Hi From a newby

The greenest watt is the one you don't have to create. Energy efficiency is the low hanging fruit of greening our homes. Ask your questions or post your energy efficiency tips in here!

Hi From a newby

Postby greenmorry » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:17 pm

Hi there everyone, Great forum with some great help and infomation! My name is Mark and I live in the Yarra Valley in Victoria.

I'm not sure if I'm posting my question in the right area (Mod please move if it isn't) but we are just about to have a system installed from True Value Solar. Its a 5.0kw Growwatt inverter with 8x190w PV panels and a home energy monitor, installed for $2,587, which will allow us to upgrade with more panels in the future when money becomes available.

We decided to go solar due to the astronomical electricity bills we were getting from Lumo energy, but after a few hours on here, I've realised that there is something wrong!

A simple break down of our last bill follows and any help or advice on whats wrong would be greatly appreciated as I find it extremely confusing and excessive!

Our last bill was for $345 being made up of - Anytime step 1....335.40kwh @ 0.2605, Anytime step 2....194.06kwh @ 0.2490, and off peak....199.00kwh @ 0.1544 and a $30.66 service charge.
The gas added another $127.82 to the bill

This is for 30 days, as we get out bill monthly! The average daily use, according to the bill is 24.30kwh

There are only two of us in the household, my wife and I, and we both work nightshift and sleep during the day. All our lights have been changed to LED or energy saver flouros and are only used when needed, Our heating and cooking is all gas except for the oven which is only used maybe twice a week. We dont use a clothes dryer and have short showers. I have tryed everything I can think of to reduce power consumption including turning the thermastat down on the hot water system(electric)to 55c

I'm wondering if the HWS is running full time instead of on O/P and if it is, how do I change it? We also have a smart meter installed. Any help would be appreciated. Regards, Mark
greenmorry
Solar Supporter
Solar Supporter
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:39 pm

Re: Hi From a newby

Postby Sonnig » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:41 am

Hi Mark,
greenmorry wrote:The average daily use, according to the bill is 24.30kwh......
I'm wondering if the HWS is running full time instead of on O/P and if it is, how do I change it? We also have a smart meter installed. Any help would be appreciated.

You mentioned you have a smart meter installed. Is this a recent change that coincides with increased electricity usage? Is this 24kWh / day common across previous bills or just a recent change?

I’d recommend taking regular meter readings, particularly around the time you expect your billing cycle to end. It is always good to have the evidence to see whether the bills you are being presented with are accurate.

First work out whether what is on your bill matches what your meter is reporting. If it does then work out whether you can explain where this excessive amount of energy is being used or potentially you might have a faulty meter.

What type of meter do you have and how is your HWS off peak controlled? Is it a separate timer or part of the meter function, e.g. with a boost button? Providing the register values in your meter would be helpful too as I know of another forum member who is in the Yarra Valley with off peak hot water who may be able to help. Is your distributor SP AusNet too?

I’ve searched for “Anytime step” tariffs but can’t find anything useful. Can you please clarify what these are. I assume it is a peak / shoulder / off-peak based on the tariffs mentioned but what times do they start and finish.

Apologies for all the questions but without all the necessary information we could be guessing for a long time.

Try and take meter readings before and after your daytime sleeping period where only base load items like fridges and a few other low consumption devices should be running.

You could also do experiments by turning off your HWS at the switchboard and keep a close eye on the meter to see what difference it makes. If you’ve found that your daytime power usage is high then is there a difference if the HWS is turned off?

Another thing to consider is are you on town water or running pumps? Excessive pump use can add to your bill.
Sonnig
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 118
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:34 am
Location: Eastern suburbs, Melbourne / SP AusNet / Diamond Energy

Re: Hi From a newby

Postby greenmorry » Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:47 am

Hi sonnig, and thanks for the reply,

Although the smart meter was installed only 4 months ago, the previous bills were all around the same over the last few years. I thought it was normal until I got on here, hence the original post. I was fed up with getting estimated accounts because the lazy meter man used to just walk around the block so I started logging on to my account online and uploading the meter numbers every month at the same time, so I know that what we got charged for, we actually used, according to the meter!

But I still cant explain how we would use this much electricity in 1 month.

I'm not sure what you mean by what type of meter it is, all I know is that it is a new smart meter,

I'm assuming what you say about peak / shoulder / off-peak tariffs is correct where the Anytime steps are concerned, but I have no Idea on the timings for these, or even how to find out if the HWS is on off-peak or not, or if there is a boost button, as there was no manual supplied with the new meter.
We are on town water only, so no pumps,I we are with SP AusNet as a supplier

A work mate told me last night that I may have a residual leak some where, so I plan to switch everything off at the points and then at the circuit breakers and see if the meter "clocks over" when I turn one circuit breaker back on at a time without any load. My other concern is that maybe one of the neighbours has piggybacked power from behind the meter box while we were overseas, but surely the electrition would of picked this up when he replaced the meter! Regards, Mark

Sorry about the spelling, its been a long night at work and I can't find the spell check!!!
greenmorry
Solar Supporter
Solar Supporter
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:39 pm

Re: Hi From a newby

Postby zzsstt » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:46 am

I suspect the AnyTime tariff is based on amount used, the first rate ("step 1") being for the first 1020kwh/quarter, which equates reasonably with 335kwh in a month. The "step 2" is a slightly lower charge for the remainder of the usage. Off peak is as normal, probably 10pm to 7am or thereabouts.

The most likely explanation for high usage is a combination of standby and other low but constant uses. For example, an air-conditioner may pull 100W even when "switched off" (standby). Over 24 hours that equates to 2.4kwh, which is already 10% of your usage. Add a computer pulling 150W constantly (3.6kwh/day) and it quickly adds up!

A water heater that is running constantly has two possible results:

1/ failed thermostat - massive usage (2kw element = 48kwh/day, and most water heaters are 4kw+) and boiling water
2/ failed timer (if one is fitted) - unless the water tank has little insulation, the heater will still only replace the heat lost and is therefore unlikely to use huge amounts of power unless a thermosyphon exists to drain the heat!

However there is a difference between "off peak" and "controlled load". Most people regard controlled load water heating as "off peak", but in fact a time of use meter does not control what is switched on, unless a "dedicated circuit" is supplied, on an associated tariff. It is entