OT: Eugene Oregon again. Sorry, one more question


Mindful of how helpful Eugene area woodworkers were with my recent question, I have one more. Daughter wants to install central heat/ac. Both of us being pretty ignorant of Oregon utility costs we would like your openion of wether natural gas with ac or a heat pump with supplemental electric heat would be the preferred mothod of installation? House does not have natural gas but it's available in her street. Thanks, Mike
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Oregon used to have cheap Hydro electric (BPA), and plenty of trees. So I'd go heat pump with supp wood stove. I

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Oregon _USED TO_ have relatively cheap power costs, but the days of cheap hydro are long gone. The two largest power companies in Oregon -- Portland General Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power & Light (PPL), got swallowed up by mega energy companies, took on large debt, and power rates soared.
Neither PGE nor PPL ever had access to Bonneville Power Authority (BPA -- look at it like the northwest analog of TVA) from the Army Corps of Engineer power dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. That BPA hydro was reserved for municipal power companies (e.g., Seattle City Poer and Light) and public utility districts (e.g., Clark County PUD). Washington State has always been receptive to and hospitable to muni power and publc utility districts. Oregon, wierdly, has been intensely hostile to public power, with one big geographic exception. Oregon, as a result has had higher power rates, generally, than Washington state.
The hydro that PGE and PPL had access to was from dams built on private lands owned by PGE / PPL. Both ompanies ave been rapidly de commissioning most of their company owned hydro dams and buying on the spot maket. Both PGE and PPL are owned by mega energy companies hat make most of thei money by trading power wholesale rather than generating power.
PGE is a part of the Enron debacle. PGE serves most of the Portland area and the west part of Oregon. Highest power rates in the Northwest and maybe the highest power rates on the West Coast outside of San Francisco. PGE and Enron both have paid massive fines for fraudulent wholesale energy trades related to the west coast power crisis about three years ago.
PPL serves most of the rest of Oregon outside the PGE service area except for Eugene and Lane County. PPL was taken over several years (?6-8?) by Scottish Power, which is now trying to peddle PPL to a US based mega energy company called (?) Mid America Power (?) controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway holding compan.
Wierdly, your daughter in Eugene, if within the city limits, and in some other parts of Lane County, probably has power from EWEB (Eugene Water and Electric Board) a municipal power company which has direct access to BPA hydro power. If she's an EWEB customer, her rates are among the lowest in Oregon.
Find out from your daughter which power company she has. Go to that company's web site and look at the current rates, i.e. mills or cents per kwh.. From there, with the manfacturers' specs on each potetial unit, you can get a very rough idea of relative costs of operation.
Remember that the most important item in those costs will be unrelated to power rates or unit effciency. Rather, how "tight" the house is, how well insulated and protected from air infiltration and exfiltration, will be the biggest factor in heating / cooling costs. The next biggest factor will be where she sets the thermostat.
Gut reaction from living in Oreon more than 30 years -- heat pump and electric resistance heat is the worst way to go. Heat pump compressor operation is amazingly inefficient -- its just like operating an AC compressor full time, and electric resistance heat is awful.
Go with high efficiency (90% or better) natural gas fired ducted hot air system. If she really needs AC, (nd on the west side of the Cascades, she usually won't), get a whole house AC unit installed in conunction with the gas unit. There are big purchase credits and state tax credits for installing high efficiency gas furnaces.
Wood heat is romantic idea. It is not a viable option for full time heat in a family home. Its too damn much work. I've got two wood stoves in my house and know how to use them. IMHO, its just more work than is reasonable. And fire wood is NOT cheap.
Good luck.
--
Jim McLaughlin

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"Jim McLaughlin" <jim.mclaughlin> wrote:

