Metering and energy efficiency in Mexico


Since 1989, a number of programmes have been implemented in Mexico by the National Commission for Energy Conservation (Comisión Nacional para el Ahorro de Energía, Conae), the Trust Fund for Electricity Savings (Fideicomiso para el Ahorro de Energía Eléctrica, FIDE) and other institutions. Conae is a decentralised administrative agency that is part of Mexico´s Energy Secretariat; FIDE is a private, non-profit organisation created by the national power utility.

The most important programmes – besides daylight savings time – have been the energy efficiency standards, FIDE´s Incentives Programme, and the national oil company (Petróleos Mexicanos, PEMEX) and public buildings programmes. In all of these programmes, metering has had some degree of importance.

One of the main mandates that Conae has had since its inception has been the implementation of energy efficiency standards for a variety of energy using equipment and systems. Presently there are 18 standards in place for equipment and systems and these have achieved significant energy savings, amounting to more than 52,000 GWh in 10 years – equivalent to a quarter of total power generation in Mexico in 2005 – according to a study by Mexico’s Power Research Institute (Instituto de Investigaciones Eléctricas, IIE).

One of the more significant developments of the standards programme has been the establishment of testing laboratories that were put in place to help certify compliance with the standards. From one government lab in 1996, by 2002 there were more than 50 operated by the private sector. FIDE´s Incentives Programme evolved out of a programme that financed hundreds of energy audits that were based on detailed metering of energy consumption, lighting levels and variables related to HVAC operation (temperatures and flows).

Through this programme, which gave rebates to end users that purchased high efficiency technologies, the entire three-phase induction motor market was transformed, as well as 40% of the lighting systems market and 80% of the market for compressed air equipment with capacity higher than 20 hp. Conae has supported energy conservation actions in PEMEX for more than ten years, mostly as a process of best practices implementation. According to PEMEX, during the period 2000-2003 the company reduced its fuel consumption, gas leaks and gas combusted to the atmosphere by an equivalent of 36.6 million BOE, with an estimated value of US$762 million.

This programme had a significant metering component, as field meters were used to identify and implement opportunities to ‘fine tune’ large cooling towers and gas furnaces. Furthermore, the programme highlighted the need for better metering, monitoring and control in PEMEX installations. A mandatory energy conservation programme for the largest buildings of the Federal Administration was introduced in 1999. By 2002, the programme had incorporated 896 buildings, representing 3.8 million m2 of office space. This programme, which requires mandatory reports on electricity consumption and the energy saving measures implemented, saved 110 GWh from 1999 to 2002.

In this programme, hourly energy-use data of one hundred buildings was used to demonstrate the energy conservation potential of work schedule changes. As a result of these and other measures, Mexico’s energy intensity has been diminishing at a rate of 1.3% per year from 1995 to 2004.

In this process

  • as in current and future initiatives
  • metering has had a central role.