EPMS: What is an electrical power monitoring system?

An EPMS, or electrical power monitoring system, measures energy usage and provides insight into the health and stability of a facility's electrical network. Learn more.

EPMS: What is an electrical power monitoring system?

EPMS: What is an Electrical Power Monitoring System?

An EPMS, or electrical power monitoring system, measures energy usage and provides insight into the health and stability of an electrical network. This is essential in high energy consumption industries where outages result in costly downtime. An EPMS helps companies avoid these situations by providing information about electrical health issues before they can completely shut down operations or significantly damage equipment. Electrical power monitoring systems equipped to analyze power quality can also enable businesses to make more efficient use of the energy at their disposal — an advantage for both output and environmental commitments.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the advantages of EPMS to help you determine your next step in energy management.

Who needs an EPMS?

While power monitoring is beneficial to anyone using electric power — including residential users — we typically use the term EPMS to refer to the larger scale management systems required by large operations that consume extensive amounts of power. This can include virtually any business with consumption concerns, but we typically see a special need for EPMS in manufacturing and data centers.


The largest power consumers in the United States are manufacturing facilities, especially those that deal in the production of chemicals, petroleum, coal products and paper. Regardless of industry subset, however, all manufacturing facilities can benefit from energy management systems. Mismanagement of electrical resources can damage the machinery and equipment that enable operations or even result in shutdowns that have major ripple effects down supply chains. The sheer amount of power required for manufacturing, coupled with these consequences, makes careful management essential.

Data centers

Data centers consume enormous amounts of power — anywhere from 10 to 50 times more than a commercial office building. Electrical power completely drives data center functioning, and with so much of the United States now relying on information technology, outages have the potential to stall operations at other facilities beyond the primary data center. Those managing data center facilities must contend with both the immediate costs associated with a halt in operations and the longer term effects outages can have on business relationships and reputation. An EPMS is an invaluable tool to avoid these shutdowns and keep data flowing as efficiently as possible.

How an EPMS benefits business

At its core, an EPMS offers insight. Any facility manager — electrical expert or not — can use this information to improve operations. Here are a few of the top benefits EPMS provides:

Lower utility costs

If you have better awareness of where you’re consuming electric power, you can determine where you can reduce your energy use. Some operations might necessitate large power consumption, but you’ll likely discover others that are draining much more than they need to. In fact, the EPA has estimated that most companies waste about 30% of their consumed energy.

A Class A device that delivers utility- and revenue-grade data allows you to compare actual consumption to your electric bills, making bill errors clear. If you can pinpoint exactly where that waste is, you can determine the right fix: cutting usage, replacing equipment for more efficient models and so on.

Safer conditions

Understanding the health of your grid is key to avoiding electrical hazards for your equipment and employees. Both power surges and power outages, along with smaller voltage dips and interruptions, can present dangers. An EPMS can identify these issues as they occur and help you take action to stop further damage, but it can also help prevent failures preemptively by showing you the equipment that needs to be replaced soon.

Better output

Power quality analysis is a critical component of a good EPMS. Simply tracking usage is somewhat like putting quantity before quality. If you want to truly optimize operations, you need to get the best performance out of your equipment. Understanding exactly where there are quality issues is the first step to ensuring every mechanism in your facility is working to its full potential.

Less downtime

Power shutdowns halt operations, and the resulting downtime is costly. Using an EPMS helps reduce these incidents, keeping your facility functioning longer and more profitably.

Easier energy efficiency

With increasing regulations, consumer expectations and environmental consequences pushing energy efficiency, many companies have sustainability targets to hit. Making progress towards these goals is much easier with the insights an EPMS can provide. In fact, by taking advantage of the other EPMS benefits we’ve already laid out, you’ll be well on your way to hitting your efficiency goals already.

How EPMS differs from other management systems

If you’re researching energy management tools, you may have seen other solutions like BMS and SCADA surface as alternatives to an EPMS. Before committing to any one solution, make sure you know the distinctions between each system.


A BMS is a building management system, and while useful for automating certain processes and making adjustments to HVAC and lighting systems easy, the capabilities of a BMS are limited when compared to an EPMS.

Building management systems can provide only basic energy data and can’t offer the advanced insights into grid health, usage and quality that drive EPMS benefits.

This is not to say that EPMS and BMS are exclusive solutions. In fact, many facilities are already equipped with a BMS and choose to expand on its capabilities by integrating with a new EPMS. Issues arise only when facilities attempt to rely on a BMS to avoid using an EPMS.

You won’t get the benefits of true energy management with just a BMS. A typical solution is simply not designed to perform the same role as an EPMS, but you may find extra ease with building management by combining the two options together.


A supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system is essentially a broader version of EPMS. In other words, EPMS falls under the SCADA umbrella, but is specifically engineered for electrical management. The two systems may also differ on hosting method (cloud-based or not), simplicity of use (where EPMS has a leg up), and the actual hardware needed.

Some broader SCADA solutions naturally share functionality with EPMS, but much like we saw with BMS, there are some functions that are exclusive to true electrical power management systems. With that said, depending on how advanced your operations and need for power analysis are, SCADA might be sufficient. We recommend researching both to judge which is a better fit for your needs.

Selecting the Right EPMS

As with many business solutions, there are a variety of EPMS options to choose from. Even within a single provider’s offerings, you might see distinct types or tiers of EPMS. While you’ll want to look into each, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind when adding solutions to your shortlist of options:

  • Is the solution built to manage your specific needs? If you’re working in a high-energy consumption industry like data center management or manufacturing, make sure your choice of EPMS is built to analyze and report data on all the complexities of your electrical grid.
  • Is the system user-friendly? In most cases, the facility managers and maintenance teams who need to access and use the EPMS are not professional electricians. Your EPMS should be intuitive and the information it provides should be easy to interpret. Accessibility should be a top priority.
  • How will the system integrate with your existing architecture? Choose a system that integrates with your existing wired or wireless communication configuration. Ensure all systems share a common programming language, such as PROFIBUS, BACnet or Modbus.

Janitza’s own EPMS, GridVis®, is an all-in-one platform that includes energy management, power quality analysis, and residual current monitoring so you have all the details you need to keep your facility running at peak performance. Our software can integrate either with Janitza’s line of hardware monitoring equipment or with your existing tools and comes in four distinct versions so you can choose the best fit for your needs. Want to put GridVis® to the test? Create a free Janitza ID to explore our GridVis demo.

Get Started with an EPMS

Ultimately, the best EPMS for you is the one that best addresses your needs. These vary greatly from facility to facility and may depend on your existing energy management infrastructure, so we recommend a custom consultation to address your specific situation. We can help connect you with a professional to walk through what you need — just let us know how to get in touch.