The 3.5-year Energy Management contract with a well-known fuel brand in Poland led to a reduction in electricity consumption costs by 15% – more than expected. As a result, we extended the contract for another two years. Its ambitious target is another 3.5% reduction.
Petrol stations are a key segment for Sescom. Cooperation with one of them has continued on the Polish market since 2019. Over the last few weeks, we summarized the first contract. The customer expressed great satisfaction with the cooperation so far, as we have managed to exceed the assumed savings results: 15% in relation to the assumed 14.36%. It is worth noting that with this volume of energy consumption, each decimal value translates into hundreds of thousands of savings. The result is the final one (after deducting all other factors that could possibly disturb it, such as investment, weather or pandemic factors).
Sescom Energy Management – method
Sescom’s own method includes a thorough analysis of the initial situation, additional research projects and innovative methods of energy efficiency management in dispersed facilities.
Everything begins with a review of possible reductions in specific parameters of electricity supply contracts. Sescom’s metering systems monitor the compatibility of the energy tariff with the energy profile of the facility, and allow us to verify the ordered power against real use and the presence of reactive energy.
The next step is to look at the processes at the petrol station (at facilities’ life cycle) and at the habits of the staff. Stations open during the day only are distinguished here from those operating 24/7. Their mode of operation and energy consumption are taken into account – we want to know to what extent lighting, heating or cooling affect the results.
Then, Sescom looks at business processes, i.e. when there is the most refueling, traffic at car washes, catering services, etc. We check whether all areas are profitable. On this basis, the customer is presented with dozens of recommendations and implementable procedures. The guidelines include information on what needs to be checked when opening or closing a facility. Limit temperatures are set that do not disturb thermal comfort, and do not unnecessarily increase costs.
Sescom has also developed a cyclical targeting system, under which the so-called targets are sent to each station once a week (let’s call them “energy packages” to be used in a given week). In this way, managers receive a prediction of energy consumption from their energy manager. If there is excess, the station must find reasons and justify excessive consumption. Sometimes the reasons are trivial, such as human inattention, forgetfulness or an unrepaired fault, but all of these generate avoidable costs.
As part of the contract, the condition and calibration of all electrical devices are also reviewed. In this way, inefficiency and sources of energy loss (e.g., failure to adapt the parameters of air conditioners to changes in air temperature), are diagnosed.
Sescom also looks at windows and doors, roof sheathing, and the general condition of buildings – and creates recommendations for improvement and investments. Customers usually have their long-term renovation plans, in which they take these guidelines into account.
Challenges for the near future
In the case of our customer from the petrol industry, all the activities lasted 3.5 years and will continue further. At the same time, new activities will be added related to the evolution of facilities and the challenges that future brings.
First of all, the customer is aware that trading in fossil fuels is coming to an end. Therefore, it gradually transforms the facilities into catering outlets and micromarkets, installing new devices for preparing meals, back-office service, etc. Petrol stations increasingly often provide other services, which may generate higher energy consumption.
The second challenge is to move towards Renewable Energy Sources through investment in photovoltaics, and thus a new type of energy management.
“Paradoxically, we no longer care that the station consumes little energy, and the point is that it consumes as much energy as possible when it is generated by RES – the so-called “green energy”, and as little as possible when energy comes from the supplier’s network (the so-called “black energy”). In Poland, photovoltaics can work for several hours a day, and that’s when the maximum number of processes using green energy should work. The consumption of “black energy”, in turn, should be “flattened”. It is primarily an analytical challenge, because you need to learn how to measure things – but also an organizational one – for implementation to take place” – says Bartłomiej Gawin, Energy & Digital Director at Sescom.
Another challenge is electrification. Car chargers are built at stations every day. We support the Czech branch of our customer, who are interested in our telemetry system. The system shows your actual energy consumption, managing the ordered power in relation to the parameters from the contracts and checking whether the chargers are profitable. The Sescom system can be easily connected to the overall station monitoring system without any hassle.
The next two years of the contract will therefore be devoted to new processes: expanding food utilities, focusing on RES, as well as electric chargers and photovoltaic panels. One further idea is to move towards more conscious energy purchases – transforming purchases from the “day-ahead” market into “on-the-fly” purchases. This is another source of savings to be developed in the future.
Artificial intelligence can help in these activities. Energy consumption predictions, targets and goals are already being developed on the basis of AI algorithms. While energy managers are trying to predict the future based on historical data, Sescom has even created its own predictive tool for that very purpose. It still requires human input but will soon work in a completely automatic manner.
Continuation of cooperation
The current contract assumes the development of a new EEM model that will take into account the share of energy from RES and the need to manage the so-called renewable energy mix (black and green energy).
We have estimated that over the next two years we are able to reduce energy consumption at the stations by another 3.5%. We see potential. We have also increased the energy awareness of the employees of these petrol stations; they no longer have to be persuaded to act wisely. Saving are in their DNA now, and the entire company cares about it. Not to be missed is the fact that gratification processes are based on energy savings. The customer has arranged internal activities to match goals in energy efficiency. If we manage to maintain this self-discipline, and mutual commitment, I am sure we will achieve the ambitious result” – assures Bartłomiej Gawin.
At the same time, he admits that cost reduction is by no means endless. At some point, a critical mass is reached. It is crucial, though, to maintain the achieved results through daily and consistent work, commitment, and monitoring. This is the only way to achieve the ambitious goals of Sescom’s Energy Department.