10-Step Checklist for Power Meter Verification [Download Available]

INTRODUCTION:

Whether this is your first metering project or you’re a seasoned facilities manager, it’s important to remember that a little planning up front can go a long way in making your project easier.

As part of deploying a new power meter, such as the DENT ELITEpro XC, there are several tasks you will need to accomplish to ensure the meter is configured properly for your project. Before leaving the job site, it’s cruical to verify that the meter is installed properly and is recording as expected. After installation, take a few moments to follow the 10 Steps of Meter Verification.


Scroll to the bottom to download a PDF version of this list.

Step 1: Record important information about the installation for future reference.

Keep track of important installation information in one place. Use the list in the downloadable PDF (bottom of post) to jot down important details about each meter that’s installed. Key information to keep track of includes

  1. Installation date,
  2. Installer’s name
  3. Site location
  4. Meter serial number
  5. Communication setup (IP addresses & port number)
  6. Description of the load being measured.

Be sure to provide this information to any other personnel who need to access the meter for data downloads.

Step 2: Take photos.

No excuses – everybody has a cell phone in their pocket! Photos are an easy way to remember important details about the installation without having to go back to the project site. If you ever have an issue and need to contact technical support, the photos can make it simple to explain your installation. Take photos of:

  1. Outside the electrical room to aid in locating the electrical panel for the next person
  2. Inside the electrical room
  3. Of the meter installed along with the CT installation and voltage connections

Step 3: Using ELOG software, verify the logger’s Setup Table. Make sure…

  1. The correct data interval is selected (15 minutes is typical)
  2. V-high and V-low match the voltage phases the CTs are installed on
  3. CT type selection matches the CTs used
  4. CT amp selection matches the CTs used
  5. CT Phase Shift matches what’s listed in the ELITEpro XC Operator’s Guide
  6. Recorded values are selected as needed for the project

Step 4: Using ELOG software, verify the logger’s internal clock is set right.

You can verify the logger’s clock by viewing Real-Time Values and synchronizing the time to the PC or manually setting it.

When reading the logger clock or viewing data files, ELOG reads the windows settings and converts the UTC time stamps in the logger to the local time zone of the PC. If the two PCs in different time zones retrieve a data file from the logger, or read the logger clock, they will see different times.

Step 5: Check to make sure all the PhaseChek LEDs are green, which indicates all phase kW are positive and PF > 0.55

  1. If any LEDs are blue (ELITEpro XC only), the kW will be negative which is most likely caused by the CT being installed backwards.
  2. If LEDs are red, the PF is less than 0.55, which is most likely caused by the CT being placed on the wrong phase or not matching the Setup Table. It could also be caused by the load’s PF being less than 0.55.
  3. If the LED flashes red and blue, it indicates that the CT is on backwards and on the wrong voltage phase and not matching what’s listed in the Setup Table
  4. Note: If using the optional Delta 2-CT connection, it is common for an LED to be red when the system PF is <0.87 and an LED to be blue when the PF is <0.5

Step 6: Using ELOG software, view Real-Time values. Do the numbers make sense?

  1. Are the load current and watt measurements reasonable for the load?
    • Example: If the current reads are 12 Amps for a 100 HP motor, the readings are obviously too low.
    • Possible issues could be that the CTs are on the wrong wire, the CT value in the Setup Table is incorrect, or the CT type in the Setup Table is incorrect.
    • NOTE: It’s best to choose a CT in which the load will be between 10% and 100% of the CT full scale rating.
  2. Are the phase currents relatively close to each other (within about 20%) on a load that should be balanced?
    • Possible issues might include that the CTs are on the wrong wire, the CT value int he Setup Table is incorrect, or the CT type in the Setup Table is incorrect
  3. For Wye loads, are the phase watts relatively close to each other (within about 20%)?
    • Check for possible problem in phase currents were balanced: The CTs might be placed on the wrong phase, not matching the Setup Table or the CT type in the Setup Table is incorrect.
  4. Are the phase watts positive?
    • If not, it is likely that the CT is installed backwards or the wire connection at the meter is reversed. Check these conditions.
    • NOTE: It is possible when using the 2-CT method on a Delta load that one channel/phase can be negative on loads that have poor PF.
    • NOTE: Negative values could be correct for co-generation applications such a wind or solar during power generation.
  5. For WYE loads, are the phase PF readings relatively close to each other when monitoring a balanced load?
    • If not, this can be caused by the CT being placed on the wrong phase or not matching the Setup Table
  6. If available, compare to external references (within a percent or two – no two meters will read exactly the same).
    • See if the meter phase voltages match a Digital Volt Meter (DVM)
    • Check the meter phase currents with a clamp-on Amp Meter
    • Compare the meter phase watts with a clamp-on Power Meter

Step 7: Is the “Logging On” LED flashing green?

If the LED is not flashing, the meter is not recording any data! Make sure the LED is flashing prior to leaving the jobs site.

Step 8: If a remote communication method is being used (like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth), is the meter communicating?

