Trove Tariff Builder | Quick Guide
The Tariff Builder extension will take you through the entire process of creating and applying an electric utility rate tariff. You can:
- Import utility tariff source data from Rate Acuity Database.
- Customize tariff charges to match your specific utility account and bills.
- Automatically migrate tariff details into a SkySpark Tariff Engine model
- Schedules created for seasonal, weekly, and daily time-of-use charges.
- Charge records created for each kWh, kW, %, and flat charge selected.
- Generate a utility bill history to use with the new tariff.
- Tune the newly created tariff to capture minor details in the Notes items.
The following sections provide a brief description of each step in the process as you prepare to create your first tariff model with Tariff Builder.
If you're a visual learner, check out our full set of training videos about using the app.
STEP 1 - Tariff Selection
Tariff Builder integrates with the RateAcuity™ Database product to obtain detailed and up-to-date details for 12,000+ unique tariff schedules from over 1,800 different utility companies. All of these tariffs are available for selection within this Tariff Builder App. Follow these steps to easily navigate to your desired tariff.
- Filter Utilities: Selecting a utility will allow you to see all the tariffs in the database for that utility. You can filter the list of utilities several ways:
- State: Use the State drop-down to show all the utilities in a certain state. By default, this uses the
geoState value for the 1st Site on your project.
- Zip Code: Use the Zip Code input to filter by a 5-digit zip code.
- All Utilities: Select "ALL" from the State drop-down to view all utilities in the database.
- Select Utility: Select the desired utility row.
- Press the Select Utility button to view all the tariff schedules for that utility.
- Click Ok in the confirmation dialog and your page will refresh with the newly selected utility tariff details.
- Select Tariff: Carefully review all the tariff schedules presented in the table to locate the applicable tariff for your project.
- Select the desired tariff row and press the Select Tariff button.
- WARNING: Once a specific tariff is selected in this step, 1 unit of license capacity will be permanently tied to that tariff. The only way to select a different tariff after this step is to commit additional tariff license capacity.
- Once confirming the correct tariff is selected, press Commit License to load all tariff details.
- TIP: Use the info button to the left of any table row to view more details for that row.
STEP 2 - Tariff Customization
When a tariff is imported from the RateAcuity™ Database, it is sorted by charge type and presented on the Tariff Details view. Within this view, these charges can be customized to match the specific billing account to be modeled.
- Select Source Tariff: By default, the view will populate with details for the most recently imported tariff from the Tariff Select view. You can change this selection using the Select drop-down on the Consumption Charges subview.
- Customize Charges: All the tariff details are grouped by charge type and displayed within five (5) different subviews. Four (4) of these subviews provide action buttons to customize the charges contained in the table. They are:
- Enable: Enable the selected charge or charges. Enabled charges have the "on" marker tag.
- Disable: Disable the selected charge or charges.
- Edit: Add or modify additional charge details for the selected charge. The specific tags available to edit will vary based on the charge type.
- TIP: In the Edit dialog window, hover over any tag name to view the help doc for that specific tag.
- Review Notes: For many tariffs, important details about how to apply charges are included as simple notes. Carefully review all the notes for the tariff you are configuring to see if you need to make additional changes to the tariff charges. Information about demand ratchets or contract minimums are often contained within notes.
- Build Tariff Model: Once all charges have been updated as needed, use the Build Tariff Model action on the Consumption Charges subview to translate these charge details into a new tariff model. There will be a pop-up input dialog where you can enter a unique name for the new tariff model. If you leave this blank, it will be built with the generic tariff name.
- TIP: You can build multiple tariff models with different detail configurations from a single imported tariff. This is helpful when you have multiple buildings on a site which use the same rate tariff but have different configurations.
STEP 3 - Tariff Tuning
After configured tariff details have been built into a tariff model, additional tuning may be required. This is done on the Tariff Tuning view. Also, this view where percentage-based charges are configured with the proper charge references. (
- Select Tariff Model: Use the Select drop-down to choose which tariff model to view and tune.
