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No free lunch.

Post in 'The Green Room' started by jackatc1, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. jackatc1

    jackatc1 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
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    Loc:
    Port Crane ny

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  2. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
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    661
  3. Where2

    Where2 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
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    150
    Loc:
    South Florida
    I don't know about the rest of the world, but the answer to the question: "How much should a customer be charged to be connected to the grid, if they never turn their lights on" is presently being accounted for where I live. It is listed on my electric bill as $7.24 "Customer Charge".

    Having electric service and a meter costs me, and every other residential customer they have $7.24 every month through my power utility, if I use NO power. (my utility has 4.4 million customers)

    When I bought my house, I did not sign an oath to the power company to use 1,200 kWh/month from now until eternity. I also did not sign an oath that said I would never replace any inefficient electrical appliance with a more efficient appliance.

    The power companies need to recognize that the most progressive citizens among us are paying the design, build, and permitting expenses for the next generation of power plant. I have no desire to have a NG, Clean-Coal, or Nuke plant in my backyard. My utility has been struggling with opposition from neighboring land owners about where to place the next 3,8000 megawatt NG/diesel generation facility they need to build to satisfy increasing demand from continual urban sprawl. They tried to install 4 wind turbines adjacent to one of their nuclear facilities and condo owners 1/4 mile away complained so loudly they dropped the idea. Nobody wants to live near the next power plant. Meanwhile, there is a PV system on my roof generating 53% of what my home used last month, and my neighbors have no issue with it.

    Keep pushing, and off-grid will look even more enticing.
    firebroad likes this.
  4. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,845
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    For years we've been hearing how the grid is old and in need of serious repair... that power companies may not be able to take care of the demand.

    It seems to me decentralizing production only helps the situation by taking the strain off of the plants. It also provides power when it is truly needed to run businesses and air conditioners. It sounds like the industry needs to get it's facts straight.

    Matt
  5. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    During the winter I throw the main breaker at the family cabin. They continue to send me a bill for $17 every month.

    Matt
  6. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,566
    Loc:
    WI, Milw
    between gas and Electric minimum $30 bucks a month in add on charges, without using any.
  7. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,845
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    My associated fees add up to more than the cost of the energy I use.
  8. sesmith

    sesmith Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Messages:
    188
    Loc:
    Central NY
    That article really doesn't surprise me as more and more people add solar panels. Where I live, about half the electric bill is for delivery charges etc. and half for the power used. In the case of solar net metering here, the person only gets charged delivery charges for power they buy. On the surface that looks fair and just. but some of that non-charged for electricity is flowing into the grid, and coming back out of the grid when the sun isn't shining. Now don't beat me up too much here folks, but don't you think the electric company might want to get paid for the use of their electrical grid when you are supplying it AND getting supplied by it...certainly not at full rate, I would hope. Having a grid tied solar system is not the same thing as just not using any power. There is always the option of installing a battery storage system, but that would cost way more than paying a small fee for using the grid for your storage.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  9. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,845
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    I've often wondered if you couldn't have your cake and eat it to with grid tied/battery systems.

    A couple batteries could probably run your lights and alarm clocks and such. Pulling the breakers for those circuits out of your existing box and putting them into a separate box for circuits to be solar powered wouldn't be expensive. Leave the major appliances attached to the grid and run the rest off of the batteries and solar panels. That should cut the fees you have to pay to your utility way down. As you build your system you can move more circuits over.

    Matt
  10. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    2,711
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    SE PA
    Yeah, but the part of the grid being used is just to take the power to the neighboring house (offsetting their load), not miles across the countryside, through transformers etc. How much of the 'delivery' cost is the entire grid infrastructure, and how much is your meter and the pole in front of your house?? Or for that matter, salaries for the home office accountant?

    Ok, thought for a minute. suppose I make 5000 kwh and push it into the local grid, and then later buy 5000 kWh. I am pulling 5000 kWh out of the entire grid (and not paying for delivery or generation), but when I push 5000 kWh into the grid, I am saving the supplier from delivering 5000 kWh to my neighbor (and generation), so between me and the grid operator, I am even, except for 'wear and tear' on my local meter and the wire to my neighbors house. And time of use generation, but that usually favors the generator, peak is during the daytime.

