Red Pill or Blue Pill?

Today we will see what taking the red pill might look like from an energy management perspective...

This is your last chance.  After this, there is no turning back.

You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. 

Nothing more.

Morpheus to Neo, The Matrix

When energy managers make tough choices it often revolves around what they know about and what they must learn.

A metaphor of knowing about an "Inconvenient Truth" and acting on energy waste fits reality well. 

So presented with a means to know much more (and add to responsibilities thereby) we can imagine a Neophyte energy manager finding him or herself in a very different world than before they take the pill, bite the bullet, take the plunge or even eat from the Tree of Knowledge.

Imagine two of them side-by-side, each works for a retailer

(yes the data below is real but made anonymous and from two of the top ten UK retailers - by turnover).

They pop their pills, open their eyes (for the first time) and this is what they see: 

(One chart above the other to fit the page)

Each coloured speck represents the record of gas consumption for a supermarket somewhere in the UK.  Small blue specks that are densely clustered are normal and benign. 

BIG RED PILLS are not!

Both energy managers have a few problems to sort out, and because they know how much they are wasting (based on seasonally adjusted precedent) on the y axis, and whether their gas consumption correlates to coldness (for heating) bottom axis (left = heating , right = cooling). They immediately know that some stores are behaving "purposefully", and some "consistently".  

So this is the question - Would you want to know which colour your sites are ?

The trouble with information and yes it works for pub chains and utility companies, and schools and coffee shops is that it presents a choice.

Once it is out in the open, there is no putting it back in the box (Pandoras?) -
You can be accountable, or your sites can be held to account and you can either make things better or twiddle your thumbs.

So which will it be :


Please feel free to get in touch if you want some advice 

+44(0) 1825 712800 or email 

Active Demand / Demand response in short ; "buy now to beat the rush"

Hi - Very brief update

I am off to Rome later this week to a briefing by (Nov 2014)

at Enel Head Offices, who describe their mission as follows:

Leveraging on the empirical data and lessons learnt in real Active Demand (AD) experiences, the overall objective of the 24 months project is to develop actionable frameworks enabling residential, commercial and industrial consumers to participate in AD.
Furthermore, the benefits of AD for the key stakeholders and the inherent impacts on the electricity systems considering its potential contribution to system stability and efficiency are to be quantified taking different scenarios into account.
This will be achieved through comparing the different AD solutions applied in Europe and enhancing them by the investigation of socio-economic and behavioural factors with direct involvement of real consumers.
On this basis, key success factors of AD and recommendations for the future design of AD programmes will be derived.
Equilibrium price under demand inelastaic and ...
Equilibrium price under demand inelastaic and elastic demand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In short it is about buying when demand is low for later usage - it helps the grid, the utilities, the clients (lower prices) and it helps the planet because it allows more efficient generating resources to be applied.

The notion is all about the micro-economics of the market:

I'm looking forward to conversations with some of the interesting attendees, both guests and from amongst the partner organisations:

  • Enel Distribuzione
  • Comillas
  • Entelios
  • ERDF
  • FEEM
  • Iberdrola
  • RWE
  • TNO
  • TNS
  • VaasaETT

  • So if you happen to be in Rome this week and want to talk about Active Damand / Demand Response and/or how kWIQly can uncover load rescheduling opportunities from energy data (whether attending or not) do drop me a line to james @ and we will see if we can catch up.

    Best James

    The easy way to accept Bitcoin micropayments on your blogger account

    I was at AVC today (a great entrepreneurs blog) and read this about a new way of exchanging funds legally and securely at VERY low overhead.

    The Concept of Bitcoin Micro-payments 
    The bitcoin tipping button by Coinbase

    This "tip button" allows you take micro donations in Bitcoin if people appreciate your posts. (You will see I have already "harvested" 550 bits at the time of writing).

    So pressing on the Bitcoin "Tip"  as shown ( top right of my blog ) will donate an small amount of Bitcoins to me. 

    It is only set to "300" bits or 0.0003 bitcoins by default and at the time of writing that's about 10 cents US as a "bit" is 1 millionth of a Bitcoin

    This all supposes the reader/donor has an account set up to pay bitcoins, because they are very secure - you cant give what you haven't got. (If not is a good place to get informed)
    Note: Neither kWIQly nor I have any commercial interest in coinbase (other than curiosity)

    This can be used to fund pretty much any product or service (but keep it clean - it is your choice how you spend your life). But as an "early adopter" - I thought this would be useful to lots of potential bloggers, musicians etc (so I thought I would help spread the word - It could also be a way of driving down global transaction payments so for example more of charitable spend can be applied to the cause).

    How to put it on your site :

    Visit - it really explains everything you need to know.

    For me (my blog sits on the blogger platform is hosted elsewhere) this meant:

    1) opening up my browser at (logged into my account) and clicking 

    2) Selecting defaults in my case (and when logged in) and then copying the javascript (below)

    3) Going to my blog layout editor (this for blogger) YMMV and  selecting layout (below in orange)

     4) Select add a HTML/Javascript widget

    Pasting the script in the box and job done -  

    Then all you do is save the changes and watch the money mount up. 

     (To be honest this is an experiment for me and if the box top right never again changes I wont mind (and thanks to the coinbase team for donating my first receipt !)

    Related articles

    Engerati Interviews kWIQly at European Utility Week

    Adam Malik of Engerati interviews kWIQly at European Utility Week

    This 10 minute video does a great job (Thanks Adam ! ) of covering the stamping ground where kWIQly works in laymans terms.

    The chat ranges from Energy Management to Demand Response  (which was definitely flavour of the week at the show, but which must carefully distinguish shifting waste from eliminating waste - both have a role to play),  from the problems of utilities finding candidates who can switch off chillers, to the pub owner who has left his heating on while the drinkers are propping the door open, through hospitals who have their time-clocks 12 hours out of sync !

    We had a great series of meetings at the show - and will be there again next year.  After shouting out a special thanks to @Engerati and Stuart Neumman @Verdantix for his kind words (and fascinating viewpoints), its worth mentioning a few companies we spoke to who are up to some really interesting things in the fields of Grid Optimisation & Resilience, Demand Response, Metering and Meter Asset Management and moving into the energy management analytic's sphere where we work - They are (alphabetically - no particular order)


    With a special mention to from Italy who had a very cool demo of virtual viewers for looking down meter holes to see connections and plate data, and a really cool pattern recognition drone solution (in the field in South America where regulation is a little freer) for first responders to gas and water leak which integrates with their GEOCALL solution.  I should mention extensively enjoying their local artisanal products (Parma Ham, Parmesan and Bubbly - What's not to like ? :) 

    We were also interested to talk to a number of companies who have energy analytics platforms but who focus more on behaviours and customer engagement than we do.  A brief list must include (again alphabetically) and don't be surprised to see products partnerships appear on these platforms in this still new and fast growing industry.

    Oh - and finally we are off to see Enoro AG next week who have an office just down the road in Zurich and are using some of the same great technologies we use, but who really help Grid Operators see data more effectively

    For me the highlight of the week was to have our team together doing business and feel that the industry is rapidly waking up to opportunity.  The watchwords of the week were Demand Response, Grid Analytics, Energy Analytic Platform Solutions.  See you next year !

    Conflicts on the ground that serve no purpose

    I received the folloing tweet from engerati (if you are in energy join - its free and excellent )

    Since this post was there - I thought I better put it here too !

    A different type of conflict

    Utility companies are no strangers to "conflict on the ground" when it comes to large scale geo-politics.  One needs hardly mention The Gulf, Nigeria, Ukraine and even historically Tobruk, or more surprisingly The Falklands to realise that a battle for scarce resources is nothing new. However, this is not the battle we are addressing here.
    Our conflict occurs when mismatched intents between building services, powered by gas and electicity come into play.  Though each is small, unnoticed and imperceptible, they are nearly omnipresent eternal and their impact is huge.
    Consider this: The IPCC and WCSBD together calculate that around 12% of global energy is wasted in buildings (29% of the 40% used). Obviously this represents the normal or "businesss as usual".
    A simply corollary is that "exception based reporting" (the basis of 99% of commercial aM&T software) is utterly useless in this context. If it is normal, it is unexceptional and so this 12% of global energy flies "beneath our radar" (as waste).

    Throw away counsels of despair

    There is no point simply observing that a situation is broken. It is; and let me briefly define the problem, but let us then examine what needs to be done (as it is relatively simple).

    The battleground:

    When analysing energy use, the need to understand the stated purpose of consumption is implicit. It would be a better defined world if it were explicit.
    Energy managers "chalk-up" energy consumption to causal factors of consumption (the "drivers"). Typically most are overlooked, but common considerations include (occupancy - no point cooling an unoccupied building), the weather (how hot or cold is it), the target "comfort" conditions, and exceptional items like school holidays, heating outside occupancy for fabric protection.
    To the extent that these drivers together fully explain variations in consumption, we can assume well-managed energy use.
    But they do not ! - Granted most utilities provide data-viewing apps, that feed back pretty graphs of consumption, or benchmarked comparitives of performance within a class of building types

    Existing Analytics tools are not fit-for-purpose:

    While you as the provider of a utility (say electricity) cannot explain to your client how much of their energy is wholly wasted in negating the effects of their overuse of another utilities resources (say gas), using your best data scientists - I would argue the system is broken, because it appears neither client nor supplier knows the benefits of the facilities provided (despite knowing the quantity sold).
    This is a strategically significant statement -

    "Utility companies cannot in general quantify their core value-proposition to their clients"

    The solution is relatively simply defined, and is available based on metering techniques and analytics alone.

    Selling Holes not Drills

    Going one step further for your clients is easy if you are armed with a few bits of data.
    Imagine a pub where the landlord responds to complains of cold by turning the thermostat up, and the drinkers respond to heat by leaving the doors and windows open. Now drive through any city on the planet and see how many centrally serviced buildings have their doors and windows open.

    "This problem is so common, that people laugh about it."

    Now, suppose you are armed with outside temperature and gas consumption histories. It is not rocket-science to come up with an email that says -
    "At this temperature last year you were using X kW but now you are using twice as much (turn the thermostat down and make sure doors and windows are closed) and comfort is still possible"
    If you consider that weather is a legitimate driver of heating consumption, it is a small step to recognise that money spent on cooling (usually electrically driven) is always an illegitimate driver of heating consumption.

    It's a simple argument, but until utilities (or their service representatives) provide both electricity and gas data for a building in a single analytical context (even at a fiscal meter level without sub-metering) they cannot possibly know how much of the utility is useful and how much is simply encouraging their clients to look elsewhere causing competitive:


    "conflicts on the ground that serve no purpose!"

    originally posted on