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What REC said: was "lost electricity"

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by Steve IA, Jan 21, 2008.

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  1. Steve IA

    Steve IA Guest

    I'll try to cover this as clearly as possible, answering as many of the
    questions that where raised as I can. I spoke at length with 2 reps of
    the REC this morning. They were both sympathetic and helpful.

    1. They do not estimate. They don't even physically read anymore. Every
    27 hours or so each meter sends its progress back to the REC computer
    which records this information. At the end of the cycle this data is
    turned into a bill.
    2. The data from the individual meter reports is available to the
    customer in what is called a 'turtle' report. This shows meter reading
    and usage for each ~27 hour period. Turtle info:
    3. The REC said they were also surprised that the overall usage didn't
    go down more than it did with the outage and all. They could offer no
    explanation other than 'it was colder'. They didn't have the actual
    Heating Degree Days!! They said they had considered including it on the
    bills, but hadn't yet. I found the heating degree days at . Click on the map for your location then select
    climate/local from the menu on the left side of the screen.
    Locally Dec 07 had only 4% more HDD than average, but 31% more than 2006
    which was unusually warm. A comparison with last years bill could be

    4. As I had suspected for some time during this discussion, there was
    more than 1 thing going on, which clouded the issue:
    a) the colder than last years temperatures which would increase usage
    across all customers,despite the outage and (drum roll please)
    b) My 'turtle' report showed I had days of increased usage starting Nov
    23 and ending about Dec 23. Every day in this period was higher than my
    22kwh/day 6-year average and some were 2X that average (44,48,49)!!!
    Before 11/23 and after 12/23 and continuing until today, my usage has
    been normal average.
    Oct 25 - Nov 22. Normal usage: 13-22 kwh/day 408kwh/28days=14.6kwh/day
    Nov 23 - Dec 11. Extreme usage: 28-49 kwh/day 574/19 =30.1
    Dec 11 - Dec 17. No usage: power outage 0
    Dec 18 - Dec 23. Extreme usage: 28-44 kwh/day 163/6 = 27.2
    Dec 24 - Jan 21. Normal usage: 16-33 kwh/day 612/29 = 21.1

    For some reason, which I'll probably never find out, we used an unusual
    amount of electricity for nearly a month, interrupted, luckily, but the
    power outage. Whatever the draw, it went away and as far as I know it
    went on its own.

    I plan to monitor my meter closely if not daily for a while.

    Other answers:
    The REC said they had many neutral lines down yet and they were
    repairing them as the could, thus the 1 line vs. 2 line question.

    Thanks for all the support and kind helpful input.
    If I figure more out, I'll let you know.
    If you have more comments/questions, fire away


    "But every time I read the papers
    That old feeling comes on.
    We're waist deep in the Big Muddy
    And the big fool says to push on."

    -Pete Seeger
  2. Elmo

    Elmo Guest

    Steve IA said (on or about) 01/21/2008 17:34:
    Way Cool!

    I was a participant in a pilot program in which the [deregulated]
    electric company that I paid for my electrons put a demand-sensing
    inductive loop around the main feed cable as it entered the panel.
    The installed a power line networking gateway, a 4 port router (one
    port connected to the gateway), and a special thermostat which was
    also connected via the power line network and gateway to the Internet.

    Their plan was to offer a special rate to customers who agreed to
    allow the power company to shed load by raising the thermostat set
    point by 2 degrees. That way they could avoid having to buy so much
    expensive power during peak periods, pass a little of the savings on
    to the customer, and profit from the rest. As a bonus, I could
    manipulate my thermostat via the Internet and -- of more interest to
    me -- see a demand curve on my house which showed the periods of
    highest use and gave me a clue about what I could do to lower my usage
    independently. Of course they went out of business.
  3. Guest

    To add to what has been said, I would still be concerned about the
    mysterious days when power spiked. There is a 90% chance that it is
    explainable, but I'll relate what happened when we first moved into
    our 1960s house in Florida.

    The house had a 150 amp entrance. I didn't give a second thought
    about that, since it had obviously worked for over twenty years. It
    also had an seven year old heat pump, a pool pump, a sprinkler pump,
    lots of incandescent and halogen lighting, an electric dryer,
    dishwasher, and some other lesser loads.

