as well as asset durability

Meeting today’s needs

Fortunately, the growing need for meters to address all these applications (except billing applications) can now be met with a new generation of PMDs (Power Metering and Monitoring Devices) is coming to market. Schneider Electric is leading the industry with its PowerLogic PM8000 Series, with models designed for key metering points throughout a facility’s energy infrastructure. We invite you to learn more about this versatile line-up on our website.

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