Insights

Electrical Embedded Networks in Shopping Centres

30 November 2017

In an earlier insight posts we’ve described what an electrical embedded network is (Link to Post), and we talked about the advantages (Link to post). Over the next couple of posts, we want to talk about embedded networks and their potential application in a range of areas from residential buildings to industrial and commercial sites, through to retirement villages and shopping centres.

Today we’re going to look at electrical embedded networks in shopping centres.

Shopping Centre owners and managers were amongst the earliest adopters of electrical embedded networks. Whilst the earliest versions of embedded networks have been around for as long as 50 years or so, the modern incarnation started to come into being only in the last 10 – 15 years as state based electricity markets began to privatise and deregulate. Australia has one of the most mature deregulated electricity markets in the world and this is why we see so many multinational companies investing in ownership of generation, distribution and retailing as the expertise gained in the Australian market is vital for their international operations as further deregulation takes place globally.

Shopping Centres, particularly the larger “mall” style centre with large numbers of national retail, are major consumers of electricity. This electricity consumption has been increasing as opening days and hours have expanded and the inclusion of restaurants, cinemas and other entertainment options can see these centres open and consuming energy 16 – 18 hours a day or more, 7 days a week, 365 days per year, much of it at the high Peak rate.

With a reasonable percentage of the electricity consumption coming from common areas, it was a sensible decision for shopping centre managers to look at options for reducing the cost of their supply, allowing them to have an impact on overall running costs for both management and tenancies.

Including tenancy consumption in the overall supply enabled centre management to further reduce the cost of supply by substantially increasing the volume of power purchased at the one point, likely bringing down the cost of tenancy power as well as common area power.

Different centre owners and management will have different approaches to the charging for power and for common areas, but if the inclusion of an embedded network enables tenants to have better options for their outgoings, the solution is a real advantage to all concerned.

Non-residential complexes often make the most effective embedded networks, with the higher consumption during Peak hours creating greater capacity for wholesale price reductions. Retailer business rates can also be higher than residential, leading to greater potential. This principle is not limited to shopping centres. Commercial offices, business sparks and industrial estates can all be considered suitable candidates for electrical embedded networks.

If your electrical embedded network isn’t delivering similarly, perhaps it’s time to think about alternatives?