How does a nationwide corporation keep track of all the energy pricing and incentive information from hundreds of utilities across the country?
For Cox Enterprises, a company with about 40,000 accounts that deals with about 190 utilities, it was tough.
“Historically, Cox had been using spreadsheets and collecting data by contacting Cox’s operations and accounting employees at their subsidiary companies across the US,” said Robert Fairey, director of energy procurement for Cox Enterprises, in a case study.
But Cox, which spends over $100 million per year on electricity and natural gas, found the spreadsheets required constant updating to keep track of the changing information at utilities. Ultimately, Cox hired Urjanet, a company that manages data from utilities, among other things.
“You can think of us as the Bloomberg of energy data,” said Sanjoy Malik, CEO of Urjanet. He said his company feeds utility data directly into a corporation’s energy management system, where the numbers can be crunched along with other energy data.
Urjanet charges a subscription fee on a per-meter basis. Cox, for example, has about 40,000 meters at its locations.
Besides Cox Enterprises and some other un-named big companies as customers, Urjanet’s data also works behind the scenes for energy management companies such as Summit Energy, SAP and EnergyCAP, said Malik.
Keith Mask, Cox Enterprises assistant vice president of energy and engineering, said the company is always evaluating locations throughout the US that offer the best incentives for renewable energy projects. “It’s constantly changing,” he said. “Using Urjanet to get all that information in one database compares apples to apples.”
At its Manheim, NJ facility, Cox installed a 1.5 MW solar system on nearly 100,000 square feet of free-standing car canopies and on a roof.