Your Opinions On "Smart Meters"

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On Thu, 19 Apr 2012 07:41:09 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

in real time. At least the ones here in Waterloo North and Kitchener Wilmot Hydro areas.(Region of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada - home of the "Blackberry"
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I'm in Halton Hills. I look at my data online the next day. You can definitely see when we clean our dishes and when we wake up and sleep
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On Thu, 19 Apr 2012 05:04:14 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

Both.
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On Apr 19, 9:23 am, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

I'm trying to imagine the legitmate reasons to cut the seal on the meter before calling the electric company..... I saw it done once. The house was on fire and the fire company did it :)
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On Thu, 19 Apr 2012 06:49:19 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

A lot of people do it to change the panel. Sure, they like to know up front (some insist on doing it themselves - and charging disconnect/connect fees for it) but most don't get panty-bunch if they're notified.
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On Thu, 19 Apr 2012 06:49:19 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

permission, perhaps??
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On Thu, 19 Apr 2012 20:30:47 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Well said. I know people who just cut the thing and forget it. If questioned by the power company, "what seal?".
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Because the times I've called the power company it involved making an appointment, waiting several days for them to come, filling out paperwork, and then paying a fee them to come. When I worked for rental companies that needed to get these buildings ready for tenants, they wanted the work done today, not next week. Not to mention that they did not want to pay me for numerous trips to the property, and honestly I did not want to lose money by not being able to complete a simple task like tapping into the mains for a sub-panel, and having to leave the job, spending the rest of the day without pay, and then having to drive a considerable distance to come back, for a half hour of work.
Then too, I had to disconnect my own meter once when lightning fried a connection to an old main cartridge fuse disconnect box. I had flickering lights, saw sparks in the box. I was not going to wait for the company to come, possibly causing a fire, or other damage. I pulled the meter, took a photo of the burnt connection in the old box, and removed that box. I had a good used breaker disconnect box. I installed it and put the meter back, then called the company. I told them I had a photo of the burned connection, they said not to worry about it, they would put a new tag on the meter. I was several months later before they did it.
I'll tell you right now that electricians pull meters all the time. They are on a schedule, they dont have time to piss around waiting for the power company. Actually I think in most cases they power companies dont want to be getting calls all the time for meter removals. They have more important things to do.
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And does it say in the instructions to break the seal and pull the meter WITHOUT FIRST AT LEAST CALLING THE ELECTRIC COMPANY?
Geez....
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And does it say in the instructions to break the seal and pull the meter WITHOUT FIRST AT LEAST CALLING THE ELECTRIC COMPANY?
Geez....
No, the instructions assume you are an electrician and know what to do in your area when you pull the meter or want it pulled.
Tomsic
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Tomsic wrote:

In my area there are no permits or the like required for electrical work. I've pulled the meter a few times to do work before the main breaker and never had a complaint from the utility. The one time (first time) when I actually called the utility the idiot whined about permits and whatnot (after I had already confirmed with the city that none were required) so I just hung up on them and got on with my work. The key thing is that *nothing* is consistent from state to state or even city to city, so figure out the deal in *your* area.
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After we switched from normal meter to Time of Day meter where the rate OFF peak hours was half the cost of ON peak hours, our monthly electric bill dropped $60. To me, that was NOT false economy.
I have NO idea where all the power went either. We live frugally, one fridge, [gas heating & hot water], no freezer, electric dryer [rarely used]. only lights and TV and a few computers. Can't believe the cooking was THAT expensive. But perhaps it was, because we did tend to cook more outside peak hours after switching.
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Robert Macy wrote:

Have you had it long enough for the meter to bill your air-conditioner use yet?
I understand it can get hot in Arizona in the summer...

People with young families are (I'm told) constantly using their washer/dryer.
Having an electric (vs gas) dryer can be a real drag given the price difference for electricity vs nat-gas.
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On 4/15/2012 2:28 PM, Home Guy wrote:

I have a 5 month old baby at home and we have an Energy star 4 cubic foot front load washing machine.
I was stunned at how little electricity the machine used. And we use cold water strictly.
Average load takes 58 to 104 minutes. Average electrical use as measured by a Kill-a-watt device was .16 kwhr to .19kwhr. Average electrical cost (before all hidden fees) was 1.7 cents a load peak time and 1.1 cents per cheapest time.
We have a gas dryer that averages about 40 minutes per 4 cubic foot load of laundry. That thing uses between .21 kwhr and .4 kwhr per load DEPENDING on the type of laundry. Work jeans requiring more drying, fleece requiring less. We leave it to the sensors.
I get drying loads between 1.4 cents to 5 cents of electrical use (dunno about gas use but I can measure in summer when furnace and water heater off) a load measured by the kill-a-watt. Remember it's a gas dryer.
I'm thinking since I'm the stay at home parent, of disregarding the time of use for laundry because of the seemingly low cost and very marginal savings of waiting till 7 at night for cheap rates.
I'm still going to measure electrical use of those appliances to make sure those numbers are legit.
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over 25 year period living in San Jose, CA - no air conditioner
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wrote:

