Measuring energy use: It’s not something you think about every day. Rather than take a proactive approach, most businesses and individuals are content to wait for their next bill to tell them if their consumption has been high, low or average.
But how do we know what the energy bill is telling us is informed and correct? To understand this, we need to look at how energy is measured in Australia, and what data we can gather from our site to know we are paying for what we are spending.
A simple overview of how energy is measured
A watt (w) is the measurement of electric power. Commercial and household appliances like air conditioning, computers and whitegoods are often marked with a watt rating so you can see their usage. For household goods, and some industrial machinery, a compliance badge is utilised as a standard, so you know the efficiency and amount of energy required for it to function correctly.
Electricity consumption is measured by counting the amount of watts expended over a one hour period, known as a watt-hour. When you multiply the watt by the duration of its usage, you’ll find the amount of total electricity consumed.
For example - If a 60 watt light bulb is turned on for an hour, it will use 60 watt-hours of electricity.
On your electricity bill, you’ll see a recording of kilowatt-hours (kWh) consumed during that time. Kilowatt-hours being 1000 watt-hours, better reflecting the total use of energy in your home or site. You are then charged at the applicable cents per kWh rate. The total energy use for your commercial property or site will then be fed into a meter, which is read in order to glean your total use over a period of time.
Where a reading can go wrong
When a meter reader cannot access your property or read your meter for other reasons, your provider may instead issue you with an estimated bill instead. This estimate is based off of your previous energy usage in the same season previously (so, for example, your usage estimate compares winter 2020 to winter 2021). You’ll know if your reading is an estimate as it will include the term estimate, or sometimes just an E, on your bill.
The impact this style may have on you and your business is fluctuation uncertainty. A too high reading one month may be adjusted with a lower one the next. Or if you’ve been undercharged for one, you’ll have to make up that difference with your next bill.
For large energy users, your monthly bills may also be incredibly complex and difficult to understand. Most businesses aren’t aware there are multiple companies who pass on charges to your energy retailer for them to model and pass on, which commonly leads to incorrect bill charges.
Making Metering work for you
If you’re experiencing creeping uncertainty about the realities of your energy usage, SHIELD metering and monitoring offers insight beyond metering alone into where, when and how you are utilising energy. SHIELD monitoring allows us to not only validate your existing bills, but also conduct a network tariff and demand assessment that ensure none of those complex line items are amiss, and failing to reflect your actual usage and needs.
SHIELD is a unique opportunity to take back control and learn more about your business power usage, thanks to access to data on demand. Rather than rely on the summaries graphs your retailer provides with each bill, you’ll have access to records that not only cover usage, but the when, why and how of it.
Most importantly, all SHIELD monitoring services come with a dedicated account manager, who acts as your personalised expert when it comes to any changes or advice. As a specialist in the field, your energy manager can take the SHIELD monitoring data and turn it into actionable insights. For example, monitoring your Power Factor (PF) creates potential to reduce Demand charges with a PFC Unit, while KVA data allows us to see how much and when you are recording your peak KVA demand. In plain english? We’re finding even more ways for you to reduce your energy costs without you lifting a finger.
Ryan & McNulty also opted for SHIELD metering and monitoring services so Choice Energy could validate their monthly bills while monitoring their consumption and load profile. Learn more about their savings here.
As part of our holistic energy team, your Choice Energy account manager can also provide advice on procurement and efficiency options like solar energy feasibility. By covering the full spectrum of using less and paying less on energy, your dedicated manager is able to proactively identify opportunities for you, presenting them to you when they arrive and making them simple to undertake.
Learn more about SHIELD monitoring with Choice Energy here.