A standard Meter or a TOU (time of use) for my home? Will it save?

C_HeathC_Heath Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
I have the standard wheel meter with the 5 number dials on my 30 year old home. I used 1073 kwh last month and it was an all time low. I noticed the NC section of rates for my area and the TOU rates were alot cheaper. Being new I dont know alot about them. The Duke Rep said that if I used less than 1000 kwh per month that it would really not be beneficial but really couldnt give me a reason why. Well, I have not used less than 1000, ever!

This past month was a record low for us as we are really trying to conserve and cut back. He said that there would be no charge for the new one but I would have to shut my service down and activate new service to get the new box.

Silver lining: I was able to find the on and off peak charges and what days and times they were. This will help as my wife loves to run the diwasher, dryer and washing machine all at the same time, first thing on sat morn!

Thanks!

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,063 admin
    Re: A standard Meter or a TOU (time of use) for my home? Will it save?

    You really need to understand the TOU rates and your energy usage profile.

    For us, with Grid Tied solar, it works really well. Our peak is Summer from Noon to 6pm weekdays. We avoid using power during that time and our GT system will "sell" power at $0.30 per kWH to the utility. And off peak, we buy power back at $0.09 or so per Watt.

    In fact, it was so good (for us), the utility blocked any new users from converting to that plan, and instead created a new plan with Peak/partial peak/off peak times... And partial peak runs till 9pm at night.

    So, if you use a lot of power for cooking and cleaning in the evenings, you are are in a difficult situlation... Similar if you use A/C on summer afternoons/evenings.

    And I see why, the utility has a peak (or second power peak) at ~8-10pm.

    For us, a 2 time plan was pretty easy. The new plan has three time periods and two on weekends, and differ between summer and winter. Add that we have 3-4 pricing tiers, it is almost impossible to predict how much we would pay for power with these new plans. For example:
    .      TIME PERIODS:  Times of the year and times of the day are defined as follows: [FONT=sans-serif]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]Summer (service from May 1 through October 31): [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]Peak:                 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.             Monday through Friday [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]Partial-Peak: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.AND 7:00 p.m. to 9:00p.m.    Monday through Friday Plus 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.     Saturday and Sunday [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]Off-Peak:           All other times including Holidays. 
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]Winter (service from November 1 through April 30):  [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]Partial-Peak:     5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.             Monday through Friday [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]Off-Peak:           All other times including Holidays. 
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]Holidays:            “Holidays” for the purposes [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]of this rate schedule are New Year’s [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.  The [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]dates will be those on which the holidays are legally observed. 
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ADJUSTMENT:  The time periods shown above will [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]begin and end one hour later for the period between the second Sunday in March [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]and the first Sunday in April, and for the period between the last Sunday in [/FONT]
    [FONT=sans-serif]October and the first Sunday in November. [/FONT]
    

    In theory, from what I can tell, the TOU plans are setup to average out to the utility as a net zero change in billing for the "average customer". But if you have power needs in the middle of your peak billing rates that you cannot avoid--I would be very worried about getting some nasty surprises (you may pay more in summer and less in winter too--There are a lot of unknowns).

    I think some whole house energy monitors can be programmed for TOU/Tiered rate plans (TED?) and you could estimate your new bill would be.

    Most utilities will only let you change rate plans once a year--So if you get a big surprise this summer--you would have to live with it (and/or adjust your usage patterns) until next year.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,367 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: A standard Meter or a TOU (time of use) for my home? Will it save?

    Yes TED has TOU functionality. Our TOU is a bit different than Bill's in that our Solar production can only go against the TOU time it was produced and it only produces a kWh credit, no $$$. So TED has a problem dealing with that scenario, but the TED can tell us much about our consumption. Our really big loads are the AC cooling that is a requirement for living in AZ.

    The real value in TOU is to understand your loads and move them to the times when power is cheapest. For instance we have a pool pump and run that off peak for about 1/3 the price on doing it on peak. We have electric plug in cars and if we used them lots we would push them to off peak as well (but the convenience factor of having a fully charged car seems to out weigh the on peak). Laundry, water heating, dish washer runs and even cooking can many time be wrapped around a TOU schedule. We cook big midday meals on weekend when the whole day is off peak then reheat during the week, we do laundry early in the morning or late at night. A programmable thermostat is also a good TOU support function, we run the house temp down some in summer on the off peak then coast to a higher set point on peak. Late night we bring the over all temps back down some so the building is a cooler mass.

    Of course you are on the right track in reducing your overall power foot print, commendable I would add.
  • C_HeathC_Heath Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    Re: A standard Meter or a TOU (time of use) for my home? Will it save?

    our heat and Dryer is the big consumers. I read where a guy made a hot air box in his attic and ran a air vent down into his existing dryer with an 850cfm woodstove blower. It was pretty neat.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,063 admin
    Re: A standard Meter or a TOU (time of use) for my home? Will it save?

    Be really careful with pipes going through walls and ceilings... These can be real fire issues (blowing smoke/flames between fire breaks, etc.).

    And, in general, drier fires are not all that uncommon (lint in driers, air vents, etc). Something like 15,000+ fires a year in the US.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: A standard Meter or a TOU (time of use) for my home? Will it save?
    C_Heath wrote: »
    our heat and Dryer is the big consumers. I read where a guy made a hot air box in his attic and ran a air vent down into his existing dryer with an 850cfm woodstove blower. It was pretty neat.

    Supplying external heated but not humid air to a dryer can possibly save money on both dryer heating and lost A/C output. Much the same way that you provide an outside air inlet for a fireplace or wood stove. That sort of air inlet also can eliminate back pressure problems if the house is really airtight.
    Trying to capture the waste heat from the dryer during the winter is more problematic, especially if you use a gas dryer. Lint, condensation and fumes can all be issues.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
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