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Lean Six Sigma Home Project

Measure – set a baseline

In this blog I will discuss about measuring the past performance of our Electricity usage. As I mentioned in the previous blogs we set a goal of reducing our household power consumption by 30%. We did not have any basis at that time since we did not have any measurements. I collected the previous electricity bills and the raw data is presented in table below:

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Jan   290 390 290 386
Mar   57 578 347  
July   513 512 303  
Oct 599 823 832 476  

The first thing we need to is remove the data that is not relevant to our current analysis. For example, we do not need 2006 and early 2007 data as they represent the consumption of our previous home – which was a smaller unit. Removing the unwanted data results in the following table:

  2007 2008 2009 2010
Jan   390 290 386
Mar   578 347  
July 513 512 303  
Oct 823 832 476  

There were few surprises to me when I look at the table:
July, October 2007 and 2008 were extremely close. We had a very consistent usage pattern. However, in 2009 the usage has decreased substantially. In fact in 2009 we have used less electricity throughout the year.
I can explain them some of the decrease in the usage. It is because of our vacation trips that reduced the consumption. Especially in December we went for few weeks of overseas trip. However, I am not clear at this stage the reasons behind the fall in usage. This needs further analysis.
Setting baseline:
Considering these facts, we can consider July and October data for the purpose of “baseline”. This baseline is a reference point for the goal we defined.

July baseline based on 3 year average is: $442
October baseline based on 3 year average is: $710

If I take 30% reduction of this figures, I get the number similar to 2009 consumption. The target (goal) is to spend $310 and $497 which are comparable with 2009 data. In other words we are not reducing the electricity consumption compared to 2009.
Instead, if I take only 2009 data as the baseline, my target should be $212 and $333.
Realistic goals:
Frankly, I do not know why our power consumption was less in 2009. If I can sustain that level of consumption I will be happy. My decision is to take the 3 year average as the baseline. In the coming weeks, we will do some analysis of the reasons behind our reduced consumption last year.
We also borrowed a kit from our Council library to monitor power consumption. I will share my experience in the future blogs. Stay tuned.


About Murali Ramakrishnan

Murali is the Managing Director of the boutique consulting firm "Process-Symphony". Process-Symphony specializes in IT enabled business process orchestration. http://www.process-symphony.com.au http://www.kloudax.net.au


One thought on “Measure – set a baseline

  1. To help explain why your 2009 bills dropped dramatically, you may have changed tariff or retailer. Something must have changed to cause it. You may have fixed a faulty meter or changed to off-peak hot water or got rid of a swimming pool. Keep in mind that the quarterly bill reflects the usage from the 3 months before it. So the July bill is the autumn/winter usage and the December bill is the winter/spring usage. You should complete the stats for 2010, I am interested to see how you go with the project.

    Posted by Anita Steinberg | March 18, 2011, 11:00 am

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