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The economics of a pellet stove VS electric heat.......

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by mjstef, Oct 4, 2009.

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  1. mjstef

    mjstef New Member

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    It seems in my situation i should just shut my pellet stove off this winter. I used this calculator, http://www.stcroixheat.com/fuel.php and found at my electric rate i am throwing money up the chimney with the pellet stove. My electric rate all in, total bill divided by KWH used comes to .067716 a KWH. The cheapest deal on pellets i can find is $245 a ton. Is this calculator accurate???

    FWIW for those who cannot believe my rate, check here.........

    http://www.flatheadelectric.com/rates/rates.html

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  2. rowerwet

    rowerwet Minister of Fire

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    co ops and other set ups like them can be cheaper, my sister lives in lake placid, NY, there is a small hydro dam on the river in town (you can see it as you cross the river if you are heading toward the Olympic skating rink if you come in from Keene, NY past the cascade lakes, a beautiful drive!, not the river by the ski jumps, the next one) the town has a private electric co. because of that and they buy the power at wholesale rates. It is also sold at wicked low rates due to this, and most people in town have electric everything as a result. My sister has electric hot water, stove, dryer, in spite of having a OWB for heat (her husband cuts wood for free) and with all that electric stuff she only pays about $15 a month and sometimes less, for a two family house. Of course the down side is that when the rates go up, or the dam isn't producing power, the price can jump to double or triple from month to month. Like the dead of winter when the river is frozen, and late summer when the rain is low.
  3. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    The calculator will get you close. But there are unseen variables. If your Oct-Nov weather is close. Try the Electric one month and the pellets the next. Compare the costs.

    Then there is the WARM factor. Which one feels warmer to you? If you feel warmer and pellets are just slightly more???

    But at least you have choices/options.

    jay
  4. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Not sure, but the calculator from the Pellet Fuels Institute says that you'd only save $ with electric if the pellets cost MORE than $270/ton.

    Check it yourself:

    www.pelletheat.org/3/residential/compareFuel.cfm
  5. mark d fellows

    mark d fellows New Member

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    Loc:
    Westmisnter, MD
    Pellet stove warm. 74 degrees.

    Heath pump cold 64. degrees.

    I choose warmth.
  6. Panhandler

    Panhandler Minister of Fire

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    WV Northern Panhandle
    I thought my electric was reasonable at 7.5 cents per KWH!! Dang!
  7. Former Farmer

    Former Farmer Feeling the Heat

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    Electric rates here in Northeast Wisconsin are over 12 cents per KWH. Anything is cheaper than electric here.
  8. Bkins

    Bkins Feeling the Heat

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    Our electric rate with all taxes and fees run .18 a killowat hour. Turn on a lightbulb and you end up with a $100 bill. They just got a 23% increase and it was all done behind closed doors without the rate payers knowing about it until it was decided on. It is outrageous along with our property taxes. Everyone says why don't you move, but it is not as easy as that in most cases.

    Bkins
  9. mjstef

    mjstef New Member

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    Sounds like my dads rate in Florida. Monopoly where he is. City owned utility at .185 a kwh.
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Jersey is out of control.....but we have high electric rates in much of the Northeast.....maybe about 16 cents a KWH here.
    That really is not too bad unless you use it for things you should not (like water heating or space heat).

    Electric heat is very warm - not a heat pump, but resistance electric heat.

    To answer the question, it is not economically beneficial to burn Pellets in comparison to electric heat at those rates. It is, at best, the same price on the fuel alone, and when you add the cost of parts, maintenance, labor for hauling pellets and all the other costs.....it is probably a loser.

    My suggestion would be to use the stove when you the look of a fire, etc.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    We are on a cooperative but still get tagged for fourteen and a half cents a KWH with delivery, taxes etc. rolled in.Twice a year they throw us a bone and refund a little bit of the "Capital Credits" which is just some of what they have overcharged us over the years.
  12. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    In the Northwest, our electrical power comes predominantly from hydroelectric sources. There's a lot of it. (In fact, the excess gets sold to California at rates much higher than we pay up here). Here in central Oregon, I currently enjoy a rate of $.0676/KW Apr-Oct, and $0.0652/KW Nov-Mar, plus a $9.75 monthly service fee. Very affordable electricity. That said, We live in an all-electric home, as there is no NG available in our area, so our DHW, cooking, and heating & etc. are electric. We don't have a heat pump or A/C, just a central electric furnace. Anything I can do to reduce our electric bills is a good thing...but I've never tried running a cost comparison analysis to see what would happen to my electric bill if I just quit burning wood. I'm not quite ready to quit burning wood just yet. I know the wintertime electric bills would increase substantially...but then, my wood related costs would drop to zero. Before we moved from Virginia, we owned this house and had tenants renting it (this was before a major remodel we did last year including all new windows and doors and gobs of insulation). Our tenants reported wintertime electric bills of up to $400.00/mo (two teenage daughters, dunno if they used the old Lopi much). I've never seen anything higher than about $180.00, and that was a rare spike. Most of the year it's well below $100.00. Rick
  13. mjstef

    mjstef New Member

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    Taxes??? What are they??? I don't see taxes on my bill.............................. :cheese:

    Attached Files:

  14. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    why is that, anyway? never understood that. I pay .13, and my understanding is that is "the cheapest around".

    well..not so sure. I have electric hot water, and it may seem pricey, but consider my own personal options: no boiler (fha heat), natural gas is unavailable, so that leaves propane....there is no chimney, so I'll be needing the power-vented model (or a separate power vent), and I can't install that myself (gas). Last water heater I replaced cost me $250 bucks, and I did it all myself. last time I noted the price on a power-vented propane heater, it was nearly 3 times that, plus how much do you suppose it would cost to have it installed? it would take many, many years to see any payback, if ever. (considering, the last electric water heater lasted 13 years).

    I think its kind of like the "should I/shouldn't I get a pellet stove?" questions. the answer is: "it depends".
  15. harleysporty1200

    harleysporty1200 Member

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    central, ma
    round up for saftey, what kind of bs is that! im sure your taxes are hiddin in there somewhere.
  16. mjstef

    mjstef New Member

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    http://www.flatheadelectric.com/roundup/roundup.html

    I waste more than it costs me in coffee at the gas station and they have done some worthwhile projects so i don't worry too much about it......
  17. mjstef

    mjstef New Member

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    As far as taxes we have no sales tax here and being it's a co-op i don't think there are regulatory taxes.
  18. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    A couple other factors to account for. If you just take your total bill and divide by KWh used, that may not be totally accurate. A large chunk of my bill is 'customer fee' and other charges which don't change w/ the amount of electricity I use. Even if I never used a watt of power, I'd still pay ~$20 per month in fees. Consequently, total bill / KWh has these fees in it so additional KW's are a little cheaper since I've already paid the fees. Example:

    (electricity is actually $0.08/KWh)

    $20 customer fee + 1000KWh @ $0.08 = $20 fee + $80 electricity = $100 total bill

    If you calculate $100 bill / 1000KWh = $0.10/KWh so you're off by a few cents / KWh.

    Secondly, if your 'electric' heat is a heat pump, you need to consider the coefficient of performance. Since you're just moving heat from outdoors to in, you can actually move more btu's of heat than the pump consumed. Conventional electric resistance heaters have a COP of 1.0. meaning it takes one watt of electricity to deliver the heat equivalent of one watt. Air-source heat pumps generally have COPs of 2-to-4, meaning they deliver 2-to-4 times more energy than they consume. Water and ground-source heat pumps normally have even higher COPs of 3-to-5. So for a heat pump, you would be entering efficiency of 200-500%. It would be pretty hard for any other fuel to beat that considering most anything else would top out in the 80-90% efficiency range.
  19. mjstef

    mjstef New Member

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    I run one of these so i am doing pretty good. In the dead of winter the owner told me his electric bill for a total electric house with 2 kids was $150 and he burned the pellet stove from 5-10 pm nightly to warm up the walkout basement where the kids slept. The house is 3640 sq ft built in 1994.

    http://www.waterfurnace.com/
  20. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    In Virginia there is a consumption tax on electricity of all things. Like there is a pile of it that the state maintains and you are using it up.
  21. swalz

    swalz Feeling the Heat

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    Newark, DE
    Wish my electric was cheap, my bill was $156 for around 960KW's used.
  22. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    That`s about $.16 per KWHR (delivered)

    Here in Western Ma it`s $.02 more per KWHR ($.18 KWHR delivered). Electric heat is simply out of the question. From what I can gather heat pumps are probably not even worth considering.
  23. Bkins

    Bkins Feeling the Heat

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    Jersey Shore
    On my bill are 3 line charges labeled as generatioin charges. Upon questioning these charges I find out that the electric utility has sold portions of the electric lines, to other companys, and they each are now allowed to charge for the electric going across them. The main electric company still maintains the line for a fee to the other companys. You wonder where these people grew up and how they live with themselves when this type of stuff is done. No sense of right and wrong.

    I guess they never earned the meaning of morals.

    Bkins
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