3 ways MSMEs can manage energy consumption


Posted at Nov 24 2021 03:55 PM

It is estimated that 99.5% of businesses in the Philippines are Micro, Small and Medium enterprises(MSMEs). Apart from providing employment to more than half of the country's workforce, these businesses are contributing to a big portion of the local economy. They also play a crucial role in the Philippines' efforts to recover from the health crisis.

However, due to the pandemic, businesses across all sectors were forced to operate at a decreased capacity resulting to disrupted cash flow and rising expenses. As such, they need to find ways to be smarter with the money they still have. 

The electricity bill is a big portion of a business' operational expenses. That is why managing one's energy usage can be a big help in lowering expenses, especially for small businesses that are still trying to figure out how to bounce back from the current health crisis.

Meralco shares some tips on how MSMEs can manage their electricity consumption and lower unnecessary expenses as they resume full business operations with the re-opening of the economy:

Photo source: Unsplash
Photo source: Unsplash

1. Follow these simple steps: Plan, Do, Check and Commit
Meralco's Energy Efficiency Expert Alfred Iporac shares 4 steps "Plan, Do, Check, Commit" that MSMEs can implement to manage electricity consumption.
Plan it well. Know more about your energy consumption by figuring out which appliances and equipment contribute the most. Make an integrated plan to determine actions and measures needed. It can be as simple as making sure that everything is unplugged at the end of the workday to investing in energy efficient equipment. It may also be as complex as shifting to night-time so you can sign-up and leverage on Meralco's Peak /Off-Peak Program and take advantage of lower rates at night. 

• Once you have a plan, Do it right away. Act on the plans in a time and cost-effective manner. This step also includes training, documentation, design and procurement, as necessary.

• While at it, make sure to regularly Check results. Monitor your energy performance. Carry out audits. Review the plans to check if the measures can still be done better, faster and more cost-effective.

• Lastly, Commit to energy efficiency. Everyone in the team, including management, should be involved, and roles and responsibilities should be defined. You can also incentivize those who contribute to achieving your energy efficiency targets.

2. Be mindful of the purchase and usage of appliances and equipment
For businesses that can afford to replace their current appliances or equipment, make sure to invest on energy efficient ones. You may consult Meralco before buying new equipment especially those from other countries to ensure compatibility with local electrical standards.

• High Efficiency Motors (HEMS) use less energy but delivers the same amount of work. Upfront costs may be higher but is more beneficial in the long run with operational cost reductions. Install the right motor size and make sure they operate at/or near full load capacity conditions.

• Energy management systems and smart technologies - from smart thermostat to smart lighting – can help automate, monitor, and analyze energy use. 

• Air conditioners with inverters help save 20% to 64% electricity consumption compared to conventional units. It reaches the set temperature quicker and keeps the room temperature constant. Be sure to buy the right size for your space as capacity-area mismatch can result in a 35% to 110% increase in energy consumption. 

• For food businesses, induction cookers are more efficient than gas or electric-coil types. 

Photo source: Unsplash
Photo source: Unsplash

Apart from purchasing energy efficient appliances, proper usage and maintenance are also important.

• Conduct regular maintenance on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, for optimal operations and savings.

• Adjust the thermostat of air conditioners to the highest comfortable level (ex. 25°C), as every one-degree setback in temperature corresponds to a 5% to 7% savings.

• Do not overload refrigerators and freezers as their compressors will need to work harder. The optimal loading capacity is 2/3 full or 70% full as it also allows air to circulate better. Always remind your employees to double-check if the doors are properly closed and if there are no leaks.

Photo source: Unsplash
Photo source: Unsplash

3. Take note of how seasonal changes affect your energy consumption

Electricity consumption tends to go up during the summer months as it increases the usage of cooling appliances which then consumes more energy.

Even if you use the same appliances for the same number of hours compared to non-summer months, Meralco Power Lab tests show that there is a corresponding 11% to 23% increase in energy consumption for every one-degree increase in outdoor temperature. Because of the heat, cooling appliances are usually set at a cooler temperature and at the highest fan speed setting, which also contributes to consumption.

Apart from practical tips, one thing business owners can take away from this is that implementing energy efficiency measures for your business should not just be a temporary solution, but a lifetime habit. That way you can bounce back and sustain your business beyond this current health situation. 

To learn more about energy efficient technologies and tips that can help your business, email Meralco Biz Partners at biz@meralco.com.ph or call their business hotline at 16210.

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