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(AZCentral)   Energy company in Arizona is encouraging homeowners to put solar panels on their roofs by offering all kinds of incentives. Just kidding. They're threatening to jack up the monthly bill of anybody who does that   (azcentral.com) divider line 187
    More: Asinine, energy industry, bonuses, natural kind, ratepayers, rooftops, solar panels, homeowners, Arizona Corporation Commission  
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14668 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Jul 2013 at 2:22 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-12 08:14:47 AM

violentsalvation: Will they credit me if I install rain panels? haha just kidding I'm not on APS.


Not on APS? That'll be $250.
 
2013-07-12 08:15:06 AM

StopLurkListen: Not smart, utility manager CFO person. In ten, 20 years you may NEED your customers' ability to distribute electrical loads, maybe even draw power from everyone's electric cars when there's a brief excess demand.

Your average Arizonan is retired, watches their bill like a hawk, and has no problem holding a grudge against a utility for decades more.

For example: my parents. In the 1980's some brilliant AT&T exec decided that touch tone dialing would cost an extra monthly $1 or whatever. Nope, my parents were more than happy with their pulse rotary dialing phone, kthxbye Mr AT&T person. Then AT&T wanted all customers to upgrade to touch tone. Nope. Not gonna happen. Then my parents were the last people on that switch still using rotary and AT&T really really really needed their pulse rotary phone off their system.

It's 2013 and my parents still pulse dial out of spite over that stupid shortsighted touch tone dial surcharge from 30 years ago.

They also are thinking of buying an electric car and if the utility ever wants to do that "smart" distributed power thing where they temporarily draw power from electric cars? My dad will be in the garage, unplugging the car. Because he's retired, and has nothing better to do than pay the utility back for their petty billing act over the next couple of decades.


Sounds like my folks.

They hate call-waiting so they never opted in for that as a "service."  They refuse to have voicemail since they already have an answering machine and don't want to learn how to use something new.  As a result their phone service is incredibly messed up.  It gets knocked offline about once a month.  They no longer program systems with a "busy tone" so if you call them while they're on the line then you get a combo of weird messages that always seem to conflict with each other.

I like to think they do it for the spiteful entertainment value but I'm probably pretty sure they do it because they're old.
 
2013-07-12 08:36:20 AM

Lady J: well this is pleasant

no one calling each other douchenozzles or asserting that britland/yankland sucks

how much is a beer in a bar? pint of milk? loaf of bread? short local bus ride?


I don't drink beer but a mixed drink is usually around 3.5-5.5£. A US Gal of milk is about 1.3-2£. A loaf of bread is about 1-2£ depending on the bread. In Chicago full price bus fare (without discounts, monthly passes, etc) is about 1.5£. Remember, "short" and "local" tend to have different meanings to us.
 
2013-07-12 08:38:53 AM
You know what the problem with Arizona Public Service Co. is ?? They think they're King Sh*t of F*ck Island.
But they're *not*.
 
2013-07-12 08:39:41 AM

Gig103: Asa Phelps: are these people feeding power back into the grid? because if so they do cause the power company some headaches.

Yes - The meter can spin backwards if you generate more than you draw. Of course, during the peak hours you might pay $0.25/kWh for usage, but if your array does generate more than it draws, you only get the off-peak rate of about $0.05/kWh in crediting towards your bill (despite it generating during peak time). So APS is already making $0.15/kWh off of your panels by reselling your power when they need it, but now they want another $100/mo?

I won't invest in solar since they're a 5-10 year ROI, but this would basically negate that indefinitely. Which is of course what APS wants, and I hope the regulators see this.


It's not about a return on investment for me -- it's about using less non-renewable power overall.  It's also why our next car is going to be a Prius...
 
2013-07-12 08:42:58 AM
My parents have solar panels on their house and you can actually see the meter rolling backward. I tell them they're now part of "Big Sun."
 
2013-07-12 08:45:10 AM
AZ has crazy great sun for electric production.  Rooftop solar should be freaking CODE in that part of the country.  And if you give me one months worth of what we spent on the Iraq war, I might just be able to pull it off.
 
2013-07-12 08:45:21 AM

CtrlAltDestroy: Lady J: well this is pleasant

no one calling each other douchenozzles or asserting that britland/yankland sucks

how much is a beer in a bar? pint of milk? loaf of bread? short local bus ride?

