Customer Demand Studies
Trilogy Consulting has been working with several utilities utilizing new technology in water meters to perform customer demand studies of water utilities' various customer classes. Generally, a customer demand study is one that analyzes hourly water demand of a customer class or the entire water system, using either data from the entire population, if it is available, or from a sample of customers within each customer class. These studies are useful in a variety of applications:
- Determination of Peak Demand Factors
- One way hourly data can be analyzed is in calculating peak demand factors, or ratios of peak demand to average demand, for each customer class within a given utility. These are used within a cost-of-service study to assign proportionate shares of costs related to facilities that provide peak demand service to each customer class that receives the service. The benefits of this analysis are a more fair cost allocation among customer classes that result in appropriate rates that reflect those costs, as well as the ability to design better rates that more closely reflect those cost allocation.
- Alternative Rate Design and Evaulation
- Hourly demand data can also be analyzed to better understand demand patterns among customers within each customer class. This can be useful in designing and evaluating conservation-oriented rates, such as those with inclining rate blocks. Data can also be used to explore the feasibility of alternative rate structures for non-residential classes.
- Application of Demand Data to Utility Operations
- With the technology to collect and monitor hourly water demand so new, other applications are just starting to be explored. One is the relationship between operating a system's facilities at maximum efficiency, in terms of potential to size facilites in an effort to minimize energy costs, for example. Another could be the analysis of the relationship of the demand of different customer classes to the coincident demand of the system, which could have numerous applications.