whose 'energy data' source is the most reliable?

16 July 2014

‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ is probably not a phrase often used in discussions about sustainability.

However, Richard Hipkiss, Commercial Director at digitalenergy Ltd believes it unfortunately sums up a large percentage of business’ approach to energy management.

Different Data Sources for Different Needs!

I was at a meeting recently hosted by a senior operational manager to discuss energy and sustainability data strategy. The meeting was attended by finance, procurement, the sustainability manager, energy management, the compliance manager and accounts payable.

None of them knew what any of the other did in terms of energy - we discovered 10 different spreadsheets using energy data to meet different needs. In large organisations this does seem to be quite prevalent.

Everyone wants something different. Finance wanted to be able to forward predict costs. Accounts payable wanted to accrue costs for the month past before the bills come in. Sustainability wanted to reduce carbon (and other environmental KPI's). Energy Management want to reduce kWh and deploy projects while the Compliance Manager needs to ensure company complies with CRC, CCA and EU ETS.

They all thought what they did was more important than their counterpart, and ultimately none of them trusted the same data source(s) explicitly.

There is always a solution and for this particular problem, it’s quite simple - the creation of a single central database of energy, which provides all the different managers full transparency over what everyone’s doing.

Who benefits from a single central database?

Who is the biggest beneficiary apart from the managers themselves, the board are the chief beneficiaries.

  1. Reduce risk from compliance measures - both a legal risk (prison in terms of CRC!) and financial - CCA and EU ETS have significant financial penalties now for none compliance
  2. Reduce costs from better energy management, hence an increased bottom line! What could be more important?
  3. Financial control of energy - something not too many companies have but more and more will need. Energy is a controllable cost - not just something that needs to be budgeted for and fixed (common practice). With better control allocation, costs can also be attributed to the departments that have the expenditure - better to understand profitability and unit cost in industry/manufacturing.

This is a case of a company pushing from the bottom up (stimulated by the middle tier) to make the board more interested. Part of the recognition in the middle tier was the need to gain control of energy (and carbon) costs before it became too impossible to 'grab the bull by the horns'. At this meeting, after initial ambivalence, the end result saw everyone buying in to working together, reducing the need for 10 spreadsheets and replacing it with one source that suits everyone.

At digitalenergy we have specialised in compliance solutions for over 10 years, if you would be interested in exploring how our experience could provide your organisation the most cost effective route to compliance, please contact us to arrange a discussion using the form below;


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