June 2018 Edition: Transformer Ownership: What is the value of owning your own transformer?
Are you the energy manager or decision maker of a large commercial or industrial facility? Then transformer ownership might be something worth considering because, in most cases, it reduces your service voltage rate. By reducing your service voltage rate, this may impact and ultimately reduce your monthly demand charge. In this edition of Customer Insights, we will explore key points to consider before committing to the first step of transformer ownership.
The transformer sitting behind your business is essential to ensuring that power is properly converted to a usable service voltage for your day-to-day operations. Typically, the utility owns the transformer because it is required for the last leg of the trip to distribute power to your business. This puts your service voltage on the secondary, low voltage, side of the transformer. To recover the costs of transformer ownership, the utility charges you a higher demand rate in their tariff.
Alternately, you have the ability to own this transformer yourself, move your service voltage to the primary, high voltage, side and save money for your business. This can be achieved by directly owning the transformation equipment or partnering with a third party, such as AEP OnSite Partners.
Who should consider transformer ownership?
When considering transformer ownership, you want to ensure that your business meets the proper conditions that make transformer ownership worthwhile. There are four key points to consider researching costs.
What are the major cost components?
When considering the purchase of a transformer there are two key cost components to consider before committing to the investment. Let’s explore how to quantify initial capital costs, as well as ongoing operations and maintenance costs.
Is it a good deal?
Your savings are calculated by weighing the total cost of transformer ownership against the accumulated savings realized by reducing your demand rate. Below, the graph illustrates how everything comes together for three different scenarios. You can see the demand rate required to achieve a net present value (NPV) of zero – the break-even point at 20 years using third party ownership. Notice that it changes significantly with transformer utilization because at low utilization factors you are paying for transformer capacity that your business does not require. This reiterates the fact that it is essential to understand the energy requirements of your business now and into the future. With this information, you can plot the graph below for your business and determine what kind of ownership solution will work best for your business.
Required Demand Rate Difference to Achieve NPV=0 at 20 Years
Note that the 100MVA scenario has higher rate requirements because facilities of this size typically have
additional levels of reliability designed into their power systems, which increase Capital and O&M costs.
But … I am not in the energy asset business!
You may not want to invest your capital dollars in transformation equipment nor internally develop the skillset required to own and operate them. A third party owner, such as AEP OnSite Partners, would provide all of the upfront capital to take ownership of this equipment and move your meter to a higher service voltage. This allows you to save your capital dollars for growing your business while getting the benefits of metering at a higher service voltage.
Interested in learning more about transformer ownership, reach out to AEP OnSite Partners by emailing Dan Smies, Managing Director of Business Development and Strategy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your AEP Energy sales representative to find out if an opportunity is right for your organization.
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