OFF PEAK POWER

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OFF PEAK POWER

Postby hotmail » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:40 am

Hi from Victoria. I have recently had a 1kW solar PV system installed and am awaiting bidirectional meter installation. I've been told I may lose my off peak power, can anyone tell me how I can keep it and still retain the benefits of my solar system? Does my electricity retailer determine this? Any info would be much appreciated.
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Re: OFF PEAK POWER

Postby MichaelB » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:32 pm

Hi Hotmail,

Welcome to the forums. I'm not sure on that one - I'll check with other Energy Matters staffers and get back to you on it - unless someone else knows the answer and beats me to it ;)
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Re: OFF PEAK POWER

Postby relaxedcamper » Tue Sep 22, 2009 2:42 pm

Hi, we are in exactly the same situation as you. We have just installed a 2kw system and are awaiting the bidirectional meter to be installed. Our energy provider is Powercor and live in rural Victoria.

I have talked to at length with them re off peak power and having a 'boost button' available that override the off peak tarrif and energises the heating element in the HWS. I am assured that the new meter will have to provide the same metering capabilities as i am currently being charged, ie off peak time of use. And there is also a 'boost button' facility in the meter to override the off peak metering tarrif.

I would discuss with your energy provider your requirements. I assume that you want to keep the off peak rate and i am assuming that you also have a boost button. So tell them these requirements and see what they say. :)
Network = POWERCOR - Retailer = ORIGIN - 11 Sharp 180w Panels NUSOE3E - Fronius IG 20 IP45 Inverter - 1.98KW Grid Interactive System - DUX SunPro 415L 3 Flat Panels Solar Hot Water - 26,600 Lts Rain Water - 8 Chooks - North of Geelong Victoria
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Re: OFF PEAK POWER

Postby skat44 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:03 pm

I have had exactly the same problem and Origin Energy have advised me that they will not provide me with the off peak tarrif and after fitting my 1kw system I now find that my energy bills have doubled.

Will be interested in others experience with Red Energy who I am changing over to.

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Re: OFF PEAK POWER

Postby relaxedcamper » Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:48 pm

We changed from Red to Origin because of the problems with Red's solar plan. They had a 'solar plan' that didn't have time of use off peak, and forced us to go to a flat rate tarrif of 15.96c per KWH.

Origin has offered us a 'Residential Market Plan' and do offer off peak time of use, however their day rate is slightly higher than reds, it will mean that we will not be stuck using our electric boosted SHWS on a flat rate of 15.96 c per hr overnight. PowerCor have also assured us that the meter they will be installing will have the capacity to do off peak metering and have a 'boost button' facility.

I must stress that we haven't had our meter changed over to a bidirectional meter yet and I have only been assured by Origin Energy that this is the fact. I will keep you informed as to what ACTUALLY happens.

Just onle last thing, Origin is one of only two energy retailers that will roll over solar credits that you make from year to year, rather than just letting them VANISH after 12 months.
Network = POWERCOR - Retailer = ORIGIN - 11 Sharp 180w Panels NUSOE3E - Fronius IG 20 IP45 Inverter - 1.98KW Grid Interactive System - DUX SunPro 415L 3 Flat Panels Solar Hot Water - 26,600 Lts Rain Water - 8 Chooks - North of Geelong Victoria
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Re: OFF PEAK POWER

Postby Sandivee » Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:51 pm

I have actually had this issue occur to me also. :cry:

Simply way to fix it is get solar hot water! :D

Something I've heard is that a smart meter roll out may occur over the coming years which can and will be able to remotely change tariffs at different times of the day.

This could mean that whilst we are all using a lot of power on a hot day for air-cons etc, electricity companies could bump up the rate and potentially make more money in an attempt to lower peak loads in summer as it seems the power stations are unable to provide this sort of power (maybe stop brown outs also?). :shock:

If this smart meter does in fact get rolled out - you won't need to worry about off peak because it will not exist.