I don't drink beer but a mixed drink is usually around 3.5-5.5£. A US Gal of milk is about 1.3-2£. A loaf of bread is about 1-2£ depending on the bread. In Chicago full price bus fare (without discounts, monthly passes, etc) is about 1.5£. Remember, "short" and "local" tend to have different meanings to us.


if you meant to put sterling symbols, then it's on a par with the UK. hooray we're not disgracefully expensive!
 
2013-07-12 08:51:05 AM

Lady J: if you meant to put sterling symbols, then it's on a par with the UK. hooray we're not disgracefully expensive!


I'm not sure how it shows up on your computer, but yeah I meant to put the GBP symbol. I used Google for the exchange rate and used the alt + 0163 for the sterling symbol. Looking at it though, I'm not sure why I put them after the numbers.
 
2013-07-12 08:57:15 AM

MythDragon: It's like in VA where if you have a hybrid, you have to pay an extra fee for not using as much gas (and paying gas tax).


Next we'll be charged more if we don't use as much water as the ten-kid family down the street.


It's a natural extension of the favors to big business paradigm. Use massive amounts of energy and get a huge volume discount. Use small amounts responsibly and be taxed for it. The conservative dream come true.
 
2013-07-12 08:57:35 AM

Lady J: CtrlAltDestroy: Lady J: well this is pleasant

no one calling each other douchenozzles or asserting that britland/yankland sucks

how much is a beer in a bar? pint of milk? loaf of bread? short local bus ride?

I don't drink beer but a mixed drink is usually around 3.5-5.5£. A US Gal of milk is about 1.3-2£. A loaf of bread is about 1-2£ depending on the bread. In Chicago full price bus fare (without discounts, monthly passes, etc) is about 1.5£. Remember, "short" and "local" tend to have different meanings to us.

if you meant to put sterling symbols, then it's on a par with the UK. hooray we're not disgracefully expensive!


I think those are supposed to be sterling. Mixed drinks are usually $7+. Pints (of good beer, not Bud-esque swill) are about the same. Gallon of milk: $3.75. Bread: $1.50 - $3.00. Daily bus pass: $2.00.

/Raleigh, NC
 
2013-07-12 08:58:09 AM
Solar power doesn't work in 'murica!

i40.tinypic.com

/nat gas!
 
2013-07-12 08:58:58 AM
Fark APS. Seriously fark them in the ear.

Got my bill yesterday. $405 for a 1,400sqft house that we, at most, keep at 79 overnight. During the day the temp is set to 85 when no one is here.

Total usage: 2200kwh. We aren't on one of their time based peak usage plans and are getting seriously screwed. They have the basic plan tiered during the summer months based on usage.

From their website:
in summer you're billed at different costs per kWh depending on energy usage
the first 400 are billed at approximately $0.096
the next 400 are billed at approximately $0.13
the next 2,000 are billed at approximately $0.163
all remaining kWh are billed at approximately $0.174
in winter the cost is approximately $0.094 per kWh


I didn't realize that it changed in the summer so much. I was never told that when I signed up. So I went to see what one of their time based plans run:

Typically they are peak hours from Noon til 7pm.
time advantage plan details
winter (november-april billing cycles) $/kWh
on-peak kWh $0.19847
off-peak kWh $0.06116
summer (may-october billing cycles)
on-peak kWh $0.24477
off-peak kWh $0.06118

combined advantage 7 pm-noon
plan details
winter (november-april billing cycles) $/kWh
on-peak kWh $0.05747
on-off kWh $0.04107
demand charge per kW $9.30
summer (may-october billing cycles)
on-peak kWh $0.08867
off-peak kWh $0.04417
demand charge per kW $13.50


That's right, there is a plan that will charge $13.50 per kWh if you use more than a set amount. It doesn't say what that 'demand' amount is, but holy fark. The only clue you have is that it says you must stagger the use of appliances. So I take that to mean if you're using your oven and your refrigerator or A/C kicks on, you're getting charged $13.50 a kWh. Fark that.

Now, I went and used their fancy calculator and it said if I switched to their basic time based plan, based on current usage, I'd save something like $500 a year. Ok, fine, I'll try it. One catch: good luck actually getting your plan changed. Tried to do it on the website and kept getting errors like "a system error has occurred. Please call our 24 hour help desk." Tried to call them, spent over an hour on hold at three different times without ever talking to a human. I can totally see that they would try to screw people who are trying to save money by using solar or something.

I can't wait to get the hell out of this place.
 
