Electric Power Submetering – Why

Electric Power Submetering – Why

The concept of electrical power submetering has been considered for decades, however, until recently implementation was impractical. The available technology was the standard electro-mechanical meters installed by electric utilities on the outsides of buildings at the point of entry of the electric power from the electric utility distribution grid. These meters can provide information on a gross usage level, at irregular intervals, and at the kWatt level.

The advent of micro-processor based intelligent devices coupled with modern data communications network technology enables the gathering of electric power usage information within the facility at the point of electric power consumption in real time. In AC power systems, real time data on the AC power factor can be provide valuable information. AC power factor is the measurement of the capacity of electricity (voltage time current) to perform work versus the apparent power flowing into the electric power distribution grid. A power factor of less than 1 can indicate inefficiencies in the utilization of electric power.

Why would gathering detailed usage information be important?

Clearly one reason would be to distribute equitability the cost of electric power usage. An example would be shared artist studio space in a warehouse.

A more nuance reasons for consideration would be;
•	Load balancing between inductor type loads (motors) and resistive type loads (electric heating) to improve power factor (e.g. more of the electric power performing work). 
•	Identification of maintenance issues (sudden increase usage signifying potential device failure).
•	Identification of under utilized or over utilized equipment loads.

The gathering of real time usage data and the subsequent analysis can result is significant efficiency improvements. On a community level, promoting environmental sustainability through efficient electric power usage is goal that is necessary for achieving the world’s climate amelioration efforts. 

-- Timothy Chen