Metering as a solution to financial and technical burdens in the energy sector


Kyiv, November 4, 2015. Using multi-zone meters will help consumers save money on electricity, reduce costs, lower the burden on the country’s energy system and bring down overall electricity usage, said Dmytro Vovk, Head of the National Commission for State Regulation in Energy and Utilities (NKREKP) at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. According to him, the idea of two-zone and three-zone meters is not new, but previously it was efficient only for industrial consumers. For the population, which is the main cause of the uneven schedule of electricity consumption, it was difficult to calculate such meters’ expediency. In addition, regional power companies created bureaucratic obstacles, said Vovk. Now people can independently buy a multi-zone meter.  According to the NKREKP decision, a meter should be customised at a fixed price of 300 hryvnia within 10 days,” said Vovk. Then the user will be able to save. “According to our estimates, the cost of a single-phase meter, which is suitable for consumption by 500 kWh per month, is 800 hryvnia. A three-phase meter, which is suitable rather for a large consumer, like a house or apartment that consumes 1,000 kWh, a multi-zone meter will cost a consumer about 2,500 hryvnia,” noted Vovk.

Scheduled price increases allow for calculating payback for a certain amount of consumption. “According to our estimates, with the consumption volume of 250 kWh and the cost of a one-zone one-phase meter, the payback is eighteen months. It’s quite an attractive payback period, considering that this category covers about 30% of consumers,” informed Vovk. A single-phase meter is not suitable for those who consume 500 – 1500 kWh, as larger homes have a three-phase connection. Such a meter costs more, and given the greater volume of consumption, the payback period is shorter than in flats. It will take about a year. But such meters have an advantage for consumers. It is their energy-saving consumption. “The cost of electricity decreases due to optimizing the daily load and involving cheaper energy sources,” summed up Vovk.

For night use, consumers will be able to pay half as much for electricity. The more uneven is daily consumption, the more difficult it is to model the work of the system so as to have this resource, said Serhiy Pokrovskiy, Advisor to the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine. According to him, these resources cannot be covered by just hydroelectric power plants and hydro accumulative power plants.  They have to involve the central heating plants (CHP) and burn coal, and keep them in a hot standby so as to cover peak consumption. “Rest of the time the resource is used just to ensure work during these peaks. But when they burn this energy resource, it means direct waste which we then cover by ourselves, as consumers, which is reflected in the tariff,” stressed Pokrovskiy. Thus, changing consumer behavior patterns will be most effective in terms of energy use for electricity production, he said.

According to Roman Zinchenko, co-founder and chairman of the Greencubator Public Association Board, people are the most valuable resource and the greatest ally in terms of stabilizing the Ukrainian energy network. “Millions of Ukrainian washing machines working in the evening turn from a good home assistant into a sort of “energy ‘vatnik’ (‘enemy’ – UCMC note)” because they destabilize the energy system and often […] force us to import a resource that we potentially could do without,” said Zinchenko. He said that the level of using dual-zone meters is very low in Ukraine. But on the other hand, dual-zone meters must be considered as something from the past, and we must concentrate on stimulating lesser load in peak hours, particularly evenings. A dual-zone meter is not an effective tool for this, because it does not create sanctions, it just encourages supporting nuclear power has shortcomings. Transferring mass consumption from evening peak to a nighttime could save the situation. “But there is another component. Only three-zone meters can smooth out these peaks,” he added. And here, we need additional instruments like applying timer modes for washing machines, ovens and air conditioners. “Multi-zone accounting and smoothing peak consumption can help stabilize the system and avoid at least part of the fan shutdowns, for this is one of the energy security components,” he said. Peak electricity is most expensive. Therefore, it is necessary to involve the consumer in an energy efficiency formula and create models “that will turn a home washing machine from “energy vatnik” into “energy patriot” and the consumer will become an active player in stabilizing the Ukrainian energy system,” concluded Zinchenko.