Lessons in energy use during shelter-in-place
Updated 8 April 2020
Hot dog
San Francisco bay area counties with a combined population of 6.7 million began "shelter-in-place" (S-I-P) on Monday, March 16. Several days later, the entire state followed suit. Not surprisingly, business energy use dropped while residential use rose. But several of our business subscribers are surprising me with some interesting lessons learned during S-I-P.
"Like a super low tide"
uses our customers' PG&E electric meters to alert them about unusual changes which increase their utility bills. One subscriber oversees a small manufacturing facility in the central valley, which shut down operations in mid-March. However, his alerts showed that while electricity use dropped for most of the day, there was a bump starting at 2pm each afternoon. It wasn't a large bump, but it cost about $15 a day.
It was pretty easy to locate and eliminate the source, some processing equipment controlled by a timer. That equipment was no longer needed in their manufacturing, even before the shutdown. But normal energy use drowned out the unnecessary bump. The shutdown is a bit like a super low tide at the beach - you can see things that are usually hidden.
Here's another example of energy use which became more apparent after a shutdown. This is from a municipal facility:
monthly energy use during shelter in place
Note the reduction in use starting on March 16. But a significant bump remains each weekday from 7-11pm, costing about $13 a day. In this case the bump was not from unnecessary equipment, but from custodial services which continued for two weeks after the shutdown.
The big(ger) picture
These observations prompted us to take a bird's-eye view of all our northern California subscribers during S-I-P. Here are a few data points for the the week ending Saturday, March 28:
Special offer during S-I-P
Low tide
For obvious reasons, energy efficiency is not top of mind these days. But as these examples show, S-I-P can reveal hidden opportunities to reduce costs and emissions. To take advantage of this (hopefully once in a lifetime) opportunity, we are now offering free to northern California businesses or residents for the duration of the COVID-19 restrictions (you must have PG&E meters to participate).
In addition to revealing any "low tide surprises", will alert you to
We've always included a 30 day free trial for new subscriptions. Now we're extending that period for as long as needed until we get back to a "new normal" (whatever that means). We don't ask for credit card or payment information, and if you don't wish to continue after the free trial ends we will cancel the subscription automatically.
Subscribing is easy, takes 2 minutes on-line, all you need is your PG&E account number. Just tap the button below.
Sign up for free trial
I would especially welcome any anecdotes about operating during S-I-P. We're all figuring this out as we go, and the community is a great resource for lessons learned.
Dave Krinkel
© 2022