Written by Kyla Merwin Cheney, February 2004
Electricity is not getting cheaper, anywhere. Regional utilities across the country are collecting data to help them understand their customers better and to forecast future energy needs. Researchers, analysts and consultants are finding that the energy measurement tools they choose contribute significantly not only to the accuracy of their projects, but also to the cost savings they can achieve.
The consulting firm of KEMA-Xenergy, of Oakland, California, helps utilities collect, monitor and evaluate data on energy usage. The state of California recently hired KEMA-Xenergy to conduct their Residential Appliance Saturation Survey, a research project measuring the energy consumption of appliances in households across the state. To assist them, KEMA-Xenergy turned to DENT Instruments of Bend, Oregon.
Erik Dyrr, Senior Engineer at Kema-Xenergy, said that DENT Instruments customized their DATAprofor this project, where loggers were installed in 200 residences across the state of California. The instruments are being used to measure whole house and air conditioning energy consumption. "There's a substantial cost for us to install loggers at each site," said Dyrr. "It's not worth it for us to purchase equipment that is unreliable. It's too expensive to go back in three-to-twelve months and not have recorded accurate data. DENT's loggers have been very reliable. That's one of the many reasons I continue to use them."
Dyrr also reported that the level of customer support DENT offers its customers is far superior to other instrumentation companies he has worked with. "They're a relatively small company, and more responsive to my needs," said Dyrr. "In larger companies, I'm thrown to their system. With DENT, I call up and talk to the same person who understands their products and who understands our company."
The instruments that DENT manufactures have also offered KEMA-Xenergy the flexibility they require in responding to the various needs of their different customers. "DENT has a whole line of products for research and evaluation," said Dyrr, "and we've used them all. We count on DENT Instruments for a wide range of products, flexibility, and the willingness to customize their products for our specific requirements. It allows us to respond better to our clients."
Hawaii Electric Company, for example, hired KEMA-Xenergy to evaluate their energy efficiency programs. "Since 1996, we've used various DENT loggers to monitor and evaluate energy savings at over 1,500 sites," explained Dyrr. "You can't beat the reliability and ease-of-use for the money."
KEMA-Xenergy has also used DENT's time-of-use SMARTloggers to monitor over 700 solar and electric water heaters in evaluating the savings achieved with residential solar water heating. They've used DENT's Elitepro loggers to monitor everything from chillers and variable-speed drives, to heat pumps to water heaters. "It was great when they rolled this product out," said Dyrr, "because the Elitepro provides the same functionality, but beats all others loggers significantly in price."
One of the challenges facing all of KEMA-Xenergy's customers – and utilities across the globe – is meeting their budget. With their unique combination of reliability, flexibility, ease-of-use, and the most competitive pricing in the industry, DENT Instruments helps consultants and utilities meet their research and budget goals.