    During the first summer, I noticed that our electric bill was a lot.
    I had no way of being sure why this was the case, so I began poking
    around. When I went outside near the meter, I could smell something
    hot, like hot electric wire insulation. I then felt the breakers,
    which felt a little warm but fine, then moved on to the meter, and
    discovered that the conduit leading from the meter box to the breakers
    was too hot to touch.

    I called in an electrician, and he was able to open things up. The
    aluminum wire between the meter and the breaker box had been heated to
    a point that it had begun to seriously corrode and add resistance of
    its own, and had _almost_ burned away enough insulation between the
    wires to create a direct short.

    What had happened? The age and type of the wiring was, of course, a
    factor, but the issue we had not considered was that during the summer
    we might run all of the major power users at the same time. The pool
    needed cleaning, it was hot in the house, the lawn was getting dry,
    and because we were sweating and drinking lots of water, the laundry
    and dishes were being done, all during the late afternoon. The
    _cumulative_ draw was enough to damage the connection to the aluminum
    wire and the added resistance was overheating both the connection and

    Had I not been sniffing around, we would have had an electrical fire
    at a spot where it would be impossible to shut off the current without
    either the fire or power department breaking into the transformer box,
    and we likely would have had severe damage to the house.

    Once the wire was replaced and connections repaired, our power usage
    went down by a significant amount.

    The moral of the story? Don't let those high power usage days go
  4. Steve IA

    Steve IA Guest

    Thanks for the thoughts. I don't plan to but now that it's gone, it will
    be hard to track down. I'll keep my nose to the ground.

  5. M Q

    M Q Guest

    Neon John wrote:

    Sounds cool. Please give me a link to these devices.
  6. Elmo

    Elmo Guest

  7. Steve IA

    Steve IA Guest

    If I would have known, I would said so. This wasn't an exercise in
    deception on my part.
    Well, I've learned to take Usenet stuff with many grains of salt. The
    catch-up loads of laundry theory you espoused early on (1/19 5:59pm)
    pretty much shot YOUR street cred. How DOES that work? 5 loads every 5th
    day uses more electricity than 1 load/day? It's still 5 loads in 5
    days. 5=5.

    I didn't suspect it at first, I was the victim of occam's razor and
    several things happening at once was not the simplest solution. After
    some discussion here my suspicions grew, but not until I saw the turtle
    report and the HDDs did I become convinced. That's what data has over
    opinion and speculation.
    Of course it did, I didn't use any electricity. So what? The storm
    *didn't* disrupt my normal activities *before* the storm,and only
    minimally afterward thanks to a gas generator and wood burning stove. In
    fact,the avg.kwh/day *after* the storm was 10% LESS than before the
    storm. So much for the catch-up theory. The usage before the storm was
    150% of average. (see recap above)

    Your last chance, John and I'll type slowly, so please try to keep up.
    *My* unusual usage started days before the storm, and continued days
    after the restoration of power. One can draw a line on the turtle report
    the day it starts and the day it stops.
    Can you say "coincidence"?
    Not to 'Joe consumer'; not at this REC.
    On 1/19, at 4:50 pm Neon John said:
    "One of the most useful things you can do is to read your meter every
    day at the same time for some period and look for patterns. "

    But feel free to change your mind.
    Your input is stimulating if not always correct or consistent.


    Pronunciation: 'velt-"shmerts
    Function: noun

    : mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state
    of the world with an ideal state
  8. nick hull

    nick hull Guest

    Someone left a window cracked open and closed it when the power failed?

    Free men own guns - www(dot)geocities(dot)com/CapitolHill/5357/
  9. bud--

    bud-- Guest

    Induction motors want to run at a constant speed. If the voltage goes
    down the current goes up. The speed may drop slightly. If the required
    HP goes down rapidly with RPM, like a fan, current could go up or down.
    Even if the RPM drop lowered the current, some equipment like a
    refrigerator, heat pump or water pump would have to run longer. Series
    resistance would usually increase total power consumed by an induction
  10. bud--

    bud-- Guest

    Transformers are filled with oil for aluminum, or copper, conductors to
    transfer heat to the case, then to the air. High current through
    conductors creates a lot of I squared R heat. With conductors tightly
    packed together in a transformer winding the heat is difficult to dissipate.
    Last I heard, at reasonable temperatures the resistance of aluminum,
    like that of copper, doesn't significantly change.

    Kindly provide a link with information on aluminum conductors evaporating.