Wi-Fi troubleshooting:

  1. Verify the Port Number in the Network Connection window in ELOG matches the meter setting
  2. The laptop Wi-Fi adapter needs to be in DHCP for use in Access Point mode (DHCP is the default setting)
  3. The ELITEpro XC IP address in Access Point mode is 192.168.1.1
  4. If a password is being used in Access Point mode, ensure the correct password is entered. If unsure, re-enter the password using ELOG
  5. If communication is lost, try:
    • Disconnecting the meter from ELOG and reconnecting
    • Disconnecting the computer Wi-Fi from the meter’s Wi-Fi

Step 9: Make sure all cabinet doors are closed and locked and all panel screws are tightened

Step 10: Ensure all trash is picked up and the site is left as clean as when you first arrived.


CONCLUSION:

Avoid the common meter installation pitfalls! Download a copy of this checklist (PDF) to take with you during your next field installation.

We would also love your feedback on this list. What do you do to ensure your meter installation is successful? Comment below with your ideas.

10 Ways the PowerScout 12 HD Solves Common Metering Challenges

INTRODUCTION:

If you’ve spent time sourcing and installing power meters, chances are you’ve run across the same challenges over and over again. Choosing the right meter, much less install it, can be tricky business. Even so, a little planning and the right power meter, can go a long way to making life easier.

We have spent years listening to customer feedback and carefully designing our latest PowerScout HD meters to ease the burden of many common problems. See how the PowerScout 12 HD can simplify your next metering project.

1. METER INSTALLATION IS PRONE TO ERRORS

The PowerScout 12 HD meter includes DENT’s patented PhaseChek feature that confirms proper CT orientation during installation. The display on the submeter shows real-time information about metered values and setup information. By reviewing real-time information on the display or connected laptop, it’s easy to double-check to ensure that metered values make sense prior to leaving the installation site. If a setting needs to be changed, the user can connect to the meter using USB or Ethernet to make adjustments in real-time, avoiding expensive and time-consuming trips back into the field.

In addition, if a CT is discovered to be on backward after the installation is complete, the direction of the CT can be reversed through a user configuration register designed for this purpose, called the “flipper.” This handy feature further eliminates special trips back into the field.

2. POWER METER CONFIGURATION IS TOO COMPLICATED

Thanks to ViewPoint HD software, the PowerScout 12 HD is easy to pre-configure before heading to the installation site. Connect the device to a PC using a USB or Ethernet cable to preset important metering parameters, such as service types, amperage ranges, communication options, and other variables. Save the setup to your computer to be used on multiple meters.

Additionally, it is now possible to configure the PowerScout 12 meter without even having it connected to your computer. Simply start ViewPoint HD software and create a configuration file to be sent to the meter at a later time. This feature is especially helpful for teams who handle configuration and installation in two separate steps.

Rather than configuring the device through a complicated push-button interface, the use of ViewPoint HD software simplifies submeter configuration. The intuitive interface allows for setup of measurement types, communications, and alarms. It also allows for seeing real-time information about the service under measurement including harmonics. Harmonics and waveform capture are also available in real-time.

ViewPoint HD software also includes a context help feature that guides users as they use the software, allowing for rapid and accurate configuration. A pop-up window with technical and Modbus register/BACnet object description information appears any time a screen object is hovered over with the mouse cursor.

3. THE INSTALLATION SITE ALWAYS HAS UNFORESEEN CHALLENGES (I.E., COMMUNICATIONS METHODS OR AMPERAGE RANGES WERE UNEXPECTED)

The PowerScout 12 HD combines popular, standard features across all models. Instead of having to choose between Modbus or BACnet, Serial or Ethernet, the PS12HD includes all these options as standard.

In addition, the PowerScout 12 HD is fully compatible with the full range of DENT current sensor options, including Rogowski (RōCoil) models. From building mains to lighting loads, mix-and-match all CT options across the meter to measure both high and low amperage loads simultaneously.

The PowerScout 12 HD may also be used on any voltage service, from 90-600VAC. The submeter is line-powered off the service under measurement.

4. THE METER NEEDS TO BE SECURE (TAMPER RESISTANT)

The PowerScout 12 HD meter has two levels of PIN protection that users can choose to assign for restricting access to submeter information. Users can be set with “read-only” or “read/write” access to the device.

Additionally, the meter may be ordered as a “no display” model, which eliminates the LCD and push buttons on the front of the device. This configuration discourages casual interaction with the meter. Interactions with “no display” versions of the meter must be made through a direct connection (USB or Ethernet) or RTU over a network.

5. I NEED TO PERFORM PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE ON MY SYSTEM

Keep an eye on critical systems. New to the PowerScout 12 HD is the capability to set alarms on any submeter channel. Alarms may be configured to trigger by voltage and/or current over and under events. Customize the persistence setting and other parameters using ViewPoint HD.

6. I THOUGHT I NEEDED TO MEASURE X AMPS ON MY BUILDING, BUT REALIZED DURING INSTALLATION IT WAS Y AMPS

CTs may easily be swapped on the PowerScout 12 HD. The meter is not factory-configured for a particular CT type or amperage range. Instead, any DENT CT (333mV output or Rogowski coil) may be used on any submeter element. CTs may be swapped in the field with minimal effort – just use ViewPoint HD software to make adjustments to the configuration on the fly. Measure up to 4000A using Rogowski (RōCoil) CTs.