What him say.
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Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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Jim McLaughlin wrote:

marketing agency for Federal power and owns transmission lines but no powerplants. Federal powerplants include Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation powerplants, e.g., Grand Coulee. BPA also has contracts with private Electric companies if they signed agreements, some of which refused.
We converted to gas about 5 years ago and since that time gas prices have risen rapidly to the point that gas heat is probably marginally less expensive than electricity.
Wood heat isn't romantic, but it certainly is viable for family heat. Lots of families in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington heat with wood. But most of them probably get wood fairly cheaply from National Forests, State forest, and private company forests. It is not viable in heavily populated areas because of the air quality requirements.
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Things have changed a bit I see. Oregon is blessed with a rather un-extreme weather pattern for the most part in the valley rather mild summers and mild winters. If I was moving back and doing a new build the new solar shingles. Then let them pay me. But having had Coal, Oil, Wood, Natural, Propane, Electric and Heat Pump. I'd still stick with a new efficient model. I also like a good wood burning stove. In the winter I use it and the fire places and don't even touch the stoves or microwave. They also have one great feature, they need no external power source. So if you loose power, you will always have access to both heat and cooking.
"Jim McLaughlin" <jim.mclaughlin> wrote in message

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You might try alt.home.repair I've been told electric is fairly cheap in that area so you can really consider electric there.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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On 19 Oct 2005 17:19:05 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm, "Mike in

I looked at the costs and went with nat gas 3 years ago when I moved to Grass Pants, Mike. $6k installed price (took 2 men the better part of a work week to install) for the 96% efficient heater and AC system from Carrier. A heat pump isn't as efficient during the summer or winter, so the supplemental heating elements would have tripled or quadrupled my electrical consumption in the winter. I think it was a 3 year ROI, so I'm saving money now. I ADORE the system, by the way. Costs here are low, thankfully. I came from California just prior to Grey Davis's castration of us, electric-rate-wise. Last month's elec bill was $27, gas $5.
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The older I get, the better I was.
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IIRC, that gratuitous bit about the bills merits a "You Suck." And a "where can I get one?"
J
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snipped-for-privacy@sme-online.com wrote:

me too </aol>
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HMFIC has it right Mike - Heat pump and wood stove backup is perfect combo for Eugene...\MHO
Schroeder

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Mike,
You may be able to contact the local utilities to get an idea of which would be more economical locally. And they may or may not have rebates available to help with installation or purchase ... that may also sway your (or her) decision.
Good luck ...
--
Regards,

JT
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For heat, it's unlikely that you can beat the gas, but of course it can't be hoarded like oil. Remember, gas is almost 100% efficient for heating. A heat pump makes electric heat at least feasible, but the machinery is much more expensive than a furnace. BUT, if you have A/C, adding the heat pump isn't all that much more. Having gas heat and electric A/C may well be the lowest cost, long term. There are absorption A/C units that use gas for cooling, too, but I don't know their efficiency. Servel may be a manufacturer. Adding ducts to an existing house is a bear, so give it all a lot of thought.
Get at least a couple of bids from dealers of each kind. Be careful of bidding mulriple types to the same outfit. It's useful info, but they can also use the bids to steer you the way they want you to go.
If you are in a mild area, A/C and dehumidification may be your biggest consumers, so go for a high efficiency A/C unit. It will run a lot and electricity is bound to be going up.
Get a thermostat that can control on humidity. With proper humidity control, you can be comfortable at higher temps and use less energy.
Learn to read and understand the psychometric chart. It will show you some important principles. Here's one link, but you'll find many: http://ohioline.osu.edu/aex-fact/0120.html
Wood can help a lot, if you don't have to pay a lot for it and don't get pushed into an excessively expensive stove installation, which I think may be a problem in OR, unless you are way out in the country.
Wilson

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On Thu, 20 Oct 2005 17:28:25 +0000 (UTC), with neither quill nor

Oh, that's right. I got about $300 in rebates.
http://www.avistautilities.com/saving/conservation/rebates_or.asp Gas company: $200-250
http://www.pacificpower.net/Homepage/Homepage35814.html Elec company: nothing may be available for residential customers
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