Private Bag X15
You do not have to be a mathematician to discover that the LiveView system is, without a doubt, the best defence against inaccurate electricity bills, and at the same time, the most efficient tool for stopping energy waste.
But what is LiveView, and how does it work?
In short, it is a business intelligence tool that exists to monitor, measure, and manage your electricity use. It consists of a smart meter that transfers comprehensive data to an online dashboard, accessible from any computer or smartphone with an internet connection.
View our 10-minute video that explains in detail how LiveView works
Minimising your electricity cost requires you to take a firm stand against Municipal Malpractice (2) and Energy Waste (3), but it is vital to gather sufficient scientific evidence. Without transparent, precise, and accessible smart meter data, your chance of success is very slim indeed.
Reading the paragraphs below will show why such data is key to managing your electricity cost. Let’s look at municipalities first, but don’t forget about Energy Waste, which is even more important.
Whether by accident (read incompetence) or design (read corruption), the fact is thousands of businesses receive electricity accounts that bear no resemblance to their actual consumption. Below are some of their favourite tricks. (This list is by no means comprehensive)
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred.
It is standard practice for municipalities to make use of estimates to compile your bill, and there is nothing wrong with it as long as they follow the rules, but most of them don’t.
We found many instances where inflated estimates continued for years, despite a rule limiting it to three consecutive readings. Often these thumb sucks would also appear as actual readings on the bill.
Pitched against your solid, smart meter evidence, they have no chance.
Measured in kVA, demand makes up the bulk of the bill in many cases.
(If you want to learn more about demand, please watch our video.)
Most businesses have a demand sensitive account, meaning you get charged for the highest consumption measured during a 30-minute period over the billing cycle, usually a month. Even if you turn your power off for the entire month, and use it for only 30 minutes, you will be charged for whatever demand you created during those 30 minutes.
Although it is a worldwide practice, it opens many opportunities to exploit customers. Unlike kilowatt-hours, kVA cannot be estimated, and strict rules for dealing with kVA have to be followed by any utility. However, municipalities rarely enforce these rules, and this is, precisely, where they manipulate the figures to favour their own pockets at your expense.
Without your own smart meter data, you have no hope of challenging their charges.
Smart meters are incredibly smart instruments, but “garbage in, garbage out” as the saying goes.
Smart Meters rely on current transformers to provide the information they need to compute various electrical parameters. They need to be accurately matched and programmed, though, or else they output garbage.
In reality, many meters are programmed incorrectly at installation, causing both consumption and demand figures to be wrong. Converting to smart meters gave unprincipled officials a golden opportunity to apply their trade.
In numerous instances, customers reported sharply escalating costs after the council installed smart meters. Good luck if you want to challenge that without proof.
There is much more than the municipal incompetence that needs to be fixed.
Many councils use AMR systems (Automatic Meter Reading) that automatically report consumption data to their accounting programmes. Under ideal conditions, they work wonderfully well.
The problem comes in when the smart meters are vandalised for their SIM cards to make cell phone calls, or they stop working because of neglect. Once again, they resort to thumb suck accounting with predictable results.
Armed with your LiveView data, you will have the upper hand when objecting to charges for which they do not have proof.
Most municipalities are characterised by poor management and declining levels of service delivery.
This sad state of affairs is rooted in the lack of appropriate skills, unethical conduct, corruption and maladministration.
Whatever the reason, customers have to be extra vigilant in dealing with municipal accounts.
Having a paper trail and proof is one of the most valuable tools you can have when disputing charges.
Once you are happy that your business is correctly billed, it is time to stop wasting very expensive energy.
Without critical smart meter data, you are probing in the dark.
Now is the time to consult your in-house expert that understands more about your energy use that anyone else – your very own smart meter. For the first time, you will really know what is going on in your wires.
However, if you want to do something about your energy costs, you must be able to adapt. These changes all create an impact and increase flexibility, but it is imperative to have a clear view of when and how much energy you use. If you don’t, all you can do is hope for the best, and hope is not a good strategy.
A far better strategy is to follow universal best practises because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by any other means.
We produced, what is believed to be, one of the most comprehensively researched manuals in respect to the best strategies for managing your electricity costs.
Avoiding theoretical extremes in real world issues, it explains in practical terms how your company can use smart meter data to uncover Energy Efficiency that would significantly reduce your electricity costs. Find out how to trace wastage and reduce your electricity consumption by keeping abreast of modern techniques.
This online tool is easy to use, with live links and clever cross-referencing.
And best of all, it is free.
You may download it by going to the “Downloads” page or by clicking the button above. Paging through the manual will give you a good idea of what could be done in your operation. Once you have decided on a course of action, you can delve deeper and gain valuable, detailed advice.
Don’t be discouraged by the volume of information in this manual. It was designed with the businessman owner, as well as the professional facility manager in mind. Select what is of interest to you and use it as a guide for your circumstances.