High frequency telemetry

As featured in Gasworld: Aug 2021

High frequency telemetry solutions like Pulsa significantly decrease the overall cost for gas distribution and ensure better service for end users of gas. “I am out of gas,” are the last words that any gas distributor or end user wants to hear. Stockouts lead to a significant financial burden for end customers, and gas distributors have instituted costly processes to avoid hearing those words. Those processes, which consist of check stops, partial fills, backup cylinders, and administrative overhead have driven the cost of gas distribution up for both users and distributors of gas without proper visibility of remote assets. High frequency telemetry alleviates these costs. High frequency telemetry can be defined as remote telemetry, like Pulsa, which provides hundreds of readings a day. This technology drives down the cost of gas management across all assets, not just bulk, to ensure a lower cost of distribution.

No more check stops or ‘topping off’

With high frequency telemetry, distributors can prioritize visiting customers who will run out. No more ‘topping off’ a tank with 20% or checking on levels - routes can be dynamically updated based on real time information, including leaks or other unexpected events. Typical experience from distributors is that they are able to reduce stops by 30-60% after deploying telemetry to their customers. “We have reduced our stops significantly since installing Pulsa,,” according to David McCarthy, VP- CFO at MacCarb. “We’ve had many customers that we used to visit 3 or 4 times every 3 months that now, with Pulsa, we’ve only visited once over the same time period. With real time level visibility, we are able to optimize our truck operations, but also react immediately if the customer is in danger of running out due to an unexpected event. It makes a big difference.”

Proactive customer service

One of the primary culprits of stockouts are leaks and installation issues. High frequency telemetry enables customers and distributors to catch rapid drops in levels and identify consumption spikes. Distributors and customers have a log of their consumption to identify issues and immediately rectify them. “Having close to real time readings in invaluable for batch use customers,” stated Howard Briggs, Cryogenic Manager at Norco. “This service takes away what is sometimes a confrontational issue, calling the customer regularly to ask for a reading to keep them from running out, or relying on one or two daily updates.

The high frequency readings allow us to confidently run the tanks down to a lower level, allowing for less deliveries, increased payloads when we do deliver, reducing our cost to serve.”

More efficient and reliable gas distribution at a lower cost

The most common rebuke against high frequency telemetry from distributors and customers is adding costs to gas distribution. That is a myth which is quickly disproven on most assets - both customers and distributors reduce costs by the deployment of these systems from a significant reduction in deliveries. Distributor visit fees rarely cover distribution costs, which include trucks, drivers, and fuel. “Both WestAir and our customers save money by deploying Pulsa sensors,” according to Andy Castiglione, General Manager at WestAir. “Our customers save money by receiving less deliveries and we save on distribution expenses. Utilizing Pulsa helps us to provide the best level of service possible to our customers.” While streamlining end customer distribution pays for the cost of high frequency telemetry itself, proactively catching problems with consumption alerts and historical diagnosis ensures fewer costly support calls for distributors and customers. High frequency telemetry can reduce visits by roughly half, while enabling improved service for both distributors and customers.