Going beyond collaboration around energy efficiency

Manufacturers’ Monthly caught up with Manage My Power’s Paul Kurpiewski and Anthony Igmen to find out more about the role they are playing in helping to alleviate Australia’s energy issues in the industrial space.

Energy efficiency actions and improvements are still not typically or widely viewed as a strategic investment, despite many studies conducted by research firms and specialty energy management companies to demonstrate that energy efficiency contributes to the competitiveness of companies and the raising of their productivity.

With proper energy management strategies, in addition to long term cost savings, there are other tangible benefits that include improved productivity, optimised processes and new business opportunities.

However, there needs to be careful advance planning that ensures that all important elements can be incorporated from the start.  These elements include avoiding delays, duplication of efforts and confusion. Transparent planning, which involves consulting stakeholders from the beginning, will ensure critical aspects of the operations have been considered and help predict future implementation challenges.

In this vein, Manage My Power is a business that assists and educates business owners on best practices and solutions around demand and efficiency management of energy. The company is five years old and is responsible for the management and monitoring of millions of dollars of energy reduction contracts around Australia. It provides consulting and turnkey energy efficiency solutions to commercial and industrial businesses all over Australia.

“It really is just about connecting with the right people and helping as many businesses as we can,” said Paul Kurpiewski, managing director of Manage My Power.

The core specialty of Manage My Power is providing energy management, renewable energy and improving power quality. The recent increases in electricity prices, have affected not only the residential market but also businesses, both big and small. In some cases, these included increases of 50 to 100 per cent.

“During this critical period, companies should be looking at what solutions they should invest in to take control of their expensive running costs,” said Kurpiewski.

“We look to address the issues around lack of data and transparency within a business. This will include questions like: What solutions are available, what will my savings be? How are they estimated? Are the savings being met? Is the solution working according to spec and delivering the desired results?” Kurpiewski continued. He explained that there are many companies with different products pushing to service the one customer.

“In this case, you may have company A that is pushing for solar power and Company B for voltage optimisation or power factor correction. Hence, there is a large gap between the providers and targets don’t end up being met due to the tech clashing,” Kurpiewski said.

He explained that the technology around energy efficiency is not improving at the same rate as other sectors, especially with increasing energy costs and the decommissioning of power plants which is putting a huge strain on the network and industrial consumers.

The customer and IoT connection

Building a long-lasting relationship with the customer is important for Manage My Power because the company prefers to engage in long-term relationships with clients to ensure they are provided with the right service and solutions at the right time.

“We provide consulting, auditing and project management for all of our solutions,” said Anthony Igmen, head of strategic partnerships and sales, Manage My Power.  In a recent project with a client within the produce farming industry, Manage My Power conducted an energy audit to asses where potential improvements could be made.

“After conducting the audit, which consisted of CT data logging of switchboards and an interval data assessment, we found that the voltage coming into the site was much higher than usual and the power factor was low. This indicated that they had poor power quality and excess electricity was being wasted through either heat or vibration that ultimately resulted in high electricity bills,” said Igmen.

Manage My Power worked with their client to identify these issues and then they validated the savings that could be achieved through the implementation of Manage My Power’s Voltage optimisation and power factor correction units.

“With just these two solutions we were able to save our client $45,000 per year with a ROI of just over 2 years. Typically, our clients receive energy savings of 8-12 per cent annually and a 25-50 per cent ROI,” said Igmen. Besides saving money for the clients, but by reducing the voltage to the optimal range, the operating lifespans on the equipment was increased resulting in reduced maintenance and repair costs.

“We are currently working with them on the next stage of the project which will consist of 300kw solar Pv system.”

Manage My Power also leverages on the power of IoT for their energy management technologies to monitor energy usage.

“Currently, the industry does an assessment on the customer’s site to work out the ROI the hardware is supposed to deliver and install it. However, in most cases, once installed, they leave it and don’t react when something goes wrong (when energy costs start rising),” said Kurpiewski.

“What we do in the IoT space, we connect all of these devices together so the customer and us can get a holistic view of what is happening with all the installed solutions which includes energy monitoring,” said Kurpiewski. With these technologies, Manage My Power provides the “missing link” between the customer and their investment by providing the tools required to manage their assets.

Growing with the customers

According to Igmen, the technology and expertise is available but finding the right partners is the key to success business wise. “Partnering with us will ensure that you have the best solutions and information available to you all the time. From power quality to renewable energy, we have it covered,” he said.

Implementation is not just a one stop solution that ends just there with clients. A partnership to Manage My Power extends beyond just the initial implementation. “We gather that data continuously even after they expand, we help them validate that data with their increased energy usage (with the expansion of their facilities and energy requirements) and help them save more money as they go along,” said Kurpiewski.