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Are you struggling to analyse huge amounts of energy data in Excel?

Posted by Paul Keigher on 05-Apr-2017 09:12:34

Last week I attended an excellent conference at the Energy Institute headquarters in London: The Energy Efficiency Conference 2017: Embedding behaviour change to unlock efficiency potential and Energy Behaviour Change workshop.

On day one I had a speakers slot to discuss "Developments in technology and innovative approaches to increasing energy efficiency". This can be a wide ranging subject and one that can quite literally have no boundaries. After careful consideration, I decided to discuss developments with the Internet of Things (IoT) and energy analytics. For me, this represents the immediate and long term future, but the main reason is because it’s a future that is within reach now!

As I discussed this topic, I made reference to the amount of people and customers that I still speak to that drag huge amounts of data into Excel to carry out various types of analytics; visuals, graphs, charts, savings proving… the list goes on.

As I looked around the audience, virtually everybody was nodding their head. I found out afterwards that they were not only agreeing with what I had said, but are doing the same thing themselves. Several of the attendees spoke to me afterwards and told me how they related to this scenario. Some were even paying for aM&T packages and then using them to download data to put into Excel.

Now don’t get me wrong, Excel is a great piece of software that has been around for many years, and one that a lot of us are very familiar with. It’s also very powerful. But should we be using this to visualise and report on our energy usage?

At the end of last year, SSE Enterprise Energy Solutions launched a cloud based data analytics platform, Business Energy Intelligence, designed to be an intuitive way of visualising meter data. It also helps combat the need to download data into Excel.

We spent a long time speaking to our customers and researching market needs, and on the back of this we designed and delivered a platform that presents an exciting meter visualisation package to help businesses manage and reduce their energy and water usage. Business Energy Intelligence can capture data from a wide ranging variety of meters, electric, gas, water, main or sub-meter, also heat meters and virtual meters.

As the Energy Analytics Manager for our business, it was important to me that the platform could deliver on three very specific areas:

  1. The platform must visualise usage in a format that everybody can understand.
  2. Users must be able to analyse the data so that they interrogate potential issues.
  3. Manage by exception - the platform must tell the user when there is an issue. No one has the time to sit down and search manually.


So if these three things are that important, how have we delivered them?

  • Combining our in house skills with the extensive knowledge gained from customer / market research, our in house development team created visualisations that are intuitive and easily understood by experts and non-experts alike.
  • Business Energy Intelligence displays the data in a format that can be easily understood and users can compare it to other data and information – other meters, dates, times or outside air temperatures all vital for understanding why consumption patterns change.

    The platform allows users to drill down and examine information in granular detail. So its not only a visualisation platform, it also starts to analyse consumption and is the first step in energy analytics.
  • We've incorporated an alarm handler. Managing consumption is vital for every business, but does anyone really have the time to search for issues and exceptions? Especially if they have multiple sites and meters?

    The alarm handler can manage two types of alarms: Energy alarms and Data Integrity alarms. Energy alarms are setup to highlight when energy exceptions occur. They can be managed and monitored through the alarm handler or emailed to people so that they can be investigated immediately.

    This stops exceptions and costs quickly, and also saves on investigation time and sends the issue to the responsible person.

    All these result in savings for the business. 

As Energy Analytics Manager, I understand the importance of data integrity (DI) and ensured this was incorporated into the alarm platform. So not only can you see exceptions in energy use, you can ensure you are actually receiving data. If your data stops, how can you manage your consumption? Understanding if you are receiving data is paramount, so we have included this as part of the platform too.

Being able to visualise your consumption, understand trends, patterns, good and bad behaviour, managing by exception rather than searching for problems – these are all essential and are the prime objectives of the Business Energy Intelligence platform.

These are just some of the highlights, but Business Energy Intelligence also provides normalised league tables, tariff analysis, and out of hours usage. All of this is provided in the cloud, so it can be accessed anywhere, at any time.

And to put the icing on the cake, we can provide Business Energy Intelligence as a self-managed platform or you can utilise our remote Energy Management Centre and we can provide a managed service. In a nutshell, we can be your energy management team. 

If you want to discuss Business Energy Intelligence and how we can help reduce and optimise your energy, get in touch today.

Topics: Energy Optimisation, Events, Business Energy Intelligence