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New Rate Structure


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Well, my electric cooperative here in SC has come up with a new rate structure-

1. Account charge Residential .80 cents/day

2. Energy charge Residential 4.7 cents/kWh

3. On-Peak charge Residential $12 dollars/kW

This is the rate for the highest ONE hour of electric use during the On-Peak time frame of the billing period.

Yes, you read that right. The on peak charge is twelve dollars/kW for the one highest usage hour during the month.

So, as you can see I am encouraged to get my On Peak usage down, which leads to a question- Can I replace a section of drywall below my electric panes with a wood board which I would mount several Intermatic timers onto? Right now the panels are mounted in the stud cavity between the laundry room and garage. There is 5/8" drywall on the garage side and 1/2" drywall on the laundry room side. I am thinking about removing a section of drywall as wide as the two stud cavities and about 12/14" tall to mount the timers on. This would also allow me to access the wires (they all travel up from the crawl space thru these cavities) to hook up the timers. As the panels are already mounted to wood studs my first reaction is not problem, but you all have shown me the error of my ways before.

I have three timers identified; two for the two hot water heaters and one for the hot tub/spa.

Any otehr ideas?

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Install the water heater timers near the water heaters.

Cutting power to the hot tub is going to cause it to lose any programmed settings, and revert back to the default settings. The tub may have an economy setting that only allows the heating element to come on when you choose it to. That would eliminate the need for an external timer. I assume it can't be programmed to heat only at certain times, or you wouldn't be looking to add a timer.

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Install the water heater timers near the water heaters.

Cutting power to the hot tub is going to cause it to lose any programmed settings to revert back to the default settings. The tub may have an economy setting that only allows the heating element to come on when you choose it to.

Thanks for the quick reply Joe!! The water heaters are installed in the crawl space, inconvenient at best. As I already have the pool pump on one of these timers I find that they need to be looked at on a regular basis to make sure the time is correct on them.

The hot tub seems to retain its settings in non-volatile memory as it hods everything after a power failure.

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Removing drywall in the garage will cause a breach in the fire-resistant barrier. Open the wall on the laundry room side, instead. They'll be in the same place, just facing a different room.

You are pointing out my lack of clarity - sorry. The 5/8" on the garage side is solid.

The panels are on the laundry room side, so that was where I was planning on dong it.

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Oh, that's even better. I don't see a problem with doing what you propose, but maybe someone else will think of something I'm missing.

Speaking of missing something, maybe I'm missing something here.

"This is the rate for the highest ONE hour of electric use during the On-Peak time frame of the billing period."

I'm reading that as your highest on-peak hour is going to cost you $12. How would putting those three appliances on timers change that?

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Time of day billing has been typical for commercial for years with demand meters prior to "smart" meters.

I'm sure you do, but be sure you know what your power company's parameters are before addressing the need for timers.

I did a conversion to timers and interlocks years ago when we first went to time of day demand billing at my church. We had no limit on demand during "off Peak" but paid the entire year for the demand portion of the bill for "on Peak" usage. The power company read the meter backwards the first several months and corrected the billing once it was brought to their attention. This really brought home the savings since the correction was several thousand dollars credit which more than paid for the conversion.

I used a few low voltage relays and timers to lock out some equipment during peak hours (which also happened to be the unoccupied hours for the building) with fairly good results. Of course these were simple mechanical clocks and relays which needed attention if the power was down any length of time.

But to your question, so long as the required drywall on the garage side of the wall there should not be any prohibition to your plan. "I" might lean to just attaching a thin sheet of plywood on top of the drywall rather than cutting the drywall if I planned on surface mounting since the seams will be tricky to make decent between dissimilar materials. A sheet of painted plywood with a bit of moulding might look better and would surely be faster, cleaner, and easier.

JMHO

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That maneuver by the utility is how they turn their problem with inadequate generator/distribution capacity into your problem. They'd rather you pay for it than them.

Marc

The way our PoCo explains it, they need the funds to upgrade their aging systems.

So do your duty and pay up.

Tim, at some point it may be worth it to start up your generator. [:)]

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Water heating in SC could easily be achieved with evacuated tubes and high efficiency storage or use gas. Dryer and supplementary water heating and stove should all be gas or propane. You'd probably never have an hour with more than 1- 1.5 kwh of usage. By my calculations, even if you spend 5 grand upgrading, payback would take less than 5 years.

There's no difficult calculations where I live, just a flat rate of 14.7 cents per kwh plus $20 a month for the privilege of hooking to the grid. Before we went PV (and I bet PV is the reason for your punitive price schedule) our bills were in the $200 range. Now they're just the line charge.

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Water heating in SC could easily be achieved with evacuated tubes and high efficiency storage or use gas. Dryer and supplementary water heating and stove should all be gas or propane. You'd probably never have an hour with more than 1- 1.5 kwh of usage. By my calculations, even if you spend 5 grand upgrading, payback would take less than 5 years.

There's no difficult calculations where I live, just a flat rate of 14.7 cents per kwh plus $20 a month for the privilege of hooking to the grid. Before we went PV (and I bet PV is the reason for your punitive price schedule) our bills were in the $200 range. Now they're just the line charge.

Thanks Chad!

The payback time is the problem. I have already retired and the wife is eligible now, but looking at another 18 months of work. We already own the house in the mountains we will retire to, so this house probably has two years or so left under our ownership.

All of your ideas are already in the planning stage for our retirement house. No natural gas, but there is an LP tank buried in the yard. I just wish they had buried a larger one.....

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OK, I think I set for now. When in doubt, read the manual. While the spa does not have a clock or the ability to set timers it does have a "quiet mode". When you power the spa on it starts a 24 hour timer, divided into two 12 hour periods. The second 12 hour period can be set up as "quiet", meaning the pump/heater will not run unless the temperature drops below 80. So, I'll just have to reset the quiet mode timer to cover the peak hours.

As this will eliminate one timer, I guess I'll go back to Joe's suggestion and just install the timers next to the heaters in the crawl.

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