7. I NEED TO CORRELATE MY CONSUMPTION OF UTILITIES WITH ELECTRICITY

Standard on the PowerScout 12 HD are four pulse input channels which allow for the correlation of consumption of a variety of systems using standard, dry-contact pulse inputs. Configure each of the input channels independently with customizable units of measure (i.e., gallons) within ViewPoint HD software.

8. I NEED A SUBMETER THAT IS REVENUE GRADE

The PowerScout 12 HD is ANSI C12-20-2010 Class 0.2. When paired with a revenue grade current sensor, such as the DENT RoCoils or revenue grade split cores, the meter has best-in-class accuracy, ideal for any application where precision is critical.

9. I NEED TO MONITOR SEVERAL DIFFERENT LOADS IN MY PANEL SIMULTANEOUSLY, INCLUDING THE BUILDING MAINS

The PowerScout 12 HD is capable of monitoring 12 current channels simultaneously on services up to 4000A. It can monitor up to 12 single-phase or 4 three-phase loads, or a combination of single and three-phase loads (e.g., 6 single-phase loads, plus 2 three-phase loads).

10. MY METER LOST ITS CONNECTION TO THE RTU AND I NEED A RECORD OF KWH

The PowerScout 12 HD maintains an internal log of the energy data (net kWh) for each channel in the submeter that is updated every 15 minutes. This log is always active and requires no configuration. It stores 63 days’ worth of 15 minute data in its memory. The data can be retrieved by users looking to restore gaps in data collection where RTUs may have been offline or communication was interrupted. The file may be downloaded as a CSV (comma separated value) file through ViewPoint HD software. Multiple files may be combined as necessary.


CONCLUSION:

The ideal size for projects large and small, the PowerScout 12 HD is designed to monitor multiple independent loads on a single submeter. Lower installation and commissioning costs while benefiting from revenue-grade accuracy in a wide variety of large building environments including multi-tenant residential, commercial, industrial, retail, and more.

Learn how the PowerScout HD can be a valuable addition to your metering toolkit. Contact us for a quote today.

Easy Steps to Choosing the Right Current Transformer

There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at the project site to complete a meter installation only to realize you do not have the right current transformer in your toolkit. Not having the right tools for any job is a waste of both time and money. To avoid this, a little pre-planning goes a long way. 

Current transformers are available in a variety of styles, sizes, and amperage ranges. They vary in output and accuracy as well. With so many variables, it is sometimes difficult to choose exactly the right CT for a project. Or is it?

Whether you need assistance with choosing the right CT, or have a related inquiry, contact us at DENT Instruments.

Answer the Following Questions to Find the Right Current Transformer

Selecting the right current transformer can be as easy as answering a few questions about your project, the site, and the goals. You may be able to answer some of these questions before even setting foot on your project site. Others, such as knowing whether there is a space constraint in your electrical panel, are best answered after a site visit. Answer a few questions up front to save major headaches down the road.

QUESTION 1: WHAT TYPE OF POWER METER ARE YOU USING?

One thing to keep in mind is that just because a current transformer is compatible with a meter does not mean that it’s the best choice. For example, did you know that all DENT CTs are compatible with both ELITEpro and PowerScout series instruments? Even though they work together, a clamp-on CT isn’t the best choice to use with a PowerScout. Why? Because part of the appeal of a clamp-on CT in the first place is that it’s easy and convenient to move between panels. In fact, you’re paying more for that extra convenience. The PowerScout, along with other submeters in the industry, are designed to be permanently installed so why pay for the convenience of a clamp-on when you’re not moving it anyway?

Some ways meter choice impacts CT choice:

  1. CT inputs- is your meter designed for mV output CTs or amp output? Common industry standards are 333mV, 1A, or 5A. DENT meters are compatible with 333mV.
  2. Will the meter be installed permanently (such as with a PowerScout or other submeter) or will you be moving the meter from location to location (such as with energy audits)?
  3. Does the meter have the ability to work with flexible Rogowski coils either by themselves or with an amplifier/integrator?

QUESTION 2: HOW MANY AMPS DO YOU PLAN ON MEASURING?

Perhaps one of the most important questions to answer is how many amps will be measured. You will typically know this ahead of a site visit because it’s typically dictated by your project goals. If your goal is to measuring a lighting load in a small office, the CT required will be much smaller than if you plan on measuring a full building load for a large complex.

Keep in mind that best CT performance occurs when the current flow is between 10% and 100% of the CT full-scale value. For example, let’s say you wanted to measure four lighting circuits with #12 wires and 20A breakers. When the lights are on, the amperage measures 45 amps. The ideal CT for this example is a 50A split core current transformer.

But what about a Rogowski coil? They are easy to install and work over a broad range. Keep in mind that the best CT accuracy occurs when the load operates as close to the full rating of the CT as possible. If the load is under 20A, generally speaking a Rogowski coil is not the right choice because it is simply too big for that load. In addition, current values below 5A may cause the meter to read 0 amps.

What happens if you move your meter between many different loads? Sometimes the best solution in this case is to keep two different sets of CTs in your toolkit – one set for small loads (for example, a set of 50A split cores) and one set for larger loads, like Rogowski coils. This way, you’re covered for many different environments.

