David Francis is the Energy Specialist for the Nelson Marlborough DHB
Nelson Marlborough District Health Board (DHB) installed powerful new generators at Nelson Hospital in 2009 – and part of the business case was the potential for revenue generation. David Francis, Energy Specialist for the Nelson Marlborough DHB, said that any measures to generate additional revenue flow ultimately benefits patients.
"The Transpower Demand Response programme was a real opportunity to use the generators to create income," he said.
Mr Francis said that the key to the DHB's success in the programme was excellent preparation.
"We needed to understand where we fitted into the big scheme, what we could offer using our generators, quantify what power was available and price it appropriately and develop very robust internal workflows and processes.
"This was something very different, particularly for a hospital and, understandably, there were perceptions of risk. But we have to run the generators regularly to ensure the batteries are charged and diesel is turned over, so why not make money out of it?"
The DHB signed up to the programme, taking part in 13 of the 20 events completed during the course of the 2014 programme and were paid approximately $60,000 for participating. The additional fuel costs were around $4,500.
Confidence in emergencies
“It went without a hitch,” said Mr Francis. “Our electrical team were very supportive of the scheme, which was critical to its success. Transpower would notify me via the automated system, I would alert our electricians and they would run the generators for the agreed time.
"As well as the financial benefits to the DHB, our team is now more experienced in working with our generators and confident of the machinery performing well in an emergency. We're also exploring further opportunities, including taking part in the next Transpower Demand Response programme."
Quintin Tahau, Demand Response Manager for Transpower New Zealand, said: "The DHB was a star performer. They have great energy awareness and are passionate about energy efficiency and driving costs down. We commend Nelson Marlborough who saw this as an opportunity and it resulted in a win-win situation for both the DHB and the National Grid."