As we all know, having accurate and timely data is critical to our success. In our industry, the degree day system is commonly used to forecast when customers are due for a delivery. Many of you may own a degree day meter because it provides you with the most accurate readings for your geographic location. But did you know these meters can sometimes fail? And unfortunately, when they do, it isn’t always that they stop working completely. Sometimes, they actually provide inaccurate data and it may be days or even weeks before you notice a problem!
Failing Degree Day meters, or meters that may need a battery replaced, have been known to give slightly warmer or colder readings for long periods of time prior to failing all together. If the readings are consistently inaccurate, off by the same amount every day, then Ignite will slowly adjust your K Factors to compensate. This compensation will allow you to operate for as long as the meter is functioning in this manner; however once you purchase a new meter that is giving you accurate information, your new K Factors will no longer be correct, causing run outs or short deliveries.
We recommend periodically checking the accuracy of your meters. There are a number of great websites to reference in order to compare your meter reading to the web. The following are two suggestions. The National Weather Service has one of the largest libraries of historical data but it is very general and may not have exactly the area you serve. BizEE is a simple site that provides town/zip code specific data it accumulates from WeatherUnderground and it allows you download the daily readings in an easy to use ‘.csv’ file that can be opened in Excel.
The best way to compare your meter readings would be to look back to 7/1 and compare your total degree days from 7/1 – present to the total DDays from 7/1 – present from the National Weather Service’s website. If you cannot easily get your DDay numbers from 7/1, then we suggest comparing your DDay totals for a month at a time. For example, compare the total DDays accumulated in January from your DDay Meter and from a DDay website. If you find that your DDay Meter totals are off by 100 or more DDays, this would signify an issue with your DDay meter.
When installing your meter’s sensor, be very conscious of its location. Follow the instructions for proper care and placement. Its surroundings can falsify the readings greatly. If it is a wireless system, ensure you change the batteries every 5-6 months; a few dollars in batteries can save you several automatic customers!
If you find your meter is no longer accurate we can help correct your DDay table. If you are located in the same area as another of our clients and they are willing to allow us to use their DDay data, we can copy their information onto your database, and then reanalyze your K Factors. If you’re in a remote location, we can use the data from one of the aforementioned sites.
Whether your meter completely fails or is just inaccurate for a period of time, Blue Cow Software is here to get you back on track with the best forecasting possible. We are always a click or a call away.