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Smart metering to drive energy efficiency

Remote Metering Solutions (RMS) chief commercial officer Frikkie Malan

FRIKKIE MALAN Traditional methods of capturing information on energy consumption need to move to smarter technologies and metering

24th May 2024

     

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The age-old practice of monthly meter readings is drawing to a close in the face of the modern world’s dynamic and fluctuating energy demands, reports utility metering management solutions provider Remote Metering Solutions (RMS) chief commercial officer Frikkie Malan.

He explains that traditional methods and legacy systems no longer meet the demand of capturing the complete picture of energy consumption and building operations, necessitating a shift towards real-time load profile consumption data enabled by smart metering.

The transition to smart metering is not solely about collecting more data; it is about ensuring accurate, transparent billing and leveraging actionable intelligence to optimise energy use, reduce costs and downtime, and improve decision-making.

Real-time analytics of energy consumption data facilitates predictive maintenance by identifying concerns before they escalate, says Malan.

Valuable consumption data delivered by smart metering enables both effective energy management and streamlined maintenance processes. Decision-making is accelerated, and outcomes are of higher quality.

The built environment touches all aspects of people’s lives, from homes and offices to places of instruction and entertainment, shopping centres, and factories. These spaces, alongside supporting infrastructure such as water supply and energy networks, set the stage for all human activity.

Historically, the built environment has been mostly about buildings and their physical use, with less attention given to adopting digital tools and using data to track and systematically enhance the energy performance of buildings.

Accelerating decarbonisation in the built environment is proving crucial for a sustainable future, compelling players in this ecosystem to invest significantly in decarbonisation measures, says Malan, adding that a critical enabler of this transformation, the utility management landscape, is experiencing change at an unprecedented pace.

Currently, much emphasis is placed on innovation and aiding property owners in embracing the transition to clean energy, thereby reducing the “operational” carbon emissions of their buildings – those emissions stemming from heating, cooling and lighting.

This evolution, driven by technological advancements, reshapes consumer expectations, shifting the utility management industry from its traditional focus on meter readings and straightforward billing towards a more integrated, dynamic and sustainable model.

Diversified Energy Mix of the Future

Reliance on a single grid is outdated, and energy diversification, or using different energy sources to meet demand, has become imperative.

“The challenges of loadshedding, the urgency of decarbonisation, and the volatility of energy markets demand a more flexible, resilient approach,” says Malan.

Today, the new normal comprises a blend of generators, embedded solar panels, and energy wheeling and storage solutions.

This mix characterises the modern energy landscape, enabling property owners to meet supply needs consistently and smoothing fluctuations, while decarbonising their operations.

However, integrating renewable-energy sources with existing systems requires meticulous planning and management and adequate infrastructure and business processes to ensure grid flexibility, demand response, reliability and efficiency, he cautions.

The Evolution of Utility Management

Utility management continues to evolve from a straightforward process of meter reading and bill processing, to a complex ecosystem of transaction management.

Navigating this complexity necessitates significant investment in system development, skills enhancement and business process optimisation.

“The built environment is rich with opportunities for innovation and growth, and the utility manager of the future is no longer a distant concept; it’s a reality.”

Malan notes that through the strategic adoption of technology, utility managers can redefine the value of their offering and continue to add unparalleled value to the lives of property owners.

“In this new era, utility management is about more than just billing tenants; it’s about driving efficiency, embracing sustainability and unlocking new opportunities for growth and profitability.”

As the industry evolves, RMS remains at the forefront, offering innovative solutions that cater to current needs while anticipating future demands.

“Whether a property owner, manager or tenant, partnering with RMS enables stakeholders to transform their approach to utility management, ensuring efficiency, sustainability and profitability in an ever-changing world,” concludes Malan.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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