QUESTION 3: DO YOU REQUIRE A REVENUE-GRADE CT?

Thinking about your project type and goals, it’s important to keep in mind what the end-data will be used for. If you’re doing a measurement and verification (M&V) project, a standard accuracy (1% accuracy) may be accurate enough to achieve your project goals. If you are using a revenue grade meter for tenant submetering or billing purposes, every bit of accuracy counts – and a revenue grade CT would be ideal.

Examples for when to use a Standard Accuracy CT:

  1. Load studies
  2. Measurement & Verification applications

Examples for when to use a Revenue-Grade CT:

  1. Demand Metering
  2. Tenant Submetering
  3. Tenant Billing
  4. Your meter is also revenue grade

QUESTION 4: HOW LONG WILL YOUR PROJECT LAST?

Some CTs are easier to install and move around than others. Available CT styles generally include:

  • Split Core – removable leg or hinge design
  • Clamp-On – clothes-pin design, one handed operation
  • Rogowski Coil – flexible “rope-style” CT
  • Solid Core – rigid; conductor must be inserted through window

Split core, clamp-on, and Rogowski coil CTs are designed to be installed without disconnecting any wires. With the solid core, you must disconnect the conductor to feed it through the window opening of the CT. This can be an inconvenience under certain circumstances and probably not handy if you plan on moving the meter around often.

No matter which type of CT you choose, if possible, always de-energize the circuit to be monitored and follow full safety precautions outlined in your equipment manuals.

QUESTIONS 5 & 6: HOW MUCH “FREE” SPACE DO YOU HAVE IN THE PANEL? HOW BIG IS THE CONDUCTOR TO BE MEASURED?

Space constraints can be a real problem in most electrical panels. It’s possible that your meter is not the only piece of monitoring equipment installed. When multiple meters and CTs are already crammed in, extra small or flexible CTs become even more attractive. (Note: NEC does not allow equipment to exceed 75% of the electrical panel space.)

Also important to consider: What is the size of the conductor that you’ll be measuring? Is it 20 gauge wire or are you measuring around a buss bar? A split core may be ideal for a small wire, but there’s no chance that will work around a buss bar. Generally speaking, CTs with larger window openings also are designed to measure higher amps.

NEED HELP SELECTING A CT FOR YOUR PROJECT?

If you’ve read through these questions and are still unsure of which CT is best, remember that we are here to help! Contact DENT Instruments to discuss your project requirements. We will help you select equipment tailored to your project needs.

ELITEpro Mobile App: Interact with the ELITEpro Power Meter on Your Mobile Device

THE ELITEPRO MOBILE APP IS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD!

Have you used the ELITEpro Mobile App with your ELITEpro XC meter yet? Download today for free!

SETUP THE ELITEPRO XC FROM THE APP

No PC at the job site? No problem. Configure the Wi-Fi-enabled ELITEpro XC meter directly from the Mobile App on your tablet. Make changes to integration type, peak demand window, & channel configuration, including analog channels. Once you’re done, send the Setup Table to the logger. Feature available for tablets only.

TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION (THD)

If your readings in ELOG seem off, it may be due to harmonic distortion. There is now an easy way to see Total Harmonic Distortion using the ELITEpro Mobile App on your tablet and your ELITEpro XC. Harmonics an be seen as a percentage of the fundamental or as RMS for each channel.

PHASOR PLOT & REAL TIME VALUES

Returning to a job site to correct a meter setup issue costs time and money. Use the Phasor Plot diagram in the ELITEpro Mobile App on your phone or tablet to make sure CTs are on the right phase. See larger image here.

In addition, view voltage, current, kW, dpF, kVA, and kVAR in real time on on your tablet. Values are presented visually as gauges and numerical values. Colors can be customized for all channels to comply with regional electrical codes.

ELOG 15 & CURRENT FIRMWARE REQUIRED

ELOG 15 is required to use the Mobile App. Here is an overview of the features:

  • Visual CT Chooser: Take the guess work out of meter setup. Select the CT you wish to use and Amp and Phase Shift settings are input into the Setup Table. 
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) Tracking: Easily track Total Harmonic Distortion using ELOG and your ELITEpro XC. See THD in Realtime Values and Data File Summary screens. THD percentage shows up in a new column in both areas.
  • Load & Save Wi-Fi Settings: Speed up meter configuration by saving Wi-Fi Settings in ELOG. Use saved settings when configuring multiple loggers to save even more time.
  • Firmware Update: Bundled with new ELOG 15 is updated ELITEpro XC firmware. New firmware provides minor enhancements and fixes to the meter which allow it to work at peak performance. Once ELOG 15 is installed, you’ll be asked to update the logger firmware and be guided through the process.
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 8, & Windows 7

The use of the Mobile App requires ELOG 15 software, the latest ELITEpro firmware, and a Wi-Fi-enabled ELITEpro XC meter. Users can upgrade their software to the latest version by opening ELOG, clicking Help > Check for Updates or visiting the Download page on the DENT website.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE MOBILE APP FOR YOUR DEVICE!

