Timers are used to switch heating and cooling loads during the ‘Low Rate’. Many have no battery back-up and will stop if the electricity supply is interrupted. It is therefore important to carry out regular checks to make sure that they are displaying the correct time and that the ‘Switching Times’ match the low rate of the tariff
Water pumps are usually installed in an inaccessible location but are controlled automatically and are very reliable. For this reason they are one of the ‘forgotten’ items of equipment on a farm. Over a period of time, their efficiency can tail off, resulting in reduced flow rates and increased running times. As well the increased running costs of the pump, there can be a knock on effect on milk cooling costs since reducing the flow of water through a pre-cooler will impact on its performance. Installing a Warning Light to indicate when the pump is operating, will give a clear visual indication of abnormal running. This should be fitted in a prominent position. In addition the ‘Factory Settings’ should never be changed.
Other no cost measures you can take:
Check that thermostats on water heaters are set correctly, to ensure that water is not boiling
Check that fins on condenser units are clean and not clogged up with dust which will prevent proper cooling
Clean lamps to get maximum lighting for your money, and check insulation on pipes and cylinders. If you can see any bare copper on hot pipes or hot water tanks it means you are wasting energy
Fix dripping taps and leaks on pipes, particularly on hot water systems
A few other things you can do are:
Check you are on the best tariff
Power NI offers a two-rate Farm Nightsaver tariff, which is the preferred option for the majority of dairy farmers. The rates are slightly more expensive during the day, but deliver 7 hours of half price electricity every night, from 1am – 8am in winter, and 2am – 9am in summer. The breakeven point for savings is around 10% low rate, and as most dairy farms use between 25-50% of their electricity on the low rate, there is a clear saving.
Pay by Direct Debit
While Power NI offers a range of payment options to suit customers, those quarterly billed customers who pay by Direct Debit are rewarded by a 4% discount. Around 50% of farms use this method of payment and enjoy discount as a result.
Switch to online billing with Energy Online
Customers who pay by Direct Debit can go one step further and get an additional 2% discount by opting for Energy Online, Power NI's online, paperless billing service. This allows customers access to their online account where up to two years' bills and payments are organised and stored.
Energy Online makes managing and monitoring energy costs much easier, including the option to compare each bill to the same period from the previous year, and bar charts showing usage, cost and CO2 emissions for each bill.
We offer a range of 1, 2 and 3 year contract options including fixed, flexi, cash-back and Green Energy. Contact us to find out more.
Energy saving products
If you’re looking to invest in energy saving equipment you could avail of around 20% funding through Power NI under the Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme (NISEP). Find out more here.
If your farm uses a lot of energy, solar water heating or solar PV panels can help you make big energy savings. Visit our renewables' section to find out more.
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