Learning Center Articles


How are companies billed for their energy usage (electric and gas)?  When companies buy gas they are charged for each Cubic Feet.  Similarly, when companies buy electricity they are charged by the kilowatt-hour (kWh).  Companies are billed monthly by two separate companies for their electricity usage.  The first bill is from the Electrical Supply Company and the second bill is from an Electrical Distribution Company.  The Electric Generation Company actually produces the electricity making it distribution ready.  The Electrical Transmission Distribution Company provides the means to get the electricity from the supplier or generator to the customer. The Electric Supply Company charges Kilowatt- hour consumed.  Whereas, the Electrical Distribution Company charges per Kilowatt, Kilowatt- hour and highest demand charge.  The rates are determined by the location of the company, how much the company uses per month, time of use, and possibly what time of year it is.  Company A (The investigators place of employment) used 1,343,333 KW-Hr for the month of March (2010) at a rate 1.8667 per KW-Hr equating to a monthly bill of $25,075 from the Electric Distribution Company.  Company A is also charged 7.937 cents per KW-Hr equating to $106,628 by the Electrical Supply Company.  Company A’s electric bill for the year would equate to approximately $1,580,436.  With rising energy prices it becomes more imperative to consume less electricity.  Reducing consumption lower Company A’s electric bill by 15%, which would save a whopping $237,065 per year!  By reducing electrical energy consumption also reduce the amount of CO2 emissions needed to generate that additional electricity.

what does it mean to be electrically efficient?


What does it mean to be electrically efficient?  An efficient system is performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort; having and using requisite knowledge, skill, and industry; competent; capable: a reliable, efficient secretary.  Electrical Efficiency is calculated by:


Electrical efficiency is simply using less energy to provide the same level of energy service.   An example would be a fluorescent light versus an incandescent light; maintaining the same level of illumination.  A 13 watt fluorescent light bulb outputs the same amount of visible light as a 60 watt incandescent bulb, so the reader is getting more light for less energy and less money.  Efficient energy use is achieved primarily by means of a more efficient technology or process rather than by changes in individual behaviors.  Efficiency should not be confused with effectiveness: a system that wastes most of its input power, but produces exactly what it is meant to is effective but not efficient. The term "efficiency" only makes sense in reference to the wanted effect.  A light bulb might have 5% efficiency at emitting light yet still be 95% efficient at heating a room. (In practice it is nearly 100% efficient at heating a room because the light energy will also be converted to heat eventually.  Consider an electronic amplifier that delivers 10 watts of power to its load (for example a mid range speaker), while drawing 20 watts of power from a power source is 50% efficient as shown below:


It is important to understand how to derive efficiency when projecting a cost savings.  In addition, understanding how to calculate watts, which equals power, is necessary.  

A watt versus watt-hours can be difficult to understand.  A watt-hour is a confusing term because it is not a unit of power, like the watt.  A Watt is the rate of electricity used at that instant and Watt-hours is the total energy used over time.  A common misconception is that if the reader increases the voltage the overall power will decrease.  The electric company charges the reader for watt-hours, not volts, to which the wattage remains the same. To figure Watts use the formulas:

Volts x Amps = Watts


Amps^2 x Ohms = Watts


A devices Amperage and Wattage will be directly proportional if the source voltage remains the same.  Figure 1 shows that if a device’s Amps increase by a factor of 10 that the Watts will also increase by a factor of 10.  One could hypothesize further by stating that the bill would be 10 times larger as well.



Analysis - an examination of facts and data to provide a basis for effective decisions.

Data - are simply representations of facts that come from some type of measurement process.

Efficient - performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort; having and using requisite knowledge, skill, and industry; competent; capable: a reliable, efficient secretary.

Information - is derived from the analysis of data and measurements and expressed in the context of a business or organization.

Kilowatt hour - (symbol kW·h, kW h) is a unit of energy equal to 1000 watt hours or 3.6 mega joules. Energy in watt hours is the multiplication of power in watts and time in hours.

Measurement - is the act of quantifying the performance dimensions of products, services, processes, and other business activities.

Measures and indicators - refer to the numerical results obtained from measurement.

Power factor - The power factor of an AC electric power system is defined as the ratio of the real power flowing to the load to the apparent power,[1][2] and is a dimensionless number between 0 and 1 (frequently expressed as a percentage, e.g. 0.5 pf = 50% pf).

Luminescence - is the photo metric measure of luminous intensity per unit area of light traveling in a given direction.

Real Power – Real power is the capacity of the circuit for performing work in a particular time.

Reactive Power – The portion of power flow remaining after being averaged over a complete AC waveform.

Apparent Power - Apparent power is a measure of alternating current power that is computed by multiplying the root-mean-square current by the root-mean-square voltage.


Solar, wind, biomass, hydrogen, and geothermal power, or what is considered renewable energy, has been the fastest-growing source of electricity generation in the United States.  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2017 the United States generated 687 billion kilowatt-hours from renewable energy sources, which was comprised of renewable energy and of ‘other’ renewable energy, such as landfill gas, municipal solid waste, and ocean energy. Therefore, 386.277 billion kilowatt-hours were from “other” renewable energy sources and the remaining 300.723 billion kilowatt-hours from conventional hydro, which is considered a renewable energy source. In total, the United States generated 4,034.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh); therefore, 17.02% came from what EIA considers a renewable source.  Electricity that is not generated from a renewable source is considered conventional or fossil fuel-based energy because it creates a byproduct of carbon dioxide (CO2) which is emitted into the environment during the electricity production process.