Case Study: Using the ELITEpro Power Meter to Measure Energy Savings

I belong to a church where we recently did a major lighting upgrade.  Old fluorescent and incandescent lights were replaced with LED lighting.  It was a great opportunity to use the DENT ELITEpro XC Portable Power Meter and RoCoil current transformers to monitor power consumption before and after the upgrade.  In case you are not familiar with the ELITEpro, it is a portable poly-phase power recorder.  Powered by the input voltage connection, it has available current transformers from 5A to 5000A full scale, and enough memory for years of recording.

The church has a 3-phase 240V delta service.  The ELITEpro Power Meter and RoCoil current transformers were connected at the main service entrance and programmed to record every 15 minutes for exactly 1 week, Midnight Friday to Friday.  Note that its sampling rate is 1/second, so the measured values have revenue grade accuracy.

The initial measurement were taken in late March of 2015.  Power consumption was 2981 KWH, the peak demand was 54 KW.

Lighting was upgraded in several stages, the last being completed in late October 2015.  A follow up recording was done for exactly the same time frame during the last week of October.  Power consumption was down to 1588 KW with a peak demand of 21 kW, a reduction of 48%.   Based on the electric rate, this upgrade should save around $7,000 per year.

The DENT ELITEpro Power Meter is an excellent, cost effective tool for measuring and documenting energy consumption.  In addition to what we’ve done here, other common applications include:

  • Energy audits on branch circuits or individual loads.
  • Documenting savings associates with lighting, motor, compressor, or other upgrades
  • Documenting savings associated with compressed air leak audits/repairs
  • Support for energy savings rebate filings
  • Load profiling
  • Sizing studies for backup generators or UPS’s
  • Green energy studies – it can record bi-directionally for solar/wind net metering.

Learn more about the ELITEpro XC Power Meter.

About I&E Central: I&E Central is an authorized DENT Instruments Distributor founded by Bob Dunn in 2001 and is based near Rochester, NY. I&E Central has grown over the past 13 years, expanding its portfolio and technological expertise in that time.  We currently maintain a physical presence in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, but I&E proudly supports customers throughout the US. Contact I&E Central here.

Multi-Circuit Submetering: A Cost-Effective Solution for Electrical Load Profiling of Hospital Emergency Power Supply System Loads

By: Zack Smith & Allan Evora, Affinity Energy

ATS MULTI-CIRCUIT METERING HELPS EFFECTIVELY MANAGE LOAD CREEP

Emergency Power Supply Systems (EPSS) are the critical infrastructure that supports a hospital system during power outages. Regulations place a lot of emphasis on testing and maintenance of the EPSS system; however, all the maintenance in the world will do no good if the EPSS becomes overloaded.

EPSS experience load creep like normal power systems. Additionally, they run the risk of reduced capacity due to the addition of non-essential loads plugged in to designated red receptacles during extended outages. These loads may consist of diagnostic equipment or in some cases “comfort equipment” such as microwaves, heaters or coffee pots. Education and training can help ensure only approved loads are plugged in to EPSS.

Submetering is the only way to truly manage load creep and prevent EPSS overload.

YOU CAN’T MANAGE WHAT YOU DON’T MEASURE

The best way to manage your capacity is to submeter your loads. For some hospitals, this is easier said than done. While you may have submetering information at the generator switchgear or even downstream submetering at EPSS distribution switchgear, the ideal location to submeter for managing load creep is the load side of the automatic transfer switch (ATS).

Newer ATSs (installed within the last 10 years) either have digital controllers that incorporate submetering as an option, or engineers had the foresight to specify that OEMs install a separate third party submeter with the ATS. Unfortunately, older ATSs need to retrofit submeters to be able to measure the ATS load. This can be a costly proposition when considering hardware and installation costs. The combination of OSHA regulations, and the fact that the ATS is part of critical infrastructure, can make modifying equipment challenging.

A COST-EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO CONVENTIONAL CIRCUIT MONITORING

Within the last five years, a new type of electrical submeter has emerged and is an ideal solution for retrofitting ATSs with submetering capability. This meter type is referred to as the multi-circuit or multiple circuit meter. The concept is simple: Use one submeter CPU/circuit board to measure multiple loads.

A multi-circuit meter has only one set of inputs for a common voltage source, and multiple sets of current inputs for loads that share the common voltage source. Due to limitations on current transformer (CT: the instrument that provides current input to the meter) lead wire length, the multi-circuit meter is best suited for loads in which the CT installation locations for the loads are near one another (typically within 100 ft.).

Examples include: submetering all the circuits within a distribution panel, or all the distribution panels within an electric room, or feeder breakers on a unit substation. Since ATSs tend to be concentrated in electric rooms and typically share a common normal and emergency voltage source, they are great candidates for multi-circuit submeters.

What makes multi-circuit submetering so cost effective? The lower hardware and installation costs. Additionally, since there is only one CPU/circuit board, there is only one low-voltage communication connection.

Our general rule of thumb: whenever you have more than two loads to submeter that meet the criteria for multi-circuit metering, go with multi-circuit metering. Its costs will be lower when compared to individual meters.

