Energy Management Overview

The energy management at the apartment complexes is becoming more and more complex especially in the power starved areas. At the places like Gurgaon, 10-15 % of the total power gets supplied by DG. The consumers are also getting more and more demanding. It is expected that the situation may not improve in near future as well. The societies are investing significant capital in setting up DG power plants which are originally designed as the back-up plant while in reality they work as secondary power supply unit.



Any modern state of art residential complex, its residents and facility management people need to look at the following questions:

a)    How do we optimize the cost of power

The cost of Electricity Board (EB) power is going up every year. Similarly the DG power cost is going up and would continue to do so in view of the diesel price increase. The operating cost of DG power is roughly 2.5 times of the cost of EB power. If you add capital and maintenance cost of DG, the DG cost would even become higher. The power operations have to look at ways and means to reduce the cost of power and more importantly usage of DG power.

b)    Do your residents know when DG is on

One of a very useful method for reducing DG power consumption is information availability to the residents on when the DG sets are running. You may have or may not have invested in dual energy source residential meters. It is not practical for the residents to go to the meter to check which indication is on. If they can get an indication inside their houses through a home display, the can take more informed decisions of the usage of DG power. It may not only reduce the DG bill for the residents, but may allow a society to operate on less number of DGs for reduced power load.

c)     Have you set a system in place to analyse of ELECTRICITY BOARD bills on continuous basis

Please just do not assume that EB bills are always accurate. There are always issue and challenges vis-à-vis, customer category, the choice of meter, estimated consumptions etc. It is very important to setup systems and processes to carry out the EB bill analysis on a regular basis.

d)    Have you invested into dual energy meters

It is always advisable to install dual energy meters for all the residential and common area consumption points. It would allow you to carry out accurate billing of the DG power for rightful customer. To put all the DG operating cost in common area maintenance bill may incentivize certain residents to increase power consumption during DG operation.

e)    Have you set up a system to measure and monitor the common area consumptions

It is important to install the meters for various common area points and set up a system to monitor the energy consumption on a regular basis. It would help to quantify the common area consumptions accurately.

f)      Have you setup a system to audit / carry out energy balance at your complex

This is a very important exercise. You may have adequate meters, but are you doing an energy balance on a regular basis inside your complex. One thing to note is that the MS excel may be useful but not adequate for such an exercise. Carrying out energy audit would give you indications of pilferages and meter tampers. Please do not assume that these activities are not taking place.

g)     Have you invested into automatic meter reading of main incomer and DG generation

Automatic meter reading is a very much feasible concept now. If you have invested into AMR meters for all the meters, that is very good. If not then at least ensure that you have AMR meters for main incomers and DG panels. Please get the power consumption / generation at the near real time basis (say 15 min or 30 min interval) and carry out the analysis. The analysis would give you an indication on the peak loads and the ‘time of day’ when the peak occurs. It may help you to reduce the peak loads and help you to get lesser DG in operation and also to ensure that you are doing any demand violation with EB.

h)    Are you recording power disruptions – frequency and duration of disruption

To continue to operate the power systems reliably, it is important to log disruptions and measure outage indicators. Your intentions may be very good but the ground reality may be very disturbing. Each power outage causes disruption which goes beyond the time or duration of outages.

i)      Automatic Load control of DG operations

It is possible to carry our DG operations in more efficiency manners. It is not necessary to run all the DG every time every day. Depending on the current load pattern, the system should be able to select the DG to be running. The load pattern depends on the time of the day or on the day of the season. It may also depend on the current weather conditions.

The energy management is a very important aspect of the condominium operations. Managing energy efficiently, not only has great economic potential, it also reduce in the environment conservation. Each unit of power saved directly contributes to the environment. If the right design and operations decisions are taken, the energy management is possible.


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