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One of our focus areas is designing products by using a combination of innovative technology and smart data analytics for energy storage systems. It enables us to make solutions for storing and using electricity for peak shaving, emergency battery backup, and grid optimization purposes.

A Battery Power System can detect an outage, disconnect from the grid, and automatically restore power to your home in a fraction of a second. You will not even notice that the power went out. Your lights and appliances will continue to run without interruption. If you have solar and Battery Power Storage, then solar energy will continue to power your home and recharge the Battery Power Storage. Without Battery Power Storage, solar will shut down during an outage.

We estimate how long your home will stay powered during an outage based on your indicated home size and the appliances you elect to back up, derived from national data. With solar, your Battery Power Storage charge will deplete only when your home energy usage exceeds your solar power production.



Another way to go green electrically is to install variable frequency drives, or commonly referred to as VFD’s, where they are applicable.  In a manufacturing facility motors start and stop several if not hundreds of times daily.  Starting a motor requires a great deal of inrush current and torque, which can be harmful to the motor; thereby decreasing the life of the motor.  Conversely, some motors run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at their full rated frequency or RPM.  Running without pause and at the maximum frequency can be very costly and inefficient.  Installing a VFD can reduce inrush current, correct the load generated power factor, and intelligently throttle back the motor speeds, which make the process more efficient.  Using a VFD to improve process control will result in a more efficient operating system.

A VFD or rather a VVFD (Variable Voltage and Frequency Drive) is a precision electronic device specifically designed and used to control the speed of AC induction motors (single as well as three phase) without affecting the electric consumption, torque, impedance, magnetic flux, etc. of the motor.  (http://www.brighthub.com/engineering/ electrical/articles/76956.aspx#ixzz1DUQVT8IH).   A VFD works on the principle that it takes raw AC and converts it to DC.  The DC is then inverted to a pulse DC wave, which is then fed to the motor.  The DC pulse wave RMS simulates an AC voltage.  The VFD varies the frequency of DC pulses which results in a control of motor frequency.  So, the main function of the VFD is to control the frequency or the speed of the motor. 



A regulated electricity market contains utilities that own and operate all electricity.  From generation to the meter, the utility has complete control.  The utility company owns the infrastructure and transmission lines, then sells directly to its customers.  In regulated states, shown in Table below, utilities must abide by electricity rates set by state public utility commissions.  This type of market is often considered as a monopoly due to its limitations on consumer choice.  However, its benefits include stable prices and long-term certainty (Energy Watch, n.d.). In a regulated electricity market, vertically integrated monopoly utilities cover the entire value chain with oversight from a public regulator. The utility ensures that power is generated, sent to the grid, and reaches customers. Customers in regulated markets cannot choose who generates their power and are bound to the utility in that region. Regulated markets dominate most of the Southeast, Northwest and much of the West, excluding California (Customer First Renewables, n.d.).


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A deregulated electricity market allows for the entrance of competitors to buy and sell electricity by permitting market participants to invest in power plants and transmission lines.  Generation owners then sell this wholesale electricity to retail suppliers.  Retail electricity suppliers set prices for consumers. These are often referred to as the supply portion of the electric bill.  It often benefits consumers by allowing them to compare rates and services of different third-party supply companies (ESCOs) and provides different contract structures (e.g. fixed, indexed, hybrid).  Also, in a deregulated market, there is an increased availability of renewable sources and green pricing programs.

While deregulated electricity markets offer a broader range of renewable energy options, there are still options for consumers in regulated states to reap the environmental and economic benefits of green power.  For instance, Power Purchase Agreements allow for the investment in a project outside of the customer’s state, providing benefits through renewable energy certificates (RECs).  Although unable to incorporate renewables directly into the electricity supply contract, as in deregulated markets, the green options are growing for a regulated market.

As seen in the Figure below, the United States stays fairly divided on deregulated vs. regulated electricity markets.  Deregulation gained a large amount of support when it was introduced in the 1990’s, but has been met with some challenges along the way.  For example, the California energy crisis in 2000 led to many states worrying that total deregulation may cause market manipulation.  But, the increase in consumer control over decision-making pushes the growth of deregulation (Energy Watch, n.d.).

deregulated markets.PNG

In a deregulated market, participants other than utility companies own power plants and transmission lines. In such instances, generators (companies that generate electricity) sell electricity into a wholesale market and, in turn, retail energy suppliers purchase this electricity to sell to customers. Transmission companies or utilities own and operate the transmission grid. As previously mentioned, this market universe is managed by an independent system operator (ISO) or regional transmission organization (RTO). The utility company continues to ensure the power is distributed and everything is working correctly to keep our country’s lights on.

Deregulated markets have opened up generation for competition from independent power producers in 18 states, including California, Texas and most Northeastern states (Customer First Renewables, n.d.). Again, within the United States there are 18 deregulated states, as illustrated in Figure and Table below.

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Global Total Energy Production. From Our World Data (2019)


SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition.  It generally refers to an industrial control system: a computer system monitoring and controlling a process. The process can be industrial, infrastructure or facility-based.  A SCADA system is used to monitor, control, and record data of mostly any industrial process.  Having a working knowledge of data acquisition, analysis and interpretation, ability to formulate a range of alternative problem solutions, and computer literacy specific to collecting electricity usage information is essential.  The SCADA system controls, secures and stores the required data for generating a cost analysis.   The SCADA system alone cannot acquire the data; interface software and hardware are required.