What is interval data and how does it help me control my energy usage?
If you’re looking for ways to take control of your energy usage, then taking time to understand interval data is a great first step. Why? Because it’s the basis of how your energy costs are calculated. Plus, it can give you some highly useful insights into your business. Today, our quick guide to interval data will answer the following:
- what is interval data?
- how to access the data
- how to understand the data
- how to take action on the insights it provides
What is interval data?
It’s near real-time electricity usage recorded by your smart meter. Depending on the meter type your energy usage is broken down into 15-30 minute intervals. It’s essential for a business to understand how to read this data because it’s the foundation for calculating your energy costs. Therefore, it can help you budget more accurately as you better understand the peaks and troughs of your energy use.
How is interval data used?
24 hours of data is packaged and sent to us daily, giving us (and you) access to a midnight to midnight cycle of your energy usage. We use this to select a billing period, in our case, the first to the end of each month, to bill you on a monthly basis. We use this interval data not just for calculating your bill but also for helping you with billing queries; the level of detail provided helps identify problem areas and savings opportunities.
Can I see my interval data?
Of course, you can download it from My Account as a CSV spreadsheet file, under the tab ‘my usage’, giving you a snapshot of your energy usage for any period of time you select. Your smart meter sends us data daily, so you can access data from the previous day, helping you keep on top of your usage. If you want a more detailed spreadsheet, you can make the request via email and our customer experience team will promptly provide you with a report.
How do I read the data?
[it’s useful to have your interval data on hand for this part]
Interval data is presented in a spreadsheet format; the leftmost column displays the date with each cell in its row being the usage intervals for that day. Divided into 15 or 30 minute blocks, you can see your energy usage as each day progresses with a total for that day entered into the rightmost column; this column also has a total for the energy used during the whole period this spreadsheet represents at the bottom.
In the example above, the highlighted cell G7 displays 8.825, which means that on January 6th 2018 from 12:00 to 12:30 8.825 kilowatt hours of electricity was used.
The data also includes your usage totals, so you can see your sum usage for the day and the period. The data also states your meter register, and there may be multiple spreads of data if you have several registers, solar export, or demand data. We also indicate whether the data is actual (A) or substituted (S).
Note: Substituted reads are provided by your network when there is data missing for a period.
How is interval data useful?
Awareness is the first step toward controlling your energy usage, you can take a look at your interval data on a regular basis to track typical usage. This way, if you notice an unusual spike in activity, you’re ready to take action promptly, helping you manage unwanted surprises in your energy bills.
You can compare your data alongside other business metrics as well. For example, higher usage will likely correlate with a busier trading day, warmer or cooler weather resulting in your air conditioning working harder for longer. A mechanic may find more customers means a spike in usage due to the increased workload, or an evening event at an art gallery may result in peaks outside their usual hours; using interval data they could even calculate how much money was spent on energy during this event. Being aware of your energy usage will help you accurately budget for energy use as your business grows.
Blue NRG My Account allows you to set alerts so you’re notified if your energy use reaches a specified amount, allowing you to predict trends in your energy usage and take action sooner. (You can also set up weekly alerts on your usage trends and get notified when your invoice is due).
Need more help with interval data?
Contact our team of business energy specialists and we can explain how to access and interpret your data, and how to use it to reduce the energy use of your business.