Huntsville Utilities Holds Public Meeting in Advance of Rate Hike Request

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville Utilities presented an electric rate increase proposal to the Huntsville City Council during the month of January.

Monday was one of four opportunities customers have to comment on the proposed 2.75% electric rate hike. The other three options are during scheduled Huntsville City Council meetings and work sessions.

“We understand that rates need to be raised from time to time especially if much of the increase will be used for better technology such as smart meters,”  said Daniel Tait, CEO of Energy Alabama.

They say they plan to advocate for more energy efficiency and access to renewable energy.

To continue reading, please visit: http://whnt.com/2017/01/09/tonight-huntsville-utilities-to-hold-public-meeting-in-advance-of-rate-hike-request/

Energy vs Power

Power vs Energy: What’s the difference?

Power vs Energy. What is energy? What is power? How do they work together? And why does it matter to you? These are all important questions in helping you understand what fuels the light, heat, and electronics in your home.

What is energy?

Energy is defined as a measurement of how much fuel is contained within something or used by something over a specific period of time. This is what your utility company uses to determine how much energy you consume each month, and they measure it in kilowatt hours (kWh), which is how many kilowatts per hour you use. So you know that consumption charge you see on your bill that says something like 652 kWh? It means your residence has used 652 kWh worth of energy in a month.

A lot of energy, yo.

Power on. Beep.

What is power?

Power is the rate at which energy is generated or used. It is the measure of how fast something is generating or using energy. A kilowatt (kW) is a good example of a measurement of power. You measure power by how fast something is generating or using energy. For example, the higher number of kW a building pulling, the faster that building is using energy.

How do they work together?

We’ve already found out that power is the rate at which something uses energy, so for something to have power it also has to somehow have energy to work. For your TV to have power, it has to be plugged into the wall where the electricity can connect to it. The electricity is the energy that gives your TV the power to project the new episode of The Big Bang Theory that you’ve been waiting to see. The energy you used is the amount of power over the duration of the time you watched TV.

The units that power and energy are measured in, kW and kWh respectively, are also related. This fact may be relatively obvious since they look pretty similar, but there is actually a little bit more involved. The two measurements are connected through math. (“OH NO! MATH!” But I promise this math is easy to understand.) To get energy, you multiply power by time. For kWh, it is kWh(energy)= kW(power)*time (usually hours). To get power, you divide instead of multiply. You divide the energy by time. For kW, it is kW(power)= kWh(energy)/ time. This is how the measurements are calculated.

Why does it matter to you?

We already know that power and energy are what powers (you see what I did there???) our day-to-day lives. It’s what charges our smartphones for us to stay connected during the day; it’s what turns our lights on when night time comes so we don’t trip over shoes on the floor or stub our toes on the furniture. (Although, stubbing my toe on furniture happens to me during the day time, so I don’t think that is the electricity’s problem.) In modern times, most of us couldn’t function properly without somewhere to charge our phones, a microwave to heat our food or something to heat the water for our showers. Understanding power and energy and how they work together is a good first step in understanding and appreciating the comforts most of us enjoy daily.

Understanding an Energy Use Index

The North Alabama Buildings Performance Challenge is an initiative to cut energy usage in our community. When you’re using ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager, you’ll be able to calculate the amount of energy your company uses by using the Energy Use Index (EUI). The main benefit of using the EUI is that you can compare your building’s performance to similar facilities across the country. By itself, an EUI is practically useless, but, when you compare it to a statistically relevant data set, it can help you understand how well you perform against your peers. This device is a good way for companies to figure out how their building’s energy usage measures up to other buildings that are similar and to help them set energy usage goals for the future.

A practical use for your EUI is to set energy goals and benchmarks. By monitoring your EUI each year and using the information that it gives you, you can set tough but achievable energy usage goals. Each month, you’ll need to enter the data from your utility bill, making it easier to track improvements over time and giving you the ability to automatically see the difference it had on your EUI.

An EUI isn’t the one and only useful device, but it’s just one of the tools afforded to you by ENERGY STAR and the North Alabama Buildings Performance Challenge. You can have an EUI in the top 25% out of similar buildings around the country, but your work space might be uncomfortable. Don’t sacrifice your employee’s work place comfort just to cut energy usage. The key is not to just reduce energy consumption but to cut the waste and still get your work done.

SIDE NOTE: There is a big difference between site EUI and source EUI. Site EUI is the type of energy use that most of us are used to; it’s the energy use that shows the amount of heat and electricity consumed. That is what is reflected in your utility bill. To see how the energy use for a building changes over time is the reason why we look at the site energy usage. Source EUI is the calculation that accounts for the entirety of energy use. It is the total amount of raw fuel that a building uses to operate, which includes the on-site energy uses.

Ready to see how the Energy Use Index can work for your company? Try it out! It’s free!