- Edit: To make changes to the selected tariff(s), use the Edit action button. This will bring up an edit dialog to modify any of the tags on this charge.
- WARNING: Changes to the tags on built tariff charges can result in invalid configurations which will cause the tariff engine to error. Use caution when making changes via this dialog.
- View Percent Charges: On the right side of the view you can see all of the percentage charges for the selected tariff model. By selecting any of the charges in the table and using the Select Percentage Charge action, you can view any existing charge references on that charge. These references determine which other charges in the tariff model the selected percentage charge is applied to in cost calculations.
- Create Percentage Charge References: After selecting a specific percentage charge with the action button, you can select any number of charges on the left side table to assign to that charge. With the desired charges selected, use the Assign to Selected Percent Charge action to create
chargeRefs for those charges.
- WARNING: When creating references to percent charges, be careful not to create circular references where a given charge references itself or where two charges reference each other.
STEP 4 - Bill History Creation
A tariff bill history is how a specific tariff model is assigned to meter data in order to calculate costs. The bill history defines the start date of each billing period. This is also often referred to as the "meter read date". New bill histories can be easily generated, edited, and assigned from the Tariff Bills view.
- Generate New History: By selecting the tariff model you would like to make a history for, you will be have a form that allows you to adjust the details of that history. Once you enter all the desired inputs into the form, you can use the Generate History action to create the new history. You will receive a confirmation that shows the details of the history that was created.
- TIP: View the help for any of the form inputs by hovering over the tag name.
- Edit Existing Histories: In the top right subview, you can select any existing tariff bill histories to view and modify it. This is where you can easily add new bills and change which tariff a bill period uses.
- TIP: The Tariff Date Check column provides a helpful check of the effective date of a tariff.
STEP 5 - Tariff Graphs
It is important to be able to visualize how and when the charges in a tariff are applied. This makes it easier to identify any outliers or errors in the tariff model and it can also provide a valuable visualization for facility stakeholders to develop their operational strategies for cost savings. This visualization is provided with the Tariff Graphs view.
- Select Tariff Model: Simply select the tariff model you'd like to visualize to populate the graphs for that tariff. By default, this will generate 24-hour unit cost graphs for every combination of season, day type (weekday or weekend), and charge type (consumption or demand).
- Customize Graphs: Using the drop-down options at the top of the view, you can adjust which combination of graphs are displayed. These options include:
- Charge Type: Choose to view both consumption (kWh) and demand (kW) charges at the same time or just one at a time.
- Day Type: Choose to view weekdays and weekend periods at the same time or just one at a time. Some tariffs do not have any variation between day types and so the graphs for weekdays and weekends will be the same.
- Chart Grouping: Tariffs that have seasonal or day schedules consist of both charges which vary by that schedule (scheduled) and charges which are constant (unscheduled). Sometimes it can be convenient to view these two types of charges on separate graphs for greater clarity. You can toggle this view mode on and off with this drop down.
- TIP: The graphs on the Tariff Graphs view are based solely on the tariff model and they do not use any meter data. They only provide unit cost information from the tariff. As a result, a tariff can be viewed in the Tariff Graphs view immediately after it has been created using the Build Tariff Model action on the Tariff Details view. Doing so can help inform adjustments that may need to be made during the tariff tuning process. Changes made to a tariff model will be immediately reflected in the Tariff Graphs view so you can quickly visualize the impact of changes. Note that flat charges and percentage-based charges are not included on the Tariff Graphs view.
Special thanks to Steve Eynon of Fantom Factory for his assistance in the development of this extension and for providing the initial suggestion for the project at SkyPosium 2018.
Special thanks also to Stephanie Fetchen of KFR Services for working to bring the RateACuity tariff database to the SkySpark community and for supporting its integration into Tariff Builder.
Last but not least, thanks to the SkyFoundry team for their development of the Tariff Engine within SkySpark to make modeling of complex tariff structures possible in the first place.