2013-07-12 08:59:43 AM
APS has to pay the solar customers RETAIL prices for their excess power, which is higher during peak times.    That might sound great and all, but the money is coming from somewhere.  The price difference is made up by the other customers.  So, when 2016 rolls around and the ACC let's APS raise rates again, the non solar customers will be subsidizing solar ever more.  That's In addition to the tax subsidies solar received.  Why do I have to pay for someone else's stuff?
 
2013-07-12 09:01:40 AM

reklamfox: cuzsis: StopLurkListen: Not smart, utility manager CFO person. In ten, 20 years you may NEED your customers' ability to distribute electrical loads, maybe even draw power from everyone's electric cars when there's a brief excess demand.

Your average Arizonan is retired, watches their bill like a hawk, and has no problem holding a grudge against a utility for decades more.

For example: my parents. In the 1980's some brilliant AT&T exec decided that touch tone dialing would cost an extra monthly $1 or whatever. Nope, my parents were more than happy with their pulse rotary dialing phone, kthxbye Mr AT&T person. Then AT&T wanted all customers to upgrade to touch tone. Nope. Not gonna happen. Then my parents were the last people on that switch still using rotary and AT&T really really really needed their pulse rotary phone off their system.

It's 2013 and my parents still pulse dial out of spite over that stupid shortsighted touch tone dial surcharge from 30 years ago.

They also are thinking of buying an electric car and if the utility ever wants to do that "smart" distributed power thing where they temporarily draw power from electric cars? My dad will be in the garage, unplugging the car. Because he's retired, and has nothing better to do than pay the utility back for their petty billing act over the next couple of decades.

That's...that's just impressive.

/bravo!

I can only hope to be half that crotchety and vengeful when I reach old age


I knew a guy in the 1980s who was a WWII veteran. He had a crank phone that generated its own power, and for fun one day he plugged that into the tone dial network GTE ran.

By "ringing" that phone, he caused a spot outage at the local switch box/"Central Office" (affecting the neigborhood) because he just zapped it with whatever current one of those things put out, and the circuitry hadn't had to handle one of those in 30 years.

They sent a nice repairman out who told him don't do that again.
 
2013-07-12 09:02:58 AM

Allen262: [img593.imageshack.us image 54x11]

[imageshack.us image 54x11]


I'd go with the top one
 
2013-07-12 09:06:55 AM

Lady J: CtrlAltDestroy: Lady J: well this is pleasant

no one calling each other douchenozzles or asserting that britland/yankland sucks

how much is a beer in a bar? pint of milk? loaf of bread? short local bus ride?

I don't drink beer but a mixed drink is usually around 3.5-5.5£. A US Gal of milk is about 1.3-2£. A loaf of bread is about 1-2£ depending on the bread. In Chicago full price bus fare (without discounts, monthly passes, etc) is about 1.5£. Remember, "short" and "local" tend to have different meanings to us.

if you meant to put sterling symbols, then it's on a par with the UK. hooray we're not disgracefully expensive!


The UK is a white myth - like Larry Bird and Colorado.
 
2013-07-12 09:08:44 AM

cmunic8r99: Lady J: CtrlAltDestroy: Lady J: well this is pleasant

no one calling each other douchenozzles or asserting that britland/yankland sucks

how much is a beer in a bar? pint of milk? loaf of bread? short local bus ride?

I don't drink beer but a mixed drink is usually around 3.5-5.5£. A US Gal of milk is about 1.3-2£. A loaf of bread is about 1-2£ depending on the bread. In Chicago full price bus fare (without discounts, monthly passes, etc) is about 1.5£. Remember, "short" and "local" tend to have different meanings to us.

if you meant to put sterling symbols, then it's on a par with the UK. hooray we're not disgracefully expensive!

I think those are supposed to be sterling. Mixed drinks are usually $7+. Pints (of good beer, not Bud-esque swill) are about the same. Gallon of milk: $3.75. Bread: $1.50 - $3.00. Daily bus pass: $2.00.

/Raleigh, NC


again about the same as here if not a bit more expensive. you can pay crazy money for drinks somewhere upmarket in London but I imagine that's true in any big city.

travel is expensive in London. My travelcard is £120 a month, but that's unlimited travel zones 2 to 5 which is a loooong way. there's no such thing as a daily bus pass but if you're using pay-as-you-go on oyster, bus travel is capped at about 5 squid a day

how illuminating. I wonder what's cheaper in the US. there must be something, as it's very widely believed it's a cheaper place to live than here.
 
