Reducing the communication costs of a remote monitoring and maintenance system for an energy services company (ESCo)
Du Plessis, J.N.
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Demand-Side Management (DSM) initiatives can result in substantial electricity cost reductions. Energy Service Companies (ESCos) typically perform remote monitoring and maintenance to ensure sustained performance of these DSM initiatives. Mobile network service providers offer the flexibility required to allow an ESCo to monitor DSM initiative that are widely distributed across South Africa. Mismanagement of the communication infrastructure and the potential for excessive data usage threatens the financial feasibility of remote DSM maintenance. Software was developed to promote improved management of this communication infrastructure, and to monitor the accessibility, data usage and other communication vitals automatically and remotely. Optimal management of the communication infrastructure ensures the lowest possible base cost, while prediction based on data usage information allows for predictive maintenance in order to avoid or reduce excessive data costs. This paper presents the process of reducing the communication cost of an ESCo that actively monitors and maintains more than forty DSM initiatives. Improved asset management and automated monitoring resulted in a 73% reduction in the monthly communication costs