Competition in energy and utility markets is developing rapidly within the global arena as governments around the world introduce liberalisation programmes and new competitive frameworks. As these markets change, so do the customers and businesses that participate in them.
Viterra Energy Services AG (VES) is no exception. The Germany-based company operates in the world’s most competitive markets such as the UK, US, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Spain, with the aim of providing independent services to support components of the process chain of activities from metering to billing. In recent years, VES has expanded its traditional metering services from the smallest domestic heat emitter to managing the entire electricity supplies for customers such as industrial parks and generation from large power production plants and distribution networks. Particularly interesting customers include operators of industrial parks, for whom VES manages the allocation of electricity, gas, water and heating costs to the individual units sharing the park.
The structure of the industrial sector changed after the diversification wave in the 1980s, moving away from large multi-process manufacturing sites to a decentralisation of many large industrial companies into smaller units. These units are generally located together but operate as independent, profit-oriented businesses which share a common infrastructure provided and maintained by an external facilities management company.
Because energy costs represent a substantial proportion of the total operational costs for many industrial companies, it is vital for the management company of the industrial park to provide their clients with accurate energy data to help manage energy costs. The reliable and timely billing of energy is equally important. This is much more complex in an industrial situation than for commercial or residential premises, because it is not only electricity, water, and gas that have to be metered – compressed air, cooling fluids and steam are often also included. There are up to twenty different types of ‘energy’ whose costs have to be allocated to the different firms according to their actual consumption.
Allocating total costs
Some industrial parks consist of hundreds of smaller firms producing different products and consuming various types of energy. It is now important for the management company of the industrial park to be able to allocate the total costs precisely to the appropriate cost centres. This complex task is time-consuming for the operating firms, because calculations are based on high volumes of data which have to be accurately acquired, stored, and processed within a short time cycle.
Backed up by over 100 years of experience, VES has recognised the value of specialist support in these processes, and has developed specialised systems to handle the high volumes of complex information which ensure optimal security in data management vital to the operations of the clients they serve. Today, the company works together with customers along the entire process chain of industrial energy measurement, data processing and energy management, helping to solve problems for the management companies of industrial parks and their customers – the industrial companies.
To be able to offer these services VES has set up a partnership with the infrastructure provider InfraServ Gendorf, an experienced company which operates the Bavarian industrial park Werk GENDORF. InfraServ Gendorf offers its clients approximately 60 products, ranging from power supply to health and environmental management. The two companies complement each other perfectly. While VES covers the process of managing systems, contracts, equipment, metering, meter replacement, payment and billing, InfraServ Gendorf provides hardware and energy optimisation tools for use by the clients of the industrial park.
Thanks to the modular structure of their services, VES and InfraServ Gendorf offer a tailored solution based on each customer’s needs. These vary from standard service packages to highly individualised solutions. Figure 3 shows how the customer benefits from the industrial metering services.