Thames Valley put energy monitoring system on trial

Thames Valley Police are to pilot an energy monitoring system at 11 sites in the Milton Keynes area, in a bid to reduce a combined electricity, gas and water bill expected to top £2m this year.

May 5, 2006
By David Howell

Thames Valley Police are to pilot an energy monitoring system at 11 sites in the Milton Keynes area, in a bid to reduce a combined electricity, gas and water bill expected to top £2m this year.

Last year the cost of the force’s energy and water came to £1,430,000, a figure that looks likely to rise substantially this year following a significant increase in the price of wholesale gas.

The force will work with data management specialist IMServ to detect any unexpected surge in energy consumption at any of the sites on trial, and take action accordingly; in the past, the only indicator of energy wastage would be a larger than normal bill.

Each site, from an 1890s police station in Newport Pagnell, to the unit in Milton Keynes shopping centre, is being fitted with multi-utility half-hourly data collection meters and the readings from these will be compiled and presented through a secure online site by IMServ’s Energy Data Vision (EDV) system.

The trial is due to last at least a year in order to account for seasonal variations in energy consumption and, if successful, the metering system will be considered for roll out across all five of the force BCUs.

Neil Wickham, Thames Valley Police’s Energy Manager believes that, if the system does go live across the whole region, the EDV system will be an invaluable tool for BCU managers in validating bills and disseminating information throughout the force. Each of the managers will be able to access the information they need as EDV offers a suite of reports that can chart energy usage on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. This means that managers will only need to view relevant information, and less paper will be needed for lengthy reports.

Neil explained: “Thames Valley Police operate from 220 buildings – one for every ten square miles of land in the area – ranging from radio communication masts on remote hill top sites to large main stations like Milton Keynes, one of the largest operational police stations in the UK.

“As the force’s energy manager, I need to understand how and when energy is consumed in each building as I develop a strategy to help reduce that consumption. Milton Keynes provides a complete cross section of the various different buildings run by Thames Valley Police so the results produced by these 11 trial sites will be similar to the rest of the Thames Valley.

“My main aim is to lower base load consumption. At the moment even a small unit like Midsummer Place (part of the Milton Keynes main shopping centre), which is used as a public service office, has a high base load throughout the day and night. Lowering this minimum spend across the board would lead to huge annual savings.

“I hope that this trial with IMServ will help raise awareness of energy issues among all members of Thames Valley Police force. If every member of the force took the time to switch off unnecessary lights, heaters and computers we could greatly reduce our annual energy spend, as it’s primarily the little things that each of us do every day that can waste the most energy.

“For example, leaving just one computer on overnight and at weekends can cost up to £25 per year. If you multiply this by the number of computers used throughout our organisation, the financial cost of this little inconvenience could run into thousands of pounds. It is difficult to predict the price of wholesale gas and oil these days, but what Thames Valley Police can do is use the information collected by IMServ to cut down energy consumption, hopefully reducing it by three per cent each year for the next three to five years.”

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