Meter Drift is a contributing source of variance in fueling systems that happens when components within the meter wear out overtime. As they wear the meters usually pump a slightly higher volume, frequently giving fuel away and eating into a fuel sites profits. If, instead, the meter drift results in less fuel being dispensed it could be exposing the gas station to fines for violating weights and measures standards.
A large retail gas station network of over 200 sites was trying to get a handle on their fuel variance. They wanted to track their wetstock assets as they flowed through each site’s fueling system and ensure that no fuel was being lost. While some sources of variance are easier to identify, meter drift is particularly difficult to pinpoint and often results in owners and operators considering it a cost of doing business.
Proactively checking for meter drift requires frequent calibration testing which is an expensive measure to take as a preemptive maintenance step. And, while many new meters may be better at maintaining calibration, upgrading a network is very expensive and does not provide on-going analysis to prove that the new meters are not drifting out of calibration. Meter drift is particularly frustrating for owners because the amount of fuel given away increases as site sales increase making it impossible to catch up.
This large fueling network decided to engage Insite360 Advanced Variance Analysis to better understand the fuel variance across their network and recommend steps to reduce it. Insite360 Advanced Variance Analysis is a cloud-based service that enhances the fuel management effectiveness of managers by providing 24/7 support and analysis of fuel site data, and sudden loss detection.
Setting up Insite360 Advanced Variance Analysis service includes mapping all fuel meters to understand current calibration status. Once this baseline is established advanced algorithms track and analyze each dispenser’s transactions to uncover drift. As soon as an out of calibration dispenser is identified the Insite360 Advanced Variance Analysis team of analysts receives an alarm and schedules a field service call to check the dispenser.
The Insite360 Advanced Variance Analysis team received an alarm regarding a dispenser at a location within the fuel network. The meter was showing around a 0.5-1% drift from its calibration. This meter was monitored further and the team decided a field check was required as the trend continued.
A service team was dispatched to the site and measured a 2% over dispense, the closest estimate possible given no more product would fit in the proving can. Based on the sales throughput, this over-dispense was causing roughly 50-65 gallons (200 - 250 liters) of gasoline to be given away for free each month, which represents $4500 (£3500) in annual sales. Because the meter drift was identified and serviced, fuel managers could address the issue and now have peace of mind knowing their dispensers are operating correctly.