MULTI-CIRCUIT SUBMETER HARDWARE

The DENT Instruments PowerScout 24 is a great example of an inexpensive yet accurate submeter that provides all the measurements necessary for monitoring ATS loads. DENT Instruments was one of the first companies to introduce the multi-circuit design.

The PowerScout 24 comes with its own enclosure, is powered via the voltage source and easily integrates to your SCADA or building automation system via Modbus or BACNet. It can measure up to 8 3-phase loads. List price for a PowerScout 24 with serial communication is $1,200. A DENT PowerScout 3037 (the single circuit meter version) is $400.

Taking in to account installation costs, it is easy to see how the multi-circuit meter is a cost-effective solution when you need to meter more than two loads that meet the multi-circuit criteria. The cost savings are even more substantial as the number of loads increases. A fully provisioned PowerScout 24 will have approximately 66% lower hardware costs when compared to individual meters. Taking in to account labor savings, the total costs savings can be as much as 80-90%.

TURN THAT DATA INTO INFORMATION

Submeters provide data. To make this data valuable, it needs to be turned into actionable information. To accomplish this, we recommend a few additional steps.

First, we recommend that submeter data be recorded. To be of benefit, the load profiles need to be analyzed over time using trending software within your SCADA or building automation system. If you don’t have an existing system, there are some very cost effective data logging devices that can store a large amount of interval data. This data can generally be exported and analyzed with a desktop application such as Microsoft Excel. We also recommend that the ATS switch position and generator run status also be recorded.

Using this information, it would be easy to analyze the data to check the load prior to the ATS switching to emergency, the load while on emergency, and the load after the ATS returns to the normal source. Using this analysis, it’s easy to identify loads added during a power outage and not removed when normal power is restored.

Another easy way to spot load creep is to trend year over year load growth. Using this analysis technique, load creep is easy to quantify.

Ultimately, multi-circuit submeters are an easily installed, inexpensive way for healthcare facility managers to conduct accurate load profiling and analysis.

ABOUT AFFINITY ENERGY

Affinity Energy is a vendor-neutral control systems integrator with a national portfolio of over 800 power automation projects and a rich depth of expertise working with mission critical facilities, distributed generation plants, energy companies, engineering firms, and construction contractors who seek open, turnkey systems for power management and energy optimization.

Specifically, they work to design, build, implement, and support controls, instrumentation, and monitoring systems, during the design and/or build phases of a new construction or retrofit project for utility-scale solar farms, airports, waste-to-energy plants, data centers, medical campus central energy plants, and manufacturing companies.

See the original post on the Affinity Energy website here.

NIST Teams Up with Sparks Dynamics to Drive Down Energy Costs

CUSTOMER PROFILE

Founded in 1901 and now part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST is one of the nation’s oldest physical science laboratories. Congress established the agency to remove a major handicap to U.S. industrial competitiveness at the time—a second-rate measurement infrastructure that lagged behind the capabilities of the United Kingdom, Germany, and other economic rivals. Today, NIST measurements support the smallest of technologies—nanoscale devices so tiny that tens of thousands can fit on the end of a single human hair—to the largest and most complex of human-made creations, from earthquake-resistant skyscrapers to wide-body jetliners to global communication networks.

THE CHALLENGE

Faced with an antiquated, inefficient compressed air system and the challenge of fully benchmarking the existing system performance, NIST knew they needed a professional energy ally so they could focus on what they do best—technology and standards development.

THE SOLUTION

NIST chose to work with Sparks Dynamics, who had the latest cloud monitoring technology and industry expertise to design, develop, operate and maintain the central compressed air plant serving the NIST campus. A month’s worth of compressed air system operating data was baselined using the ReMaster system and then a new compressed air system was designed and engineered to maximize energy efficiency and provide enhanced reliability for the plant.

The ReMaster system offers industrial customers a way to capture and analyze their system’s data. ReMaster uses Modbus communication and can collect data on energy, flow, pressure, and temprature, as well as control panel data. Energy data is captured using the PowerScout 24 Power Meter, which is built into the ReMaster system.

“Sparks Dynamics selected the PowerScout 24 for its ReMaster Cloud Monitoring Energy Management system for several reasons. We needed a cost-effective, multi-channel meter that was Modbus-capable and could handle 480V, 3-phase motors on compressors, chillers, pumps, blowers, and vacuum pumps,” says Mac Mottley, CEO of Sparks Dynamics. “The PowerScout 24 can monitor eight 3-phase motors for kW, Volts, Amps, and Power Factor and had a small form factor PCB design that could be easily mounted inside our ReMaster Panel.”

Sparks Dynamics managed the entire project and completed an energy study that resulted in a large Pepco (utility) rebate. The central compressed air plant was also designed with expansion in mind—33% more capacity to be exact, making it possible for NIST to supply compressed air to more laboratories as they are built and come online.

THE RESULTS

The new state of the art compressed air plant system was completed on time and on budget. In addition, Sparks Dynamics’ seamless integration and collaboration with the NIST’s contractors throughout the process helped ensure the project’s success – as the campus had to maintain compressed air service throughout the installation. As a result, Sparks Dynamics role has been expanded to include a remote monitoring contract utilizing the ReMaster cloud based monitoring and analytics solution.

