Web technology allows power use scrutiny

As the threat of power shortages looms, Stream Information - a joint venture between electricity carrier Vector and utility market IT provider Total Metering - has a product it claims allows businesses to save power and money.

As the threat of power shortages looms, Stream Information - a joint venture between electricity carrier Vector and utility market IT provider Total Metering – has a product it claims allows businesses to save power and money.

The product, Stream, is a web-based electricity use monitoring system.

Stream uses “time of use” metering, in which meters are read remotely via a phone link, with the readings downloaded to a website to which the user has access via a password.

The information is presented in table and graph form and electricity use is recorded every half hour.

Stream Information general manager Sue Tindal says Stream offers several advantages over the traditional power billing model, in which users are billed monthly.

“Typically, a company receives its monthly electricity account a long time after the meter has been read, which gives no scope to analyse or adjust electricity consumption in real time.

“With Steam, businesses can download information on their power usage daily and monitor the impact of their business practices.

“For businesses with many meters around the country, the manager can access the website and monitor and compare power production at the individual sites.”

Another benefit is the ability to produce virtual power bills which can be compared with an actual bill to ensure no errors in charging, Tindal says.

When Stream Information was formed in April, Total Metering’s existing metering customers were transferred to Stream Information.

Stream Information’s customers include The Warehouse, Telecom, Lion Breweries and the Wellington City Council.

Stream Information is 70% owned by Vector and 30% by Total Metering and future plans include applying the Stream technology to gas and water metering.

Vector chief executive and Stream chairman Patrick Strange says Vector got involved as the senior partner in the joint venture because Vector sees Stream Information’s service as “almost part of our core business.

“Measurement of power use is an integral part of our customers’ activity and obviously we were also looking at making a good financial return from Stream Information.”

Total Metering chief executive Mark Fairey says the technology was developed by Total Metering and licensed to Stream Information.

Total Metering’s meter reading technology is being used in Australia and Malaysia, though not in the same package as Stream Information.

The company does plan to license the same package overseas, however, Fairey says.

“With the full licensing model, our strategy is to find joint venture partners overseas, replicating what we’ve done with Vector.”

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