Accurate meter readings: a managing director’s view

More from the museum of energy management…

books_lyleThe UK’s first energy manager was Oliver Lyle, managing director of the eponymous sugar refinery in London. He was successful not only because he was in a position of influence but also because he was a very capable engineer. Fuel efficiency was mission critical to him both during the war (because of rationing) and afterwards when the effect of rationing was compounded by economic growth.

Lyle’s book The Efficient Use of Steam, published by the Ministry of Fuel and Power in 1947, remains a technical classic and is written in a most engaging style.  In one of my favourite passages he talks about my pet subject, the analysis of fuel consumption. He notes that energy performance seemed to be systematically better in weeks when the factory had been bombed. He remarks that common sense suggests that the opposite would seem more likely; “I can only conclude”, he writes, “that people were too busy clearing up the mess to take proper charts and meter readings”.