Here in Ontario, Canada, the politicians were selling Smart Meters by harping on the basis of saving money, all BS. First there is a surcharge on power bills to cover the costs of the smart meter and attending equipment. Plus, rates did not go down, instead the normal all day rate became the night rate, and the daytime rate went up. So you do not save money, but you could try to not pay more by only using power at night (plus the surcharge).
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On 4/15/2012 6:48 PM, EXT wrote:

What you say is not true for everyone. I did save money when my electrical company switched from tiered to time of use. I was paying 8.2 cents a KWhr under tiered and now I pay 6.2 cents a KWhr for the cheapest time slot of 7 pm to 7 am and all day weekends. I have a 240 volt swimming pool pump that draws 7.5 amps. It is 2 cents a KWhr cheaper to run those 12 hours a night plus saturday and sunday than it was under the old system. Since i turn off the pump during the more expensive times, I am saving under the new system.
And yes the water is still clear and chemically balanced even though the pump is only on during cheap rates. That may not apply to other people's pools.
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Every one I've seen has a programmable timer, usually just a simple mechanical one, so you can set the periods when you want it to run. It has to run enough to circulate the water to keep the pool clean. That might be 8 hours a day.

The idea with different rates is that you aren't cutting back, your SHIFTING your demand to periods when the utility charges less.

Which of course has nothing to do with time of use.

Yes and even if you have one that isn't a simple plug-in timer will do it.

The cost if offset by not having meter readers driving to each customer to read the meter. My water company, for example, changed over a decade ago to meters that are read by a guy driving by in a truck without even stopping. It obviously saves them enough money that it makes sense, which is why they did it. Let's say you wanted to make that a smart water meter, similar to the electric ones. To make it smart, all that the meter needs to do additionally is keep track of how much was used by the hour. That is a trivial addition of hardware/software to the meter.

It's 2012. We've put a man on the moon, a computer in your oven,car, and cell phone, yet you think we can't make an electric meter that records properly? There might be some problems in some cases, but this isn't some high technology thing that is hard to make work right. An electric meter is trivial compared to a cell phone.

Again, lots of utilities have switched to some type of remote reading system to eliminae the labor of going up to each meter and reading it. Once you change the metering to support that, keeping track of how much is used per hour is trivial.
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On 4/15/2012 11:16 AM, Home Guy wrote:

Overall, just nonsense.
If there weren't a payback, they certainly wouldn't be doing it just for the funsies of having something to do.
Shifting usage of a _single_ residence slightly from peak to off-peak hours won't make an impact, sure, but when 10s or 100s of thousands do a little it can (and will) add up to a lot. That will translate back into not having to expand/upgrade transmission lines, substations, etc., etc., etc., and perhaps even over time at least delaying addition of generation.
All that will add up to significant savings that eventually will impact the consumer by at least limiting rate increases over what they would otherwise be (and unless there's a change in administration and rollback of recent EPA directives "you ain't see'ed nuttin' yet" on what's going to happen to rates.
If the current CSAPR rule that were to go into effect Jan 1 but was stayed by a Federal Court at the last minute (almost literally) in December ends up being implemented, there _will_ be rolling blackouts as there simply won't be enough generation to satisfy demand and your hypothetical folks will be turning the thermostat A/C off (not by choice) intermittently, not up.
--
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dpb wrote:

It's a fact.
Industry experts and consumer advocates have said exactly the same thing.

It's political.
Many utilities got grants to do it.
Like I said - they wanted to reduce their cost to read residential meters. In the vast majority of situations, analog wheel-meters were replaced by electronic time-of-use meters with telemetry capability. This gave them the automation they were looking for (no more meter readers) under the cover of the green / ecological movement (be good to the environment and use energy responsibly and all that jazz).

I'm telling you that if it means the difference between being uncomfortable in your home by setting your thermostat higher in the summer (and suffering when it's 76 degrees and 55 percent humidity) vs setting it so you're comfortable (74 degrees and 40 percent humidity) -> guess what people are gonna do. Even if it costs them a buck extra a day.
People won't opt to save chump change when it means they'll be comfortable in their homes.

The whole point of time-of-use billing was to go hand-in-hand with a competitive marketplace for electricity, but someone forgot that we don't really have a competitive marketplace in electrical generation or distribution.
You and I can decide whether to buy gasoline at one station or another, on one day or another, at one price or another. Gasoline has a flexible distribution system in that the gas refined at one plant doesn't have to be retailed by a specific gas station nor consumed by a specific end-customer. We don't have that when it comes to electricity, and hence the idea that time-of-use billing completes the picture of a true competitive marketplace for electricity is a farce.
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