The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) just concluded its tariff review process for the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).
According to NERC, tariff reviews are necessary carried where industry parameters have changed from those used in the operating tariffs. This likely means a fresh electricity tariff hike is around the corner for Nigerians.
Nigeria has a known problem of ecliptic power supply, with only one energy provider, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). The only other alternatives are generators or solar, so the comparing of energy rates as a cost savings strategy is not viable.
This now presents a challenge for facility managers to increase energy savings which is especially necessary for a country like Nigeria where the cost of power takes a large chunk of expense.
Eliezer Workplace Management advocates the creating of an energy management plan using these three strategies listed below.
1. Know your energy consumption rate and set a baseline.
This step is the necessary first step in our energy-saving journey because one cannot contemplate saving if you do not know exactly how much electricity a facility is using is being wasted and how much all that energy/electricity costs. There is also the added fact that some appliances continue to use power even when turned off, especially when the appliance talks to the internet.
Facility managers should examine their electric bills for the daily average consumption figure (kwh); this preferably should come after the facility manager has calculated the rate of consumption of each appliance. The resulted number is then measured against electric usage.
The calculation is as follows:
[number of hours’ use] x [number of days’ use] x ([capacity of appliance expressed in watt] / 1,000) = number of kWh
Daily energy consumption of bulb: 24 x 1x (100 watts / 1,000) = 2.4 kWh
Assuming daily average consumption 12kWh/day, you now know the bulb is responsible for about 20% of your electricity bill (2.4kWh divided by 12kWh = 0.2 0r 20%)
2. Equipment Management and Maintenance
Equipment’s usually become less efficient as they age as time goes on. Therefore, it uses more energy to produce the same output (asset depreciation), so it becomes necessary to review equipment used in the facility.
The age of the equipment should not be the only one used as a yardstick for the review. Instead, the focus would be whether a piece of equipment consumes a lot of energy due to age or other factors like size, quantity, or volume of operation.
The equipment’s found wanting should be replaced with an energy-efficient model that is properly sized for the load profile. Each organization should clearly have analyzed other factors such as capital cost, operating expenses, interest rates etc., before making final decisions about replacing equipment.
To extend the life of equipment, a comprehensive planned preventative maintenance program should be established.
When effective, a ppm program helps lower your energy costs depending on your facility’s equipment as it delays asset depreciation. According to a 2014 report (Energy Department Announces Funding To Develop Improved Next Generation HVAC Systems) by the US Department of energy, HVAC systems account for around 30% of commercial and residential facilities’ total energy use. Still, a proper PPM program for HVAC systems has been shown to reduce energy use by 15 to 20%.
3. Employees education and engagement
For a company’s energy management plan to be efficient, that plan must include the most vital part of the facility: the employees/workers who use the energy within the facility.
The most efficient equipment cut energy cost if employees don’t stop inefficient energy practices that waste energy, so FMs should educate them about factors that affect energy-saving and engage them. The areas will include energy-sapping equipment and how to operate them for the highest efficiency and the lowest cost, phantom power, turn of lights, equipment and appliances off when not in use.
All these efforts will aid facilities to minimize their energy usage, increase energy savings, thereby reducing their monthly electric bill while not neglecting employee comfort, productivity and safety.
Energy-saving has never been so important for companies in Nigeria as it is now due to the increasing inflation rate, new policy and review in the power sector, which will undoubtedly lead to increase operating costs which will eat into the bottom line of companies over time.
Eliezer workplace management can help companies who want to implement an energy management plan by creating industry/facility-specific plans unique to each client.