    I agree with dpb's answer to hallerb - wrong question.
  11. dpb

    dpb Guest

    Bob F wrote:
    Proportionately longer time at lower voltage is still same power...

  12. dpb

    dpb Guest

    But that loss is independent of downstream load...

  13. bud--

    bud-- Guest

    Loss at a series connection resistance ("problem") depends on the
    downstream load.

    The original statement (Mike) was "If you have a high resistance joint
    anywhere in your supply then total power consumption will always fall."

    A thermostatically controlled resistance heater will use the same power
    at the heater. I agree with Bob that the power consumption will go up
    because the power loss at the "problem" adds to the power used at the
  14. dpb

    dpb Guest


    That's true--I knew this was going to come back when I sent it--just
    _after_ "Send". :(

    If that really was the claim rather than a resistance heater was going
    to use more power at the lower voltage simply by running longer at the
    lower input to output the same heating...

  15. Guest

    Well, I have another moral, this time in relationship to your idiotic
    ASSumptions. Read the post again carefully for comprehension.

    I stated:

    I was investigating possible causes of my high power bill, and
    happened to come across a dangerous situation that required an
    immediate remedy. FWIW, I did NOT say that this was the cause of the
    increased bill, although it was a contributory factor, as I'll explain
    below. I stated that the increased draw from running all the
    appliances at the same time was enough to heat the corroded
    connections and create the situation where there was danger, and it
    was a good thing that I was investigating, since having my house burn
    down was a BAD thing.

    I suppose that if I had said I found a dead squirrel holding a Kit Kat
    bar in the breaker box you would ASSume that I thought it was the
    cause for increased power consumption and detail for us how squirrels
    don't consume power and don't have the money to buy Kit Kat bars.

    Now, to examine your intended point. What you are basically stating
    is that the total resistance remains the same when wiring gets hot,
    and that the same amount of power is consumed per unit of time. To
    put it into layman terms; the theory is that when you connect a 100
    watt incandescent light bulb, it doesn't matter if you connect it
    directly to meter, or in series with a 5,000 watt heater and then to
    the meter, the power coming into the circuit is constant. The light
    bulb will still light and the total power used will remain the same.
    The light bulb is the limiting device, and it might glow a little less
    brightly, and the heater get a little warm, but a meter will record
    the same rate of usage.

    What you are totally missing is why we buy power in the first place.
    We buy it to do work. If my AC is getting less power, it has to work
    longer to cool the same space. Since air conditioning is about 1/2 to
    3/4 of the total power consumed in the summer, that becomes a
    significant issue. If a light burns a little less, or the pool pump
    runs a little slower, I might not notice it or bother to compensate
    for it. However, the thermostat on the AC compensates automatically,
    and the AC runs longer without my doing anything. Therefore, the
    power wasted in heating the wiring has to be made up by using an
    equivalent amount of power to allow the AC to do its work.

    In your bully rush to claim bullshit and plant your flag as a
    know-it-all, you managed to fall into your own heaping pile of it.
    Shit happens all the time when the ego outruns considered thought.
    Think of it as a lesson to slow down your hot responses and mind your
  16. Guest

    How can you have power without a neutral?
    Impossible !!!!!
    You cant just rely on the ground rods.

    That alone could make the electronics in your meter go whacky.
  17. You

    You Guest

    Hmmmm, I would seem that if one were in a USA type Distribution System,
    AND one had 120/240 Single Phase, and the Neutral was open, that ALL
    the 240 Vac Loads would still work, just Peachie..... Or, if one
    had a 240/120 Vac Transformer in their System, again if the Feed Neutral
    was open, they would still have 120 Vac at the output of the
    Transformer..... Or, if one was feed 3 Phase Delta, no Neutral is

    Does that meet your Power requirement??? Impossible!!!!! NOT.....
  18. Guest

    Actually, it is a good fire, a cold one, and a suitable wench that
  19. Guest

    Clinton already talked about resisting joints. Old news. Re-read my
    second post for comprehension. I'm beginning to understand why N-J
    tends to be abrupt and abrasive.

    If your premise were true, then we would have trolley cars that were
    fed 600 vdc and operated fine even 15 miles from the power source.

    Tell yah what, big boy. Stick a few 100 watt light bulbs upstream of
    your load. You might get illuminated.
  20. grandpa

    grandpa Guest

    Hey, anybody know that formula that goes like

    P equals I over E or something like that
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