Base Consumption and Peak Consumption

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The consumption pattern has a direct impact on total energy consumption. Depending on activity, there may be higher or smaller variations in consumption during a day, month or year. However, there is always variability between periods of time of activity or occupancy and periods of time when idling or the place being unoccupied. Approaches to tackle cost will depend upon the impact of general consumption or peak consumption on the total billed for energy by the utility company.

If the variation in energy consumption is high, the peak day consumption may be experienced for a long enough time to have an impact on the monthly consumption. Cost control approaches should target peak energy requirements. There may be a pronounced seasonality influence as well that has to be considered separately, such as winter vs. summer.

If the variation in energy consumption is not significant enough to make clear the case for a peak load and a base load, cost control approaches should determine what devices are a permanent energy draw and if they can be taken out of use or used less frequently.

Determining base consumption and peak consumption

Without using specific devices to measure instant load, we can still determine two important scenarios, estimating the base load and peak load through base and peak consumption over a specified amount of time. Measurement devices for electrical energy are cheaply available and can help in making base and peak load evaluations.

The energy load at a specific moment in time can be indirectly determined by having frequent meter readouts. For instance, reading the meter index with most devices turned on at a specific time and then after 30 minutes or an hour can give a rough estimation of the peak consumption in that timeframe. This situation should not be considered typical but as a clear indication of an extreme case that can occur.

Base load is best determined when most activity is idled and, as happens with most consumers, late at night. Having two meter readings taken at 1 hour or more apart can give a good estimation of the base load that may happen on the premise, although it will not show an instant value, but still an average of energy load during that time.

Date and time Electricity index (kw/h) Gas index (m3) Base consumption (night) Peak consumption (day)
2022, the 27th of April 9:10 4028.6 320.683 3.6 kw/h, 0.4 m3
2022, the 27th of April 20:00 4032.2 321.057
2022, the 28th of April 8:57 4033.5 321.121 3.1 kw/h, 0.1 m3 5.9 kw/h, 0.5 m3
2022, the 28th of April 21:00 4039.4 321.602
2022, the 29th of April ----:----

Note: In this case, the base consumption is computed as the difference between a night meter readout and the following morning one, and the peak consumption as the difference between a morning and a night reading on the same day. The base load is considered to be at night, because the consumption is lower in this time period, although the length of time between measurements is roughly the same.