If anyone else has heard anything regarding this roll out please send a PM please!
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Re: OFF PEAK POWER

Postby relaxedcamper » Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:54 pm

Im thinking that they have an electric boosted solar HWS, therefor having access to off peak for overnight heating if required is important.
Network = POWERCOR - Retailer = ORIGIN - 11 Sharp 180w Panels NUSOE3E - Fronius IG 20 IP45 Inverter - 1.98KW Grid Interactive System - DUX SunPro 415L 3 Flat Panels Solar Hot Water - 26,600 Lts Rain Water - 8 Chooks - North of Geelong Victoria
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Re: OFF PEAK POWER

Postby Sandivee » Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:16 pm

If your solar hot water system is sized correctly you should rarely require additional electric boosting, hence eliminating the need to really have an off peak rate. Therefore eliminating the off peak power issue.

Evacuated tubes seem to have proven themselves in my opinion - my 1kW array and 22 tube SHW system have lower my electricity bill by well over half. (I was an above average user of electricity)
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Re: OFF PEAK POWER

Postby hughm » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:53 pm

Most new multi-purpose meters fitted following the installation of solar will be capable of both 'controlled' and 'uncontrolled' operation (that means peak and off peak in the same meter). If your meterboard wiring permits, which in the majority of cases, it does, this is possible by default. Whether your supply company is capable of dealing with the details is another matter!

Others have mentioned smart metering replacing the traditional off-peak function and this is an important point; some houses fitted with electric hot water may need to be fitted with timers (with manual override - the boost function alternative)to prevent the heater from running during expensive peak times. Ideally, your hot water system would be gas or solar; the need for off-peak will be negated.
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Re: OFF PEAK POWER

Postby WhyNot » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:33 pm

This is likely to be a HUGE issue and rightly perceived by consumers as a contrived ripoff. To any sane person, after spending not inconsiderable amounts to install a solar PV system expecting at least some reduction of their power bills to instead be facing HIGHER bills is nothing short of scandalous (in some cases the effective tariff increases will exceed the solar feed-in).

The problem is caused by the network distributors (such as United Energy, PowerCor, SP Ausnet etc who own the street networks and provide the meters), not the retailers per se (Origin, AGL, Red etc) insisting the withdrawal of the "J" & "Y" off-peak tariffs which have been the traditional off-peak tariffs for hot water and storage space heating. There will be a large number of customers with these hot water systems and associated tariffs. The claim is apparently that the required metering for feed-in tariffs is incompatible with the dual-rate switched off-peak loads (hot water) and they attempt to move you over to a single rate tariff instead! These old tariffs are no longer favoured by the utilities and are closed to new customers. The incompatibility claim is (technically) nonsense - it may be just another opportunity to move customers off them. You may be offered a current Time Of Use tariff ("GH/GL" for all consumption), except the day rate will be substantially higher (nearly 40 % higher) and for most customers the off-peak consumption will not be enough to offset this rise. The appropriate TOU tariff would be the "GD & Off-peak" where the peak rate is NOT increased and all consumption can access the off-peak tariff, except this tariff is now closed to new or migrating customers. For these TOU tariffs, we may be required to fit external timeswitches for the hot water systems - a relatively simple exercise.

The whole process of feed-in solar tariffs and the emerging smart metering is very much in its infancy. There are existing meters with feed-in registers capable of handling and controlling off-peak loads plus the mandated smart metering specifications (for Vict at least) also require these capabilities. Whether the utilities are keen to implement them is another matter. It is a fair and reasonable State Govt expectation that consumers should not be disadvantaged by changed tariffs when accessing feed-ins.

Upgrading to solar or heat pump hot water is another option - that most customers would probably desire if they could afford it as well, but for most of us, Rome wasn't built in a day!

Are there any electricity retailers who are better focused on the large number of new solar feed-in customers? Where information is easy to access, are informed when contacted (not being bounced around call centres) and tariffs are reasonable.
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