    I think the article is BS
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  11. Where2

    Where2 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    Messages:
    150
    Loc:
    South Florida
    My utility is already collecting a "Customer Charge" fee described as "A fixed amount to cover the administrative costs to maintain your account even if no electricity is used". That should cover the home office accountant's salary, and the helicopter that flies the CEO to the office every morning. (Yes, the CEO is flown in by helicopter every morning).

    Depends on what the definition of "Small fee" is. $22 isn't a "Small fee" in my mind, nor is it justifiable. If you tacked 100% of the transmission costs of the 282kWh I traded with the POCO last month onto my electric bill, it would only total $16, and I could lower that # if I time shifted my water heating to 100% daylight hours. I could also increase my water heating efficiency by installing a HPWH and using the scavenged cool air to offset a portion of my central A/C usage during the day.

    As Woodgeek points out, my neighbors who receive my excess grid-tied energy pay 100% of the cost of transmission fees to their house for power that comes from one or two houses away. My transmission cost on my traded power should at most be a small fraction of the normal $0.06/kWh transmission charge, and obviously not $22/mo.
  12. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    2,711
    Loc:
    SE PA
    Nice where2. I hadn't thought about it from the neighbors POV. The neighbors are paying the utility a **delivery charge** on the kWh that are coming from your array nextdoor!

    I am generally a fan of utilities, and utility scale generation, and think they provide a great product at a great price.

    But the article is BS.
  13. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,575
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    I've installed an off-grid system at a remote sporting camp. There is no way that will ever be cheaper than being grid-tied, even at our $0 .147/kWh. For the small amount of electricity they use, the cost of the inverter, and all of the equipment involved, I can pay $35/month for a long time, and not worry if I need to run my table saw for more than a few 2x's, or how many times I've flushed the toilet today.

    Our utility charges $8 per month as a flat fee, if you use no power or $8 dollars worth. You basically pay for $8 worth of power weather you use it or not, there is no flat fee/month. To be honest I think that is a pretty fair deal.

    TS
  14. Where2

    Where2 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    Messages:
    150
    Loc:
    South Florida
    BM: in the case of a remote camp, there may have been tens of thousands of dollars involved in bringing the grid's wires to the camp, and serious challenges if those wires had to cross paper company land to get there. I've heard some second hand rough estimates of the cost to bring "the grid" to some remote properties in Maine, and off-grid becomes much more viable without the rural electrification subsidies that brought the grid to the remote farms of yesteryear in the last century. $8/mo, I wouldn't sweat either. $5k-$10k to pull in a grid connection + $8/mo, and the low price of the remote camp property just became more expensive. There's also an aesthetic value to not having to look at wires running through a beautiful piece of property. In South Florida, people are attracted to communities where all the utilities are underground, out of sight.
  15. burnham

    burnham Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Messages:
    131
    Loc:
    central massachusetts
    Gas, water, or electric. If you have these utilities available at your house it costs money to keep the lines live. You can't count on solar or wind power 100% of the time, you can't build a system around it.
  16. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    2,491
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio
    You guys have cheap fees. It cost me $32 a month for distribution fees.
  17. Where2

    Where2 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    Messages:
    150
    Loc:
    South Florida
    You should have been in South Florida in 2004 after three substantial hurricanes came through the state. Many of the wooden utility poles, whose maintenance had been neglected, snapped off at ground level bringing the wires down, especially in the older neighborhoods. Rather than recognize the lack of routine maintenance clearly boosted stock holder profits for many years preceding the storms, the public watchdog allowed the POCO to tack on 12 years of "hurricane cost recovery fees" to every utility customer's monthly bill. The POCO issued AAA rated bonds to finish paying their sub-contractors and refill their storm recovery budgets. Those bonds are paying 5.23%. Over the life of the bonds, there appears to be about $590M in interest charged to the customers...

    Here's the complete rundown on how my utility bill breaks down for comparison. In my $46 electric bill last month (481kWh used): $7.24 was base billing charge, $12.66 was fuel charge, $27.94 was non-fuel (distribution) charge, then there was $6.87 in taxes, $0.51 storm recovery surcharge and my -$8.48 (credit) for allowing the POCO to disconnect my A/C for any 4 hour block of time they want in a 24 hour period...

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