Engerati round-up: IoT, billing, energy efficiency and solar

The reason – a confusion between imperial and metric measuring meters and the consequent unit charges.  [UK gas billing bungle an opportunity]While that country is notoriously resistant to full metrication, resulting in practice of a mix in use, that such an error has emerged is nevertheless both embarrassing (for the suppliers) and disturbing (for customers). For those who have overpaid, there is a refund to look forward to but the impact may be more widespread. Ofgem has advised suppliers to act quickly but at the same time it has suggested they step up their customer engagement while also reminding customers to shop around and compare the deals available. This could well be the start of the competition the gas industry has needed.

IoT and data

The Internet of Things is quickly gaining momentum around the world. However, like the internet there are growing concerns about how much data consumers may be required to surrender, either knowingly or otherwise. Clearly there is a need for the privacy of consumers to be respected and for transparency from companies in the market. But should this come from industry self-regulation or government regulation? [IoT and protecting the customer]

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is often the least-cost means of meeting new demand for energy. Which is why the Philippines government is set to make it “a way of life” for Filipinos, faced as they are with the growing demand of a rapidly growing economy. An energy efficiency roadmap to 2030 and action plan to 2020 have been prepared addressing all sectors of economic activity. [quote] The goal is to reduce final energy demand by 10% by 2030. [Meralco’s energy efficiency strategy is working] Describing activities that Meralco is undertaking to help customers become more energy-wise in an interview at Asian Utility Week, Tony Valdez says: “Get to know your customers and their needs through research and pilots and both the utility and its customers will benefit in the long run.”

Cost of solar

A recent study from IHS Markit based on market data from Mercatus’ asset energy investment management (AIM) platform has revealed some unexpected results for solar PV in the US. Despite the record massive growth in installations, especially in the last year, there is tremendous variance in both the capital expenditure and operations and maintenance (O&M) costs of planned systems. [Costs to watch: Solar capex and O&M] Some of this variation is regional in origin but other factors can be brought to bear in driving down the capex costs. With the extension of the federal investment tax credit, achieving US$1/W for utility-scale PV by 2020 is in prospect.