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Energy Management Software: Why It’s Important This Summer

Last year, when companies set out to plan their 2020 utility budgets, they couldn’t have known that COVID-19 would radically change power consumption volumes and profiles across the globe. In New York City alone, daily electricity demand fell 13% after COVID-19 prevention regulations went into effect. In the first week of June, overall energy use was still 8-9% below expected demand levels. The NYISO’s forecast team observed that the reduction in electric demand from commercial customers is a major factor in overall reduced electricity consumption.

With employees who formerly commuted to offices everyday now largely working from home, the highest power usage has shifted to residential buildings, with peak usage occurring in the early afternoon and continuing into the late evening, as residents stay up late surfing the internet and streaming shows. And, as temperatures increase across the country throughout the summer, air conditioners are likely to run more frequently, since people will be at home during the day instead of the at office.

The question is, how long will this continue? That remains unclear. On June 8th, NYC entered the Phase 1 stage of reopening, and other cities have reopened even further. However, some companies have announced their offices will not reopen to employees until 2021, while others will give employees an option between coming in and working from home. Additionally, there is a possibility of a second spike in cases as states and countries reopen, which could force another wave of closures and restrictions.

Why is Energy Management Software Important Right Now?

That being said, it’s more important than ever to have energy management software to help with utility bill management, analytics, sustainability reporting, and more. Energy management for a portfolio of buildings – or even a single building – is tricky at the best of times. Now that energy usage and peak times are so unpredictable, energy management software could play a vital role in saving you money, whether your portfolio includes residential or commercial spaces.

What, exactly, does energy management software do? An energy management software is a Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud-based platform that helps you reduce energy costs and measure your energy performance.

Energy Management Software Benefits

Peak Load Management:

Notably, energy management software has predictive analytics to alert you when peak load hours are likely to occur so you can track, measure, and verify the performance of your peak load management (PLM) efforts. By effectively managing your account’s peak load, you can save tens of thousands of dollars off of your supply costs by reducing your capacity obligation (and transmission obligation in PJM). Since peak load hours have shifted due to changes in daily routine caused by COVID-19 (and are likely to continue shifting as the pandemic waxes and wanes), using energy management software will make peak load management easier.

Utility Budgeting:

Additionally, while it’s impossible to be exact with utility budgets, your energy management software should provide you with data-driven, explainable utility budgets accurately based on proprietary consumption forecasting algorithms and supply market projections. This is particularly helpful when making budget adjustments and reforecasts to compensate for the new normal during COVID-19.

Variance Reporting:

Finally, energy management software should include variance reports to provide analysis of actual data vs. budgets and accruals. A budget variance is the difference between the amount you budgeted and the actual amount spent.  Your energy management software should analyze the variances and identify the drivers, such as weather, delivery rates, or occupancy.  In the age of COVID-19, it’s safe to say that nearly every commercial and real-estate company has experienced budget variances.

How EnergyWatch Can Help

Whether your company is based in an area still experiencing strict COVID-19 restrictions or not, a cutting-edge energy management software platform will help you weather the uncertain months ahead. EnergyWatch’s energy management software watchwire provides you with the knowledge and ability to thoroughly analyze your energy data and meet your company goals and reporting requirements.  Learn more about our cloud-based energy management platform here.