The second installment in our EnergyCAP Health Checkup series is for those clients who may be seeing double (diplopia) but haven’t figured out that their historical utility bill records have been contaminated over time by inconsistent record-keeping relating to meter units of measure.
Here’s how this illness is spread. Cost and use data for a meter is keyed or electronically imported year after year, but no one checks to see if each bill for a single meter represents consumption with the same energy units.
A gas meter might have consumption expressed in dekatherms or therms, or maybe CCF or MCF. A water meter might have readings in cubic feet (CF), gallons, or hundreds of cubic feet (which can be represented by HCF or CCF). Although EnergyCAP records the units of measure for each bill’s usage value, calculations for some EnergyCAP features are predicated upon the assumption that a meter’s units of measure will not change over time. These features include audit comparisons, budgets, accruals, use vs. weather normalizations and some reports and graphs.
The problem isn’t when you have different meters with different native units of measure. EnergyCAP can handle that easily. Across your organization, you can certainly have meters that are tracking in different native units of measure, and EnergyCAP automatically makes the proper conversions when rolling up data to common units (same commodity) and global units (different commodities) for PowerViews and reports.
The problem comes when the same meter has multiple units of measure associated with it, and when the user is taking advantage of advanced features like budgets and accruals. In some cases, the software will not be able to correct for unit of measure inconsistencies associated with a single meter.
EnergyCAP has been improved over the years to prevent users from creating unit-of-measure problems, but if you have historical data, or data that was converted with an earlier system, you may indeed have meters with more than a single unit of measure in the bill history. Here’s an example:
As you can see, this meter has use units of cubic feet (CF) and hundreds of cubic feet (CCF). The earlier consumption data was in CCF, then there were entries in CF, and the units just kept switching every few months—inconsistent and confusing, isn’t it?
There is a vaccine for diplopia, at least the energy management kind. In EnergyCAP, the best preventative practice is to keep the use unit of measure (whatever it is) consistent for each meter.
But what if you’ve already got this potentially devastating data condition? EnergyCAP has a cure for you! In recent releases of EnergyCAP, a unit of measure fixer is built right into our software.
In Administration, click on Units of Measure and select the Mixed Units of Measure tab.
As you can see, EnergyCAP will display a list of meters where a mixed meter problem has been detected. The fixer works by comparing the units of measure associated with historical billing records for each meter with the current bill entry template associated with that meter. The Message column in the list will display the issue and scope of the problem.
From there, you can choose a couple of different ways to correct the unit of measure inconsistencies, including exporting the error kickout records and then reimporting the corrected data into EnergyCAP.
A fixed bill record will look something like this:
In this example, the user keyed the bill originally as CF, then used the fixer to change to gallons, and then used it again to change to CCF. All prior values are documented with “information-only” line item values.
You don’t want to live with data diplopia. Take care of yours today and enhance the quality of life for your EnergyCAP database.
Previously in the EnergyCAP Health Checkup series:
>>> The Cure for Database Dispepsia