2013-07-12 09:09:27 AM

Liquid_Bacon: APS has to pay the solar customers RETAIL prices for their excess power, which is higher during peak times.    That might sound great and all, but the money is coming from somewhere.  The price difference is made up by the other customers.  So, when 2016 rolls around and the ACC let's APS raise rates again, the non solar customers will be subsidizing solar ever more.  That's In addition to the tax subsidies solar received.  Why do I have to pay for someone else's stuff?


APS sells that electricity to other users. Those customers aren't paying to subsidize someone's solar, it just isn't turning that extra over as profit for APS.
 
2013-07-12 09:10:55 AM

Uranus Is Huge!: Lady J: CtrlAltDestroy: Lady J: well this is pleasant

no one calling each other douchenozzles or asserting that britland/yankland sucks

how much is a beer in a bar? pint of milk? loaf of bread? short local bus ride?

I don't drink beer but a mixed drink is usually around 3.5-5.5£. A US Gal of milk is about 1.3-2£. A loaf of bread is about 1-2£ depending on the bread. In Chicago full price bus fare (without discounts, monthly passes, etc) is about 1.5£. Remember, "short" and "local" tend to have different meanings to us.

if you meant to put sterling symbols, then it's on a par with the UK. hooray we're not disgracefully expensive!

The UK is a white myth - like Larry Bird and Colorado.


What about Rocky Marciano?
 
2013-07-12 09:15:47 AM
Seems like a smart little upstarter has an opportunity to start a solar household coop.
 
2013-07-12 09:21:37 AM

Generation_D: I knew a guy in the 1980s who was a WWII veteran. He had a crank phone that generated its own power, and for fun one day he plugged that into the tone dial network GTE ran.

By "ringing" that phone, he caused a spot outage at the local switch box/"Central Office" (affecting the neigborhood) because he just zapped it with whatever current one of those things put out, and the circuitry hadn't had to handle one of those in 30 years.

They sent a nice repairman out who told him don't do that again.


That reminds of a story I got from a Consumers lineman.  He was out one night trying to restore power after a storm when he found a branch resting on a line that caused the big fuse to blow.  He pulled the blown fuse and went to remove the branch before he could replace the fuse restoring power.  The line should be dead, but he still had his safety gloves on as he reached for the branch.  Sparks jumped from the branch to his fingers, the line was still charged.  A farmer up the line had his generator wired wrong and was back feeding and catching a transformer before the spot my friend was at and therefore the line was fully charged.  They had to make the farmer shut off his generator in order to finish the work, and I sure some repercussions were dealt.  My friend wouldn't be here if he didn't stop and put the big gloves and boots on, stopping him from being the ground.
 
2013-07-12 09:22:19 AM

Gig103: Asa Phelps: are these people feeding power back into the grid? because if so they do cause the power company some headaches.

Yes - The meter can spin backwards if you generate more than you draw. Of course, during the peak hours you might pay $0.25/kWh for usage, but if your array does generate more than it draws, you only get the off-peak rate of about $0.05/kWh in crediting towards your bill (despite it generating during peak time). So APS is already making $0.15/kWh off of your panels by reselling your power when they need it, but now they want another $100/mo?

I won't invest in solar since they're a 5-10 year ROI, but this would basically negate that indefinitely. Which is of course what APS wants, and I hope the regulators see this.


My parents in the UK have solar panels. They were able to get back their investment in 3 years. That's in the UK. You know that dark dreary land of rain and misery. I imagine they work better in a desert waste land. The only thing that stops massive renewable energy for solar panels is the power companies themselves and the politicians they bought complaining that their bottom pocket is hurt because no one likes them because they jack up their prices 10% every year and it results in mysteriously 10% less electricity used every year in response.
 
2013-07-12 09:22:41 AM
Just like a big company.  Using to much juice and stressing the grid, extra fees.  Not sucking enough of our koolaid like a good shill, extra fees.  Making your own koolaid to share with your neighbors, you better believe that's a hefty fee, you commie bastard.
 
2013-07-12 09:24:13 AM

SurelyShirley: Solar power doesn't work in 'murica!

[i40.tinypic.com image 200x200]

/nat gas!


forum-img.pinside.com
 
2013-07-12 09:33:01 AM
They learned how to do it frm Texas where it has been happening for years....damn people are slow
 
2013-07-12 09:33:54 AM

CtrlAltDestroy: Lady J: I dont think you mean 26.6. it's been high twenties all week this week.

