Developing and implementing a metering plan is highly dependent on the individual facility's needs, mission, metering equipment, and available infrastructure. One size does not fit all.
The following guidelines outline the typical process for planning and implementing a metering program:
- Establish program goals and objectives
- Identify needs to support selected analysis approaches
- Develop and apply evaluation criteria
- Design, install, and implement
- Validate performance and program persistence
Establish Program Goals and Objectives
Establishing program goals and objectives is the critical first step for all metering programs. While the ultimate goal is usually measuring and lowering utility use or costs, the objectives needed to get this done varies.
Examples of program objectives include:
- To fully enable energy bill allocation throughout the facility.
- To effectively manage electric loads and minimize costs under a time-based rate schedule.
- To identify system-specific operational efficiency opportunities.
Identify Needs to Support Selected Analysis Approaches
This second step in the process ensures that all necessary data is collected and analyzed. Federal agencies must survey existing metering equipment and infrastructure and identify additional equipment needed to meet the program goals and objectives.
The following questions are important to ask:
What specific types of data are needed to support the program goals and objectives?
What data analysis methodologies are needed to support the program goals and objectives?
What equipment is currently available (metering hardware, monitoring software, communication networking, etc.) to support the program goals and objectives?
What equipment is needed (metering hardware, monitoring software, communication networking, etc.) to support the program goals and objectives?
What staffing resources are currently available to support the program goals and objectives?
What staffing resources are needed to support the program goals and objectives?
Security is another critical component that varies widely across the Federal sector. IT staff should be asked to participate in program development from the beginning of the process.
Develop and Apply Evaluation Criteria
Metering equipment application should be driven by the ability to cost-effectively reduce utility use or costs. Determining which facilities can be metered cost-effectively requires evaluation criteria that accounts for life-cycle costs versus realized benefits.
The following variables impact the life-cycle cost versus realized benefit ratio:
- Annual utility cost of the metered facility.
- Cost to purchase and install metering equipment and infrastructure.
- Expected savings from metered data analysis and application.
- Site economic criteria and payback period.
Design, Install, and Implement
The planning process has been largely analytical up to this point. Enough information should now be collected to design and eventually install and implement the actual metering system.
The following elements are critical to the design, installation, and implementation of metering systems:
System financing needs to be addressed early in the design process and revisited once cost estimates based on actual designs are completed.
Facilities and/or utilities to be metered must be prioritized. There may be a need or benefit to metering some facilities and/or some utilities before others.
- The design of the metering system must:
- Satisfy functional requirements.
- Define system architecture.
- Develop equipment specifications.
- Review and refine the cost estimate for purchasing and installing the metering system.
Validate Performance and Program Persistence
With the metering system up and running, the program focus must shift to performance validation and persistence. Facilities must ensure:
- Accurate metered data is collected, analyzed, and put into productive use.
- The metering system continues to operate effectively and reliably.