Energy consumption in an industrial plant can often be the villain in budget execution, especially when suddenly in a given month the energy and utilities bill rises unexpectedly. The reason for the high consumption rates may not be related to production or equipment problems, but due to leakages (including electric) in the own energy inputs distribution networks.
When facing an off-pattern energy consumption, an energy and utilities manager usually investigates its possible causes. Did we produce more this month? Did we produce a different product mix? These first questions are immediate, but not assertive. In case of negative answers to these questions, the next steps may involve inspections of equipment and distribution networks, activities that take a lot of time and delay the problem’s diagnosis.
Many times, detecting leakages takes a significate amount of time and team effort. The larger the site, the larger the distribution networks and the amount of equipment, and the harder it is to find leakages.
Why is it so difficult to detect leakages and why can it be so expensive to companies? We have listed three of the main problems:
- Energy and utilities cost control is done one or a few times per month
In many companies, the manager’s main control tool ends up being the energy bill itself, usually received monthly, which delays identifying the problem and the decision-making process, and makes diagnosis harder.
- There is no internal measurement or automatic data processing
Energy and utilities bills are only based on data from frontier measurement for the whole site. Without internal measurement, energy management teams end up having to look for leakages all over the site, without restricting the search to specific areas or networks. Even when there is internal measurement, the lack of intelligent data processing tools makes the diagnosis imprecise and tiring.
- It is hard to verify if consumption is in or out of a different standard
The larger the company, the more lines and equipment, which makes it difficult to verify consistency of determined consumption standards related to each production scene. Manually crossing executed consumption data with expected consumption models becomes wearisome for larger sites, again delaying diagnosis and demanding great effort from teams.
Energy and utilities management systems like Viridis can be great allies to change these situations. There is no need to wait for the energy bill to arrive at the end of the month in order to identify the problem; instead, Viridis sends e-mail, SMS, and mobile app notifications in real time whenever it identifies any abnormality in utilities and energy inputs consumption. By using real-time monitoring of thousands of meters and process variables, the solution detects where consumption is regular, where there are balance breaks in the networks, and where there is leakage evidence in the plant, making management teams more agile and reducing energy and utilities waste.