Meanwhile in Phoenix it'll be 37-43 deg C all week (and summer).

Lady J: I don't know what a ranch home is, but you describe that as small. i can't remember the exact dimensions of my place but I'd say yours is double the size of mine.

i think in general property is a lot bigger in the US and that's part of the difference in power spend

A ranch home is a single level/floor/story home. IMHO a small home here in the US is in the 800-1,000 sq-ft range. Medium is around 1,000-1,600. Large is above that. For others 800-1,600 is small, 1,600-3,000 is medium, and large is above that.

My largest apartment was 1,100 sq-ft + 1 car garage and my current home is 1,300 sq-ft.

So, our homes (outside of places like NYC and LA) are larger plus most of what BigJerk said.


I'm a Texan and the idea of anyone calling 1930 sq. ft. a small home makes me think they're at least lower-upper class.

I live in a 1300 sq. ft. apartment, 3bed/2bath, and it's quite nearly huge.  Our AC is on the fritz, can't cool the house below 85F, and our utility bill is nearly $300 in the summer, and last winter the lowest was just under $200.  Sub-metering at it's worst.

I'm upper-lower class, raised blue collar.
 
2013-07-12 09:36:43 AM

Rising_Zan_Samurai_Gunman: I can see maybe tacking on an extra maintenance fee, but $50-100 a month seems insane. While I realize we don't have to run the AC as much here as in Arizona, I've never had my electric bill over $200.


Yeah, the idea is sound (solar customers need just as much grid as everyone else and it's normally simply part of the power bill.  Solar changes this equation) but the fee is unreasonable.

I rather suspect this is just an opening position that they expect to be lowered by the utility commission.

Asa Phelps: as i understand it, there are maintenance & management costs incurred by having so many different sources of current, but most of them are related to synchronizing generator waveforms.


The solar *CUSTOMER* takes care of that--you can't feed back onto the grid without syncing with it.

Grammatik Polizei: What a load of B.S. Our panels produce our entire demand. We pay $18/month in fees and such for the privilege of being connected to the grid. This is the same as if we had a meter with nothing connected to it.The utility doesn't even see what we feed back during the day in any real sense. Our meter is connected to a 15 k.v.a. transformer that also feeds three other meters. At mid day when we feed back these three other neighbors are using a whole lot more. So our array reverses current for a whole 200 feet of the grid. BTW I paid the entire cost of running that 200 feet when the house was built - so the utility "maintains" that line but didn't incur any cost to install it.


Reality check:  During the day you are feeding power onto the grid, at night the grid is feeding you power.  Cut that grid tie and your lights go out at night.  Thus you are using the grid.

Also, consider that transformer.  If you weren't there wouldn't they have used a smaller one?  That's a piece of infrastructure you didn't pay for but are using.

Lady J: christ on a bike! my electricity bill is about 25 quid a month. that's what... 35 dollars? do you have AC in the dog's kennel??


I used to live there, his numbers aren't unreasonable.  I live in a slightly cooler climate although with a bigger house and this month will no doubt hit $300.  When the outside temperature is 30 degrees above the inside temperature (we recently tied a record high, 117--47 in your oversize degrees) the AC works *HARD*.

Lady J: I don't know what a ranch home is, but you describe that as small. i can't remember the exact dimensions of my place but I'd say yours is double the size of mine.

i think in general property is a lot bigger in the US and that's part of the difference in power spend


Probably.   "Ranch" is a style of house, it's one story and the connections between rooms are based around one hallway that runs side to side.

Note, also, that basements are almost unheard of in this part of the country.  That means you don't get nearly as much moderation from the ground as you do in colder places that have basements.  (It's a matter of engineering, the foundations *MUST* go below the frost line or bad things will happen.  In colder climates you basically have to dig the basement anyway to meet this requirement, the additional cost of making it a room are low.  Out here we have no frost line to worry about.)

Lady J: well this is pleasant

no one calling each other douchenozzles or asserting that britland/yankland sucks

how much is a beer in a bar? pint of milk? loaf of bread? short local bus ride?


A douchenozzle goes in the best place on Earth--how is it an insult to be called one? <G>

Beer in a bar--no idea, I don't drink.

A pint of milk?  The supermarket *MIGHT* sell those for kids' lunches, I don't know.  We usually buy a gallon at a time.  Around here that's in the $2.75-$3.00 range depending on the season.

Loaf of bread?  Store brand is going to be around $1, fancy stuff can go as high as $4.

Short bus ride?  We don't have a zone system here, a bus ride to anywhere they go was $1.50 the last time I used one.  (And that lets you get on other buses as needed to reach your destination, but you'll have to pay again to come home.)
 
2013-07-12 09:43:01 AM
Nothing new. Utilities don't like to lose money. They tell people to conserve energy, then complain because people conserved energy so much that their electric/water/gas bills were lower, so the utility companies need to jack their rates to make up the lost income. You can't win.

Here in the DC area after we had the derecho last year and people were without power for 2 weeks PEPCO charged people for NOT having power. Turns out there was some specially written law that in order to make up for lost revenue of people not having power PEPCO could charge them for not having power. True story bro.
 
2013-07-12 09:46:32 AM
More panels, more batteries, cable cutters.  Problem solved.
 
2013-07-12 09:47:40 AM

Lady J: cmunic8r99: Lady J: CtrlAltDestroy: Lady J: well this is pleasant

no one calling each other douchenozzles or asserting that britland/yankland sucks

how much is a beer in a bar? pint of milk? loaf of bread? short local bus ride?

I don't drink beer but a mixed drink is usually around 3.5-5.5£. A US Gal of milk is about 1.3-2£. A loaf of bread is about 1-2£ depending on the bread. In Chicago full price bus fare (without discounts, monthly passes, etc) is about 1.5£. Remember, "short" and "local" tend to have different meanings to us.

if you meant to put sterling symbols, then it's on a par with the UK. hooray we're not disgracefully expensive!

I think those are supposed to be sterling. Mixed drinks are usually $7+. Pints (of good beer, not Bud-esque swill) are about the same. Gallon of milk: $3.75. Bread: $1.50 - $3.00. Daily bus pass: $2.00.

/Raleigh, NC

again about the same as here if not a bit more expensive. you can pay crazy money for drinks somewhere upmarket in London but I imagine that's true in any big city.

travel is expensive in London. My travelcard is £120 a month, but that's unlimited travel zones 2 to 5 which is a loooong way. there's no such thing as a daily bus pass but if you're using pay-as-you-go on oyster, bus travel is capped at about 5 squid a day

how illuminating. I wonder what's cheaper in the US. there must be something, as it's very widely believed it's a cheaper place to live than here.


http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Unite d+States&country2=United+Kingdom&city1=Raleigh%2C+NC&city2=Nottingham

Here's a comparison of similarly sized cities (Raleigh, NC and Nottingham).
 
2013-07-12 09:54:06 AM
People really need to just read the article before commenting.
 
2013-07-12 09:54:23 AM
Holy crap are some of those bills expensive!  It's been a mild summer in Ohio but I just got my bill for mid June - mid July - $160 for a 2500 sq. ft. (232 sq. meter) house.  We keep the house at 68 at night and 74-75 during the day.  We did pay extra for 2x6 walls and all the insulation they can hold so I think it's paying off - when the thermostat climbs to 75 early in the AM its quite possible the AC doesnt kick on again until 3pm if it's not above 85 outside.

/Considering a small wind turbine for generation.... might have to start my own company to get it done.
 
2013-07-12 09:56:58 AM

Lady J: how illuminating. I wonder what's cheaper in the US. there must be something, as it's very widely believed it's a cheaper place to live than here.


life. dignity.
 
2013-07-12 09:58:00 AM

cmunic8r99: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Unit e d+States&country2=United+Kingdom&city1=Raleigh%2C+NC&city2=Nottingham


big difference in clothes. my fiance's sister lives in Boston and it's sometimes cheaper for me to buy stuff from US websites and get her to mail it to me
 
2013-07-12 10:06:22 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: How much would you like to bet that maintenance charge is already on the bill?


Five bucks.  Generally, most will be worked into the rates with assumptions of minimal use.  I know some areas will do things like "minimal 10 dollar bill" type crap.
 
2013-07-12 10:19:27 AM

alienated: Meanwhile, in that sunny paradise that is Germany ...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Germany

Plus, they have kind of a "i generate twice as much power as your haus, mein freunde. hahaha "


Yeah, I noticed this a LOT when I was in Germany a few weeks ago on vacation- especially in the smaller towns that we passed through on the trains. You'd see lots of barns and garages with the roofs completely covered with PV panels, and we saw plenty of large arrays set up in fields too. Was an interesting contrast to Venice, where we thought it would make a lot more sense but I don't think I saw a single panel while there...
 
2013-07-12 10:20:23 AM
lack of warmth:

That reminds of a story I got from a Consumers lineman.  He was out one night trying to restore power after a storm when he found a branch resting on a line that caused the big fuse to blow.  He pulled the blown fuse and went to remove the branch before he could replace the fuse restoring power.  The line should be dead, but he still had his safety gloves on as he reached for the branch.  Sparks jumped from the branch to his fingers, the line was still charged.  A farmer up the line had his generator wired wrong and was back feeding and catching a transformer before the spot my friend was at and therefore the line was fully charged.  They had to make the farmer shut off his generator in order to finish the work, and I sure some repercussions were dealt.  My friend wouldn't be here if he didn't stop and put the big gloves and boots on, stopping him from being the ground.

That's pretty common actually. Somebody thinks they are a genius and instead of using a transfer switch they just plug the generator right into an outlet and backfeed the house. One of the problems (there are many) is that if you don't flip the  main breaker the power also goes out the house to the transformer, etc.
 
2013-07-12 10:30:40 AM
And while I'm on my effing high horse, there shouldn't be a big box mall in the US that isn't PLATED in PV.  No light obstructions, flat as a board, great utility line access.   A municipality that can see more than 10 years into the future would just pay for them outright.

Plus, my zombie fortress would have electricity.  Score!
 
2013-07-12 10:45:58 AM

logieal: Fark APS. Seriously fark them in the ear.

Got my bill yesterday. $405 for a 1,400sqft house that we, at most, keep at 79 overnight. During the day the temp is set to 85 when no one is here.

Total usage: 2200kwh. We aren't on one of their time based peak usage plans and are getting seriously screwed. They have the basic plan tiered during the summer months based on usage.

From their website:
in summer you're billed at different costs per kWh depending on energy usage
the first 400 are billed at approximately $0.096
the next 400 are billed at approximately $0.13
the next 2,000 are billed at approximately $0.163
all remaining kWh are billed at approximately $0.174
in winter the cost is approximately $0.094 per kWh

I didn't realize that it changed in the summer so much. I was never told that when I signed up. So I went to see what one of their time based plans run:

Typically they are peak hours from Noon til 7pm.
time advantage plan details
winter (november-april billing cycles) $/kWh
on-peak kWh $0.19847
off-peak kWh $0.06116
summer (may-october billing cycles)
on-peak kWh $0.24477
off-peak kWh $0.06118

combined advantage 7 pm-noon
plan details
winter (november-april billing cycles) $/kWh
on-peak kWh $0.05747
on-off kWh $0.04107
demand charge per kW $9.30
summer (may-october billing cycles)
on-peak kWh $0.08867
off-peak kWh $0.04417
demand charge per kW $13.50


That's right, there is a plan that will charge $13.50 per kWh if you use more than a set amount. It doesn't say what that 'demand' amount is, but holy fark. The only clue you have is that it says you must stagger the use of appliances. So I take that to mean if you're using your oven and your refrigerator or A/C kicks on, you're getting charged $13.50 a kWh. Fark that.

Now, I went and used their fancy calculator and it said if I switched to their basic time based plan, based on current usage, I'd save something like $500 a year. Ok, fine, I'll try it. One catch: good luc ...


This is what your state needs:
http://www.oag.state.md.us/energy/

It's called "retail choice" or "electricity supplier choice".  You get to say FARK YOU to your local utility monopoly and choose who you want to supply your electricity.

Here are the states that currently do it:
http://www.eia.gov/electricity/policies/restructuring/restructure_el ec t.html

I'm pretty sure it'll be mandated by the Feds at some point.
 
2013-07-12 10:52:27 AM

Lady J: how illuminating. I wonder what's cheaper in the US. there must be something, as it's very widely believed it's a cheaper place to live than here.


Gasoline.   The conspiracy to destroy mass transit has to keep gas prices low to remain in control.

Food's pretty cheap too, especially if you aren't worrying much about eating healthy.  Heavy subsidies for farmers, even though it often hurts other countries.  The global food economy is all kinds of messed up and crazy complicated though.

fireclown: And while I'm on my effing high horse, there shouldn't be a big box mall in the US that isn't PLATED in PV.  No light obstructions, flat as a board, great utility line access.   A municipality that can see more than 10 years into the future would just pay for them outright.

Plus, my zombie fortress would have electricity.  Score!


Average municipality either HATES the big box store too much to give 'em one red cent or is so Red-State that they would rather have their tax dollars buy PV cells and smash them with hammers to "stick it to the hippies" than plan ahead.
 
2013-07-12 10:53:22 AM

rmoody: Rising_Zan_Samurai_Gunman: I can see maybe tacking on an extra maintenance fee, but $50-100 a month seems insane. While I realize we don't have to run the AC as much here as in Arizona, I've never had my electric bill over $200.

Cheap, quickly built homes with zero, and I mean, zero insulation = $300 a month and up for under 2000sf. I'm not kidding, I could put my hand on an exterior wall and feel the heat through it.

dangelder: How is Arizona not 100% solar already? I could probably make a killing there if I designed and produced some kind of simple solar-powered fan or AC unit.

Because solar is for hippies, and Aribama is 100% red-blooded Amurricans.


No.

Arizona's infrastructure is old. Because most of the state does not suffer from severe weather, the upgrade timelines are further apart.

So when newer technology, such as solar arrays come along, the capabilities to adapt are not in place. They can build new with no problem (solar array in Mesa/Tempe), but replacing and upgrading is different.
 
2013-07-12 10:58:56 AM
LOL first cloudy day and suddenly we all need 100% of the grid.  How does shiat work?
 
2013-07-12 11:06:25 AM
No way it will pass. Even if it did, it would get overturned in court as being against public policy.
 
2013-07-12 11:29:59 AM

Rising_Zan_Samurai_Gunman: I can see maybe tacking on an extra maintenance fee, but $50-100 a month seems insane. While I realize we don't have to run the AC as much here as in Arizona, I've never had my electric bill over $200.


The flat-rate thing is what is the killer.

Since they charge you on a flex rate (a % of your KW is added to cover line costs), why not use the same formula when selling back to them? (so a % of KW is subtracted from your credit to cover line costs).

So if buying $1.00 of power with 20% costs for line fees is $1.20 total, and then when you sell your power back to the grid its an $0.80 credit.
 
2013-07-12 11:39:03 AM
Electricity costs $X per watt to produce, and a flat $Y for infrastructure. It's then sold for $Z per watt, which covers both of those. So ZW= XW+Y. Solar panel users have a W of almost 0, so what they pay doesn't cover the infrastructure. It costs the electric company more to deliver their electricity than it makes. It's not complicated. Basic Algebra you should have learned in middle school.
 
2013-07-12 11:39:36 AM
It isn't about money-grubbing capitalists (this time) as much as it's about outdated regulatory structure - and I say this as a proud socialist, electric car owner, unaffiliated with the utility industry.

The utility industry is our most Soviet sector - planning, rates, etc. are all controlled by government agencies (State PUCs). Keep this in mind when talking about "market rates" for electricity. The utilities' rates are government-set, to allow them some "fair" return on infrastructure investment and profit on generation.

Solar grid-tie customers get scrod on net metering because while you're covering the generation, you're not covering the infrastructure, which is why the utility pays less than the rate they charge customers. There's no particularly "fair" way around that.

If we blanketed buildings everywhere in grid-tied solar panels this would be wonderful for the economy, the planet, and long-term utility costs. And devastating to utilities' regulated business model.

The low-hanging solution would be to decouple generation and transmission into different companies, but that didn't work out so well in California. Complete deregulation wouldn't work because transmission is a natural monopoly. Nationalizing transmission seems like a good solution (but to us that always seems like a good solution).
 
2013-07-12 11:40:19 AM

trappedspirit: LOL first cloudy day and suddenly we all need 100% of the grid.  How does shiat work?


Do you know how few truly cloudy days there are here?
 
2013-07-12 11:46:12 AM

Stile4aly: trappedspirit: LOL first cloudy day and suddenly we all need 100% of the grid.  How does shiat work?

Do you know how few truly cloudy days there are here?


I remember some of the Phoenix tourism commercials from some years ago: fake news reports of "CloudWatch", showing a tiny cloud in the sky, with people panicing, grocery stores running out of food, etc.
 
2013-07-12 11:50:25 AM

trappedspirit: LOL first cloudy day and suddenly we all need 100% of the grid.  How does shiat work?


The clouds keep the temperature lower so all the ACs don't have to work so hard.
 
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