Utility Bill Fundamentals


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In this presentation, Steve Heinz presents six tips for spotting problems with utiility bills.

Steve Heinz is a Professional Engineer and Certified Energy Manager, and is the Founder and CEO of EnergyCAP, Inc.

Learn more at www.EnergyCAP.com.

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Utility Bill Fundamentals

  1. 1. Utility Bill Fundamentals©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.comSteve Heinz, PE, CEMFounder & CEOEnergyCAP, Inc.
  2. 2. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.comPresented by EnergyCAP, Inc.EnergyCAP is used by organizations that receive many utility bills forbill processing, energy reporting and analytics30+-year industry leader; first release in 1982. (The predecessorsoftware was FASER Energy Accounting).Web-based and on-premise versions.Financially secure. No debt. No VC funds.EnergyCAP software is all we do—we don’t sell hardware, retrofits,consulting, bill payment outsourcing, procurement.Five years running
  3. 3. 1,500 organizations use EnergyCAP.City Government (San Francisco, Baltimore, Sacramento,Virginia Beach, Tampa, Denver, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City,Cleveland)County Government (Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara CA;Loudoun, Fairfax, Chesterfield VA; Miami Dade, Charlotte FL)Federal (USMC, Smithsonian, U.S. Dept of Energy Labs)Commercial (Ryder, Equity Residential, Forest City, BJsWholesale Clubs, Burlington Coat Factory, Northrop Grumman)Education (800+ school districts, SUNY system, Univ of CAsystem, UCF, Univ of Kansas)©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com
  4. 4. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.comUtility Bill FundamentalsThis session assumes a working knowledge of utility bills.
  5. 5. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com6 valuable utility bill tips that canhelp you spot problems and saveyou money.
  6. 6. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com1. Estimated billsWhy are bills sometimes estimated?Convenience of the vendor—save money via fewer readsFaulty meter (how long before corrected?)Lack of access to the meter (why?)Estimates are based on historical data and often are too highOne large EnergyCAP user had 8% of all bills estimated beforethey cracked down on the vendor.When an expensive account is estimated multiple months inrow, investigate!
  7. 7. 1. Estimated Bills©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com
  8. 8. 2. Units of MeasureGetting the UOM wrong will lead to garbage data for purposesof analytics and reporting.More than a single UOM may be shown on a bill.UOM varies:Gas: Therm, Dekatherm, MMBTU, CCF, MCFElec: KWH, may also show KVAH, KW, KVA, KVAR, KVARHWater: Gal, Kgal, CCF, HCF, CF, KCF, MCF, Hgal©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com
  9. 9. 2. Units of Measure©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com
  10. 10. 3. Don’t double count usageA common bill entry error is to count the same usagemore than once.Many bills show the same usage several times:In the meter read sectionIn the cost calculation sectionIn the month to month summary sectionIn the delivery/generation section©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com
  11. 11. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com3. Don’t double count usage
  12. 12. 4. Load FactorAn extremely useful calculated value that can help you spot onyour electric bills:Data problemsMeter problemsRate change opportunitiesMechanical/electrical system control problems©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com
  13. 13. Load factor is calculated:(Actual KWH Usage)/(Max theoretical usage)Actual KWH usage is what you see on your billMax theoretical usage is how much KWH you could have used if youoperated at peak load for the entire 720 hours in the billing period(assuming 30 days)Example: Your bill shows 40,000 KWH & 100 KW peak demand.Your actual usage is 40,000Your max theoretical usage is: 100 KW x 720 hours=72,000 KWHYour load factor is: 40,000/72,000=.555=55.5%Stated another way, for the month as a whole, you operated at anaverage load of about 55% of your max load.©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com
  14. 14. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com4. Load FactorHigh Load FactorIndicates very steady load—most equipment runs 24/7.Examples: data center, refrigerated warehouse,supermarket, enclosed parkingYou may qualify for an economical High Load Factor Rate!
  15. 15. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com4. Load Factor
  16. 16. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com4. Load FactorHigh Load Factor (over 85–90%)What about High Load Factor in some other type ofbuilding? (Office, school, store, restaurant, lodging.)High Load Factor means you have very steady 24/7 loads,which is another way of saying No Nighttime or WeekendSetbacks. Is that right for this building?
  17. 17. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com4. Load FactorHigh Load Factor (over 100%):That means your actual usage exceeded your maxtheoretical usage!How can that happen?Data entry problemMeter problemBilling problemDemand ratchet in effectCheck it out!
  18. 18. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com4. Load FactorLow Load Factor (under 20%):Indicates very spiky load—large loads run for short periodsof timeExamples: lighted outdoor recreation/athletics,standby pumpsLow Load Factor in an office, store, restaurant, educationalfacility, lodging, etc is a cause for concern:Data problemMeter problemBilling problemOversized/excessive equipment
  19. 19. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com4. Load FactorMedium Load Factor (40–60%):Typical for many building types that have nighttime andweekend setbacksExamples: offices, schools, restaurants, etcSeasonal variations are common as the electrical loadschange throughout the year due to changing HVAC needs.
  20. 20. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com4. Load FactorLoad Factor Report
  21. 21. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com4. Load FactorLoad Factor Chart–Outdoor Recreation
  22. 22. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com4. Load FactorLoad Factor Chart–Data Center
  23. 23. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com4. Load FactorLoad Factor Chart–Public Library
  24. 24. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com4. Load FactorLoad Factor Chart–Office Building
  25. 25. 5. Power FactorUnrelated to Load FactorA characteristic of AC powerInductive loads cause Power Factor reductions and currentincreases, hence low Power Factor penalties. Inductiveloads are loads in which the magnetic property ofelectricity is utilized:Large motors (Pumps, elevators, chillers, fans)Transformers, light ballastsCan be corrected with capacitors©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com
  26. 26. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com6. Understand Your Rates!This is most important!Understand what rates your accounts are on and whatalternative rates are available to you.You can find the rates posted on the vendor website or atthe U.S. Dept of Energy’s OpenEnergy Info
  27. 27. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com6. Rate Schedule
  28. 28. Resources to Learn More©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.com
  29. 29. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.comResources to Learn MoreEnergy UniversityA free service of Schneider Electric. Click on the link atwww.FreeEnergyManagerTools.com. Both of these videocourses, about 30 minutes each, are excellent.
  30. 30. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.comResources to Learn MoreBGE Learning ResourcesExplains demand and electric bills. A free service of BGE.Click on the link at www.FreeEnergyManagerTools.com.
  31. 31. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.comResources to Learn MoreOpen Energy InfoAlmost 30,000 electric rate schedules. A free service of theU.S. Dept of Energy. Click on the link atwww.FreeEnergyManagerTools.com.
  32. 32. ©2013 EnergyCAP, Inc. @energycap #energyleader www.EnergyCAP.comThank you for viewing this presentation!