Power Equipment Australasia

XXXX Russia. Putin then decides to invade Ukraine. NATO, including Germany says that’s naughty and to punish Russia, we will stop buying Russian goods. That’s great but what does Germany do? They start buying a lot of gas from other markets, pushing prices higher. So some energy buyers say ‘Wow, gas is expensive this week, so let’s use the diesel generator, and turn off the gas generator’. So more diesel is purchased and the price of diesel goes up. Confusing as all of this is, it is actually far more complex. There are spot sales and long contracts. And once you build a gas-fired power station, well it takes a lot to convert to oil, diesel or coal. Amongst the mix are spot traders, forward contracts, wheeling and dealing all to make a buck. WHAT HAS PUSHED UP PRICES? • The war in Ukraine, using a lot of fuel and turning buyers away from buying Russian energy (gas and oil). • Post COVID recovery, fuelling everything as economies reboot. • Supply chain and shipping shortages and rising transportation costs. • The above two factors driving inflation in general. • Extreme weather events, needing more energy to warm in winter cool in summer. • Unplanned outages of several generators. • Voluntary early shut down of coal fired generators. WHAT CAN YOU DO IN YOUR BUSINESS ABOUT FUEL COSTS? We cannot control the world, so look internally to see what can be done. The first task is to monitor. Watch the numbers by insisting on an odometer reading every time your drivers buy fuel. Most fuel card systems have this option, but it gets ignored. Next calculate the fuel economy of every vehicle in your business, in litres per 100km. When I did this analysis for a fleet, the first discovery was petty theft. Once you see a truck with double the fuel consumption of any vehicle in the fleet, it seems obvious that all is not above board. This one driver was either getting his groceries for free or siphoning fuel into his own 4WD. For the rest of the fleet, we started posting the numbers on the wall. The third step was to reward and celebrate those who did best, and those who improved the most. Both were to be celebrated. Nothing is more politically charged then electricity prices as it affects us all enough to change our vote. According to The Guardian, the former Coalition Energy Minister Angus Taylor knew that prices were ready to rise significantly. They knew it before the May election and made the decision to delay telling voters about electricity price rises. “On 29 April, Taylor told 2GB Radio that claims of power price rises were fake news,” The Guardian reported. All of these energy sources (coal, gas and oil) get converted to electricity at some stage. Electricity is a very odd product. It is instantly perishable and expensive to store. By perishable, I mean that when Mr DNS turns on a generator at 2 am and no one uses it as we are all asleep, then the energy is wasted. We can and do store electricity in all sorts of batteries from Tesla home batteries to hydroelectricity where we use off peak generation to pump water up to the mountain lake again, so it can once more be run through the turbines and generate electricity at a later time. Please take another brave pill. Have a look at your power bill. Do you understand it? I have been working in electricity analysis for four years and I have not seen two identical bills. That includes bills from the same electricity retailer to the one customer with three buildings in the same street. So do not feel bad. To understand your power bill, understand that there are three types of fees: - F ixed charges, per day or month. Items like meter charges. This end up being maybe $300. - V ariable charges, some large, some small based on the number of Kilowatt hours (kWh) consumed. Think of this as litres of petrol, and all the multiple fees added up to maybe $0.23 per kWh. - P eak or network charges. This is the one that shocks everyone. They look at your consumption and argue that, for example, on Tuesday at 3pm you had the highest demand of the month at 1080 kVA. Now to keep you happy, we had to build a generator and lines big enough to cope with your 3pmTuesday power party. So, we are going to charge you $17.28 x 1080 kVA. It is this peak charge that is often half of your total bill - just for 3pm to 3:15 pm on Tuesday 12th. If you get your meter interval data, and graph it, you can see the peaks and when they occur. OPINION MARCH - APRIL 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 19