WIN-WIN FINANCIAL FORMULA

Sparks Dynamics funded this project through two separate sources to ensure a totally complete system was provided. The first was using the standard government procurement RFQ process and the second was a Pepco rebate that paid for half of the total compressed air system equipment costs.

BENEFIT BREAKDOWN

  • 1,000 CFM of additional compressed air
  • Energy cost savings of $140,000 achieved per year
  • Received $370,000 Pepco Energy Rebate
  • Less than a 4-year simple payback

ABOUT SPARKS DYNAMICS

Sparks Dynamics is a compressed air management company that provides audits, remote monitoring and analytics services that notify and recommend corrective actions, enhanced control algorithms, equipment sourcing and energy financing.

Learn more at http://www.sparksdynamics.com/

Energy Management Case Study: Retro-Commissioning Service Cuts Energy Use

Two prominent grocery chains in the Upper Midwest are reducing their energy use and cutting energy cost by retro-commissioning their stores. The chains have done so with the help of SINGH360, a service provider that specializes in working with grocery chains, and the PowerScout 24 power meter.

The retro-commissioning process identifies opportunities to improve energy efficiency for stores that have been in operation for several years. The process is valuable because such stores tend to become less energy efficient with time, says Abtar Singh, president of SINGH360.

Strack and Van Til, a 37-store chain in Indiana and Illinois, recently hired SINGH360 to retro-commission 16 locations. As part of that process, the company upgraded system controllers to the latest software version. They put the energy-management system (or EMS) for each store on a network so that they can check and manage them remotely. They also implemented a system to control store lighting on an Energy Management System.

“In the last four months we’ve seen savings of 8% to 12% on average,” says Don Erminger, director of energy and maintenance. “Before the project, we expected a payback of two years. But after our first four months, we now think we’ll achieve full payback in 12 to 14 months. That’s twice as fast as we first projected, thanks to opportunities SINGH360 identified.”

Coborn’s, a 54-store chain headquartered in St. Cloud, Minnesota and operating in six states across the Midwest, recently retro-commissioned its first store. In addition to reducing energy costs and improving environmental sustainability, the company also benefited from addressing many maintenance issues, says Chris Braun, refrigeration project manager.

With the opportunities SINGH360 identified, plus a 75% utility incentive from Dakota Electric, the company expects payback in less than six months, Braun says. The project also identified added capital projects that could cut the company’s energy use by 20% to 25% during retro-commissioning, he says.

Such utility rebates often make retro-commissioning even more attractive.

Xcel Energy (http://www.xcelenergy.com/), an electric and natural gas utility that serves customers in eight states, provides attractive incentives for its customers. “Recommissioning can be a good way for supermarkets to save energy,” said Renae Wrich, Xcel Energy recommissioning program manager in Minnesota. “As an incentive for supermarkets to take action, we offer rebates to subsidize the cost of identifying and implementing energy-saving HVAC and refrigeration projects,” She said. Xcel offers recommissioning rebates in Colorado and Minnesota.

SINGH360’s retro-commissioning process is especially tailored to the needs of supermarkets, says Abtar Singh, president.

“We always involve a three-person team. They include a commissioning engineer, a refrigeration technician, and an electrician. They use a mobile app we developed to make the process thorough and consistent.

A DENT PowerScout 24 was used to submeter the mains, lighting, HVAC, refrigeration compressors, and condensers. The submetered data helped in three ways during the retro-commissioning:

  1. To quantify energy savings achieved during retro-commissioning
  2. To identify anomalies and help determine that lighting and HVAC were operating on the proper schedule
  3. To find optimum operating control parameters for the refrigeration system using the metered data

“The building owner uses that same data to protect their savings by continuous monitoring,” says Singh. “We selected the PowerScout because it provides easy installation and provides a rich set of data, such as voltage, current, and power factor.”

Each store takes about three weeks to recommission, Singh says. “First we dial in remotely to analyze the store’s energy management system (EMS). We prepare a game plan. Then our team spends a week in the store diagnosing and fixing problems. While we’re on site, we also fine-tune the EMS.”

“Then we further adjust the EMS remotely and monitor its performance to verify the changes are producing their intended effects,” Singh says.

“We create an issue list so the store owner can hire a refrigeration contractor to fix any problems that go beyond the solutions we provide. We also identify additional energy projects and initiatives that can further reduce energy consumption.

“Finally, we issue a commissioning report. The report summarizes the work we’ve done. It identifies and recommends new opportunities for savings. And it forecasts likely savings from the recommended projects.”

About SINGH360 Inc.

SINGH360 (www.singh360.com) specializes in facility management. The principals have worked with the supermarket industry for 20 years, providing objective counsel that helps operators find and implement the best solutions to energy and maintenance challenges. The company’s solutions often incorporate the latest technologies. Services range from building-envelope assessments to complete design of mechanical and electrical systems (including HVAC, lighting and refrigeration systems) for new and existing buildings. The company help organizations set priorities for efficiency projects based on sustainability goals, speed of payback, and the return on investment. For more information, contact Abtar Singh, abtar@singh360.com or 651-605-1093.

Selecting a Power Meter: Find the Right Tool for the Job

“I need a meter.”

This is where the majority of customer conversations begin at DENT. When you learn that your project includes metering or logging energy consumption, it’s clear that you’ll need some piece of equipment to make that happen. Here’s a list of questions to help you decide which DENT meter is the right one.

QUESTION 1: HOW LONG WILL YOUR PROJECT LAST?

Is your project a 30-day load study or will you permanently be installing a meter within your building? The answer to this first question often dictates which meter is best for you.

If your answer is a 30-day load study, an energy audit, or a measurement and verification (M&V) project, the ELITEpro XC is a solid choice. The ELITEpro XC is portable and can be easily moved between panels or to a new location at the end of one project. This is why it’s often the best choice for a temporary study.

On the other hand, if you plan on permanently installing a meter for building submetering, tenant submetering, or demand response, the PowerScout 3037 or PowerScout 24 will be more suitable. The PowerScout is hard-wired into the panel (as opposed to connecting with croc or alligator clips), making it less portable than the ELITEpro.

QUESTION 2: HOW DO YOU WANT TO COLLECT THE DATA?

The ELITEpro and PowerScout instruments handle data collection in two different ways. How data is collected will likely have a large impact on which meter you decide to use.

The ELITEpro has 16 MB of on-board, non-volatile memory for data storage. Data is recorded as the metering session continues and, once the session is complete, the user can download the data from the meter using a USB cable, over Ethernet, or Wi-Fi (depending on meter configuration). Data is downloaded from the meter using a program called ELOG. Once downloaded, the data can be analyzed using ELOG or can be exported to Excel.

If you prefer walking up to the logger, connecting a laptop, and downloading your data, then the ELITEpro is the right choice.

By comparison, the PowerScout does not have any on-board memory for data collection. Instead, data is sent from the meter via Modbus or BACnet communications to a separate data logger or building automation and controls system. The PowerScout can use either BACnet IP or MS/TP protocol or Modbus TCP or RS-485 protocol for sending commands or retrieving data.

If your preference is to interface with the meter through your building automation system or via a remote dashboard display, the PowerScout is right for you.

QUESTION 3: HOW MANY PHASES DO YOU NEED TO MEASURE SIMULTANEOUSLY?

Are you measuring single or three-phase loads? How many of each do you wish to monitor simultaneously?

With the ELITEpro or PowerScout 3037, you can measure single phase loads or one three phase load. The PowerScout 24 allows for up to 24 single phase or 8 three-phase or a combination of single and three-phase using any mix of CTs.

If you require on-board memory (ELITEpro), but need to measure more than one three-phase load at a time, using multiple ELITEpros may be your best option.

QUESTION 4: DO YOU REQUIRE REVENUE GRADE ACCURACY?

The PowerScout 3037 is a revenue grade meter with accuracy of 0.2% or better (ANSI C12.20-2010 qualified Class 0.2). The PowerScout 24 is revenue grade with accuracy of 0.5% or better (ANSI C12.20-2010 Class 0.5).

The ELITEpro accuracy is better than 1%, which is ideal for energy audits, load studies, and M&V work.

QUESTION 5: WHY CAN’T I JUST USE A SMARTLOGGER INSTEAD OF AN ELITEPRO OR POWERSCOUT?

Actually…you can, under certain circumstances. But it’s important to understand what the SMARTloggers were designed for and their limitations.

SMARTloggers are time-of-use loggers. They are designed to give you run-time information for a load. There are four different “flavors” of SMARTlogger:

  • CTlogger: Has an external CT for using on energy-consuming devices with a power cord
  • LIGHTINGlogger: Has an internal photo-sensor for measuring on-time of lights
  • MAGlogger: Measures on-time for motors (or anything generating a magnetic field)
  • CONTACTlogger: Has dry contacts for monitoring closures (such as with a door or switch)

Take the LIGHTINGlogger, for example. If you have the LIGHTINGlogger installed in your light fixture, it’s going to sense when the lights turn on and off. It will record that information with a time and date stamp. Once you download the data from the logger using SMARTware, you will see the on/off transitions for the light. Maybe your light was turned on at 12:38 AM and turned off at 12:58 AM. It’s easy to see exactly how long your light was on. Here’s a sample of the data output:

All SMARTloggers work in the same manner, but are designed to monitor other types of loads, as outlined above.

What happens when you want to know how much energy your light was consuming. The logger itself doesn’t tell you this information without doing some post-processing. You can set the connected load’s kW in SMARTware software to make an estimate on energy consumption.

This is the real difference between the SMARTloggers and a true power meter, such as the ELITEpro or PowerScout: The SMARTloggers will only be able to give you an estimate on energy usage based on the time a load is on multiplied by how many kW you input in the software. If your question is, “How long has my pump been running?” and not “How much energy is my pump consuming?” then the SMARTlogger is an excellent choice.

QUESTION 6: I’M STILL NOT SURE WHICH METER TO CHOOSE. HELP!

Give DENT Instruments a call and we will help you find a solution for your project. Also, be sure to download our  FREE Metering Project eBook for time & money-saving tips for your next project. The eBook also features multiple checklists to keep you project on track.