Alternate electric ideas

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We had a major storm here a few days ago, and as a result someone was damaged underground. The electric company is suppose to replace it, but this involves destroying my yard, as well as potentially destroying my paved driveway and sidewalk, flower beds, etc.
In the meanwhile, they brought out a self-supportive... something... on a hand truck, that's plugged in to my regular power meter. It's all encased so that I can't see what it is, but I suspect that it's a deep cycle battery and some sort of a transformer. This thing has been powering my house effectively for well over 48 hours.
So I can't help but wonder: if this stand-alone thing would power my house for 48 hours (including my central heat and air, and my range), then there must be something I can build myself to do the same thing. With an electric bill exceeding $200 every month (over $300 during the winter), I'm willing to consider just about anything!
I looked into solar panels, but from what I read online this can cost in excess of $10,000. Even that isn't unreasonable; after 4 years, it has paid for itself. But what other options are there that I'm not considering?
- Jason
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does it make purring noises like an engine?
or are there electric wires coming into it from a pole?

you know, people were able to live without electricity 100 years ago.
are you serious or are you kidding?
i
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Nope, and nope. I'm in a rural area and own 5 acres of property, and the closest actual pole is at the end of my property; say, 100 yards away. So there is no external source available to this unit, it's completely self supportive.
And it doesn't make any noise at all.

Well, obviously I'm serious. Maybe I didn't explain the situation well; I'm curious what alternatives (legal alternatives) people have come up with to create their own electricity, without paying a separate electric company.
I know of solar panels, and I know a local guy that uses a water wheel. But this self-supportive unit has caught my interest, and I'm sure that there must be other ideas out there.
- J
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Way less than 100 years ago.
--
Steve


"Ignoramus24108" <ignoramus24108@NOSPAM.24108.invalid> wrote in message
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Steve Barker LT wrote:

Currently still, actually. And showing no signs of changing, either.

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1) Cut your electric use 2) Ask the power co if they have an off peak meter available 3) Ask the power guys what that gadget is 4) Call some local electricians and ask about backup generators. Might be possible to put in a generator that runs off natural gas.
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Christopher A. Young
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You know, I really have no idea why our electric bill is so high. It's a relatively new house, well insulated, and although we have some neat gadgets (hot tub, central heat and air, a few fish tanks, etc), it feels awfully high.

Good idea.

Unfortunately, he either doesn't know or isn't willing to give me any information on it. I tried that at first, but he was more interested in trampling all of my not-so-cheap flowers and shrubs to listen.

As far as I know, there's no natural gas source in my county; I'm in a pretty rural area. I've looked in to gas generators, but gas is so expensive now that the monthly expense would actually exceed my current bill.
- J
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You have a hot tub and you;re complaining about the price of the electric ?????????????????? You just answered your own question. Those things are power hungry. Plus the AC..... I'm surprised its not higher....
If you are going to do anything to cut your electric bills, get a solar heater for the hot tub. Actually you can make your own if you are handy.
As for that thing the power company connected, I have no clue if it does not have an engine. Most people ask questions to the source. I would have asked them what it is...
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You know, I really have no idea why our electric bill is so high. It's a relatively new house, well insulated, and although we have some neat gadgets (hot tub, central heat and air, a few fish tanks, etc), it feels awfully high. CY: Yes, it gets you thinking. I've found that any kind of electric heat is expensive. Such as hot tubs. Also things with compressors tend to be expensive. I had a big electric bill one month cause I was running a dehumidifer after I shampood the carpets. Refrigerators and AC have compressors, too.

Good idea. CY: I had an off peak meter one time, when I had electric baseboard heat. At least part of the day had a cheaper rate.

Unfortunately, he either doesn't know or isn't willing to give me any information on it. I tried that at first, but he was more interested in trampling all of my not-so-cheap flowers and shrubs to listen. CY: That's a real shame. Does the gadget have any name plates that give you a clue?

Might
As far as I know, there's no natural gas source in my county; I'm in a pretty rural area. I've looked in to gas generators, but gas is so expensive now that the monthly expense would actually exceed my current bill. CY: Gasoline is a bit pricey. I'd guess propane is also pricey. If you're in a rural area, makes me wonder if a diesel or propane generator would pay for itself. Since you're not driving it on the road, a diesel generator oughta be legal to run on home heating oil, which is much less taxed t han road diesel.
- J
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Diesel generators can run on "off road" diesel - it simply has a dye in it to identify it as such. It is taxed at a lower rate than the road use fuel. Just don't get caught using it on your truck or something.
Home heating oil may or may not work well in a diesel engine. Depends on the grade. Besides, its not cheap either. I would tend to run at #2 diesel in the summer and #1 (or a blend) in the winter to get the most out of your generator. Going cheap will just cost you in maintenance and repairs later on. The old saying goes, "you can pay now or pay later..." Also, if you do consider a generator, be sure to spec it for continous duty ("prime" power, not "standby" power) - have you considered the noise factor?
I bet though, it you do the analysis, you'll find the power company power to be the most cost effective for your situation. Wind power might be something to consider. As others have said, solar probably isn't a good choice for you. If you do some carefull analysis of your electrical use, you will likely find several areas of savings. How big a family? Are there multiple computers left on when they are not being used? Are lights getting shut off when an area is unoccupied? What temp is the A/C set at? Just bumping that up a couple of degrees can make a difference. Other than the hot tube, you probably won't find much in the way of big consumers of power. More than likely, its a lot of little things that you don't realize are adding up to the big bill.
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I am sorry, but it is insane to consider home power generation as an alternative to utility power, if it is available. The costs are going to be dramatically higher, for many reasons, and so will be the hassles, including legal hassles.
Giving suggestions to do so to OP who has apparently no understanding of anything (if he was not joking), is not very helpful either.
This is coming from someone who does own a generator.
i
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The only gas in my house is the stove and water heater and me. . . . .
I bought a circulating electric spot heater from COSTCO and only use the baseboard electric heat on very very cold days. There's a thermosat in each room . I'm on the utility budget plan @ $89.90 a month. However, July first the electric rate cap comes off and I'm looking at a 72% increase. Let me know if you're interested in the scam of utility deregulation and I'll send you an enlightening article.
Unfortunately, $200.00 - $300.00 maybe about right in a deregulated (read scam) market.
Mike

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Let me know

http://www.citizen.org/cmep/energy_enviro_nuclear/electricity/deregulation/articles.cfm?IDA79
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Jason wrote:

Well, LOOK at the goddamn thing! Does it have writing on it? If so, what does the writing say?
All we can tell so far is you have a mysterious box plugged into your house. Best guess, absent any other information, is it's a miniature nuclear power station. Or pigeon coop.
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Seeing as how most everything now days has all kinds of serial numbers, identifying plates, and such, that sounds like good advice. My vote is on hamster wheel with a generator atached.
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Christopher A. Young
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visit a COSTCO and buy a couple of packages of their energy saving bulbs. They easily save >70% over conventional bulbs.

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Agree
The Costco cf lamps are some of the best I've found
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You've got me curious call the power company/.
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Where I live, for now, natural gas is more expensive than electricity.

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It is a portable nuclear reactor. It costs much more than $10,000, so it probably isn't practical.
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