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Utility Hack #1 – Combine 2 Electric Meters to Save on kW Demand

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As a utility auditor I see this frequently. A facility will have 2 meters on 1 building. This is bad for your wallet. Why? Because you are being double billed for kW demand (if you are on a rate that bills for demand. If you are not on a rate that bills for kw demand, ignore this advice.)

What is kW demand?

To understand how this will save you money, you need to understand the concept of kw demand. The best way I have seen to describe kw is in terms of a car. You can think of kw demand as the miles per hour and the kwh as the miles or distance traveled. You can drive 1,000 miles and the fastest you have gone is 60 miles per hour. Same with electricity. You can consume 1,000 kwh and the highest kw demand is 60 kw. Your peak demand happens when you consume the most electricity within a 15 minute period. For example, when your peak demand could occur at at 6:00 PM when you have all of your electronic devices on.

How does combining meters help you save on kW demand?

Now if you have 2 meters you will be billed for the peak demand on each meter. If you have 1 meter, you will be billed for the peak demand on 1 meter. Since peak demand occurs at different times, the kw demand on 1 meter is always going to be less than the kw demand on 2 meters. For example, Meter 1’s peak demand occurs at 5:00 at 50 kw. Meter 2’s peak demand occurs at 7:00 at 60 kw. If these 2 meters are combined, the peak demand is going to be 60 kw plus whatever the 1st meter’s demand was at that time, lets say it was 20 kw at 7:00. So, if your meters are combined, you will be paying for 80 kw (60 kw + 20 kw) instead of 110 kw (60 kw + 50 kw). That is a 27% reduction in your kw demand. If you are consuming a lot of electricity, that can add up to a lot of money.

How much money can you save by combining meters?

HOW MUCH MONEY? You ask? Well that depends on your load. Take the example above and multiply it by 10. You will be saving 300 kw per month. Multiply that by an average distribution kw charge of $6 per kw and you will be saving $1,800 per month or $21,600 per year.

Of course you have to take into consideration the cost to combine 2 meters. Another option is to keep the 2 meters and install a 3rd meter that will total the first 2 meter reads into 1.

So by now you understand that less is more when it comes to meters. Be like the penguin wolf and combine 2 things into one. You might come out with something even better! He looks so happy, and you should be too, so listen to the utility hacker and do what you can to save on your utilities!

Utility Hacker

The utility hacker is passionate about saving people money on their utility bills and protecting the environment. I was a utility bill auditor in Texas for 10 years. I am sharing my knowledge to help people survive the crazy utility industry that we live in today.