Monitoring Energy Prices With Chauvin Arnoux

There are many advantages and opportunities to be had, both financial and environmental, by reducing energy consumption in an installation through the measurement, identification, and resolution of electrical issues.

Why is energy efficiency important?

Unbeknown to many facility managers and business owners studies by The Carbon Trust have revealed that on average 20% of the electrical energy used in an installation is wasted on inefficient equipment, and a recent smart meter survey by British Gas suggests that 46% of electrical energy use in UK SMEs is out of hours.  In addition to this nearly half of all UK businesses have poor power factor, causing them to unnecessarily consume an additional 30% in reactive power, along with other negative impacts on energy efficiency caused by the effects of poor load balance and harmonics.


Why are wholesale gas and electricity prices soaring?

If saving energy costs and reducing a business's carbon footprint was not enough motivation in itself, the need to get on and identify and resolve these issues is getting demonstrably more urgent as global issues have sent wholesale prices for gas soaring, and the recent COP26 UN Climate Change Conference has reminded us all of the need to dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

The cost of gas has increased by 250% since the start of 2021, with a 50% rise in August, alone, which has been caused by a number of factors.  As the world comes out of “lockdown” and economies open back up we are seeing an increase in global gas demand, made worse by a particularly cold winter in some parts of the world.  The resulting high demand from the US and Asia has meant that less has been available to the UK, and this has been made worse by various maintenance projects rescheduled due to coronavirus, that are now impacting production.

Price per therm for natural gas

It is also the case that the UK generates around a third of its electricity from burning natural gas and so this has also pushed up wholesale electricity prices.  The average power prices in 2021 have been more than double the average 2019/20 price, with a daily average price which at one point was eight times the 2019 average.

While on one hand this threatens the profitability of every business and facility, as they grapple with factoring in higher energy costs, in doing so it also highlights and increases the potential savings to be made, and the urgency to make them.


Can identifying electrical inefficiency be easy?

Thankfully, determining your electrical energy use, including where and when it is being used, identifying energy inefficient equipment, reporting on harmonic content, and measuring phase balance and power factor issues has never been easier thanks to Power and Energy Loggers, or PELs as they are known.

Modern PELs are compact, lightweight, electronic monitoring instruments used for collecting electrical data.  They can be temporarily placed in distribution panels or around the facility without difficulty, and without the need to interrupt the mains supply or shut down the installation or office building first.

Chauvin Arnoux PEL Power Loggers

A PEL measures a whole range of electrical parameters, such as voltage, frequency, current, real power, reactive power, harmonic levels and more.  Crucially, the PEL doesn’t only measure these parameters, it also stores the results over a period of time that can range from a few minutes to months. This is essential, as some key issues, such as inadvertent out of hours energy use can only be identified by looking at time-stamped energy usage records. 

PELs are capable of storing millions of readings, and data can be retrieved locally or remotely via Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G/GSM, USB or Ethernet.  It's even possible to combine a number of PELs together to track several consumption points around a facility or multiple facilities, and without the expense of travel to retrieve the data.


Simple non-intrusive installation

With super slim designs and magnetic backs, the PEL103 and PEL104 from Chauvin Arnoux are able to be semi permanently stuck to the inside of a cabinet at the source of supply, where flexible current coils can be looped around the incoming phases, and magnetic voltage probes stuck to screw heads on MCB’s, or wired in for added security of connection.  For more demanding situations there's the PEL106 with its IP67 all-terrain casing.

Chauvin Arnoux PEL Energy Loggers in action


These PELs can be self-powered from the installation they are connected to and once installed you can access it remotely, so that you can safely and conveniently monitor energy usage and all of the other parameters it records from the comfort and security of your own home – or, indeed, any other location where you have internet access.  The remote access feature is easy to set up using the PEL Transfer software package which is available free-of-charge from the Chauvin Arnoux website.


Measure – Save – Monitor

There are many ways of reducing energy costs and environmental impact, in addition to the often-quoted advice of seeking a greener and cheaper energy supplier and installing additional thermal insulation. However, to understand what's going on and make effective changes you need to measure. 


Monitor multiple circuits and sites to ensure ongoing efficiency

  • Simple non-intrusive connection
  • Access live and logged data via Bluetooth or monitor remotely and remove the need to travel
  • Measure how much energy you use... and where
  • Log over a period of time to show trends, identifying areas of waste
Lower your energy consumption - reduce your costs and reduce CO2 emissions by 20% +


 Log energy the easy way