Supermarket Chain

Fast Facts

Industry: Grocery
Location: Mid-Atlantic U.S.
No. of Sites: 150
Annual Savings: $375,000
Total Savings: $1,000,000
Additional Benefits: Visibility into energy baselines, staff efficiency, ability to manage entire portfolio with single energy manager

The Customer

A leading regional supermarket chain with more than 150 stores located across the Mid-Atlantic U.S.

The Challenge

Bright lights and energy-hogging refrigeration and cooling equipment make energy a major operational expense for supermarkets. And because they operate at such razor thin margins, controlling energy costs can be the difference between a good year and a bad one.

The Solution

Finding Funding with Demand Response

In 2012, the Company deployed Enel X’s energy intelligence software to support their participation in their local demand response program, PJM’s Emergency Load Response Program. Demand response provided valuable dollars to the grocery store chain to fund its energy intelligence investments. Today, more than 150 of the Company’s stores are streaming real-time data into the Enel X platform and using their operational flexibility to generate approximately $200,000 in annual payments. Enel X’s software is integrated directly with the stores’ building management system (BMS), automatically initiating the stores’ energy reduction plans when PJM initiates a demand response dispatch. The Company’s energy manager can monitor the performance of each site by logging into Enel X, while store managers and other staff stay focused on running the day-to-day operations.

Homing in on the Most Inefficient Sites

With data streaming from across the 150-store portfolio, the Company’s management team could quickly identify which stores were using energy in the least efficient, most costly manner. To reign in costs, the Company deployed Enel X’s professional energy intelligence software package at its 20 worst-performing sites in July 2012. Encouraged by the early success, in April 2013, the Company added 20 additional stores. With more automated analytics and support from Enel X’s professional services team, the Company was able to quickly identify significant energy savings opportunities that required little or no capital investments.

Savings Example 1

While a utility bill only provides an aggregated view of the previous 30 days of usage, Enel X’s software breaks energy consumption down to 5-minute intervals. With a few keystrokes, Enel X’s software analyzed the Company’s entire portfolio to determine which stores were shutting down at night and which stores were continuing to operate at full tilt. Once the worst performers were identified, the team could quickly evaluate where the savings opportunities were. For example, they discovered that one store was inadvertently put on a 24x7 operating schedule after the BMS’ settings were over-ridden, wasting 330 kilowatt-hours of electricity every day. Left unchecked, that one scheduling error would have cost the Company $13,000 a year.

Savings Example 2

In addition to identifying which stores were operating as if they were open for business in the middle of the night, Enel X’s software also helped the Company pinpoint what the ideal baseload consumption should be during setback mode. By comparing similarly sized stores across the portfolio and normalizing for different variables such as weather, analysts looked at the stores that were cutting back the most at night, evaluated their setback practices, and made recommendations that could be deployed across the entire portfolio of stores. These small adjustments accounted for nearly $40,000 in annual savings.

Savings Example 3

Nights aren’t the only time stores need to be mindful of their operating schedules. Many stores run fewer hours or are closed altogether on holidays, but remembering to adjust schedules ahead of time is just one more thing on a long list of to-do’s for most store managers. Enel X’s professional package deployment comes with the support of a dedicated Enel X analyst, whose job is to make sure these types of opportunities don’t get missed. For example, in 2013, Christmas Day fell on a Wednesday. Upon the advice of the Enel X analyst, the Company’s energy manager made sure that all stores were scheduled to shut back completely on Christmas Day. The Enel X analyst team then used the software to quantify the savings at the 40-store professional deployment, which amounted to $4,000.

The Benefits

The financial benefits of the Company’s Enel X deployment are crystal clear. With approximately $1M in value delivered in just 2 years, few other initiatives deliver that level of return on investment. But the benefits don’t stop there.

Enel X’s software provides the Company’s single energy manager with the ability to keep tabs on 150 geographically disparate stores. The Company’s energy manager starts each day by logging into Enel X, ensuring that his stores are all operating as expected. Robust baselines that incorporate a number of different variables provide a solid understanding of what “normal” usage should look like, while automated analytics, helpful dashboards, and support from Enel X’s professional services team for the 40 stores that have access to Enel X’s professional package ensure that opportunities for savings are easily spotted, addressed and maintained over time. The lessons learned from those 40 stores can be extended across the entire portfolio.

Without Enel X’s software, the Company would be restricted to utility bill data 45-days after the energy has been consumed and the money spent. The energy manager would be spending most of his time doing on-site visits; if he was aggressive, he could probably get to each store once a quarter. Instead, he has 24x7 real-time visibility into each and every one of his sites that are streaming data into Enel X’s software platform and tools to help prioritize where to take action. In addition to the software, by enlisting Enel X’s professional services team, the Company has dramatically scaled its energy management and cost-control efforts, allowing the Company’s staff to stick to their core competency: maintaining and managing best-in-class supermarkets.