Conservation efforts by the residents of the Florida Keys have dramatically lowered the consumption of potable water. However, with water bills tied to usage, the same amount of infrastructure now has to be maintained with less revenue.
As a result, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) challenged themselves to reduce operating costs in order to avoid unpopular rate increases. Operations staff decided to look at electrical costs but found that pumping facilities had an assortment of electrical meters with varying accuracy levels, and some of the meters were inoperable.
FKAA is the sole provider of potable (drinking) water for all of the residents of the Florida Keys. They deliver 17 million gallons of water per day to over 44,000 customers.
FKAA turned to SEL for an accurate power metering solution to help them more effectively manage their energy costs. SEL revenue meters provide FKAA the data they need to confidently make process decisions that affect electrical costs. Working with their integrator, FKAA developed a way to display power demand and kilowatt-hours in real time, expressed as dollars per 1,000 gallons pumped. This allows FKAA operators to view the cost of process decisions in real time.
The data from the revenue meters help FKAA identify operating inefficiencies, evaluate stations where variable-frequency drives will lower pumping costs, and determine the most efficient pumps to use. As a side benefit, the SEL meters captured some anomalous power events that FKAA shared with the power utility, leading to power quality improvements that benefit FKAA and its customers.
The more data we give the operators, the more ways they find to save. It’s having a chain reaction—everyone is always asking how they can save.
Based on their initial investment of about $60,000 (USD), FKAA is realizing $600,000 per year in electrical cost savings.
With the success in their water transmission system, FKAA is now looking to improve efficiency at their distribution pump stations. Other water and wastewater departments are also taking notice of FKAA’s success and following their example.
The payback is really quick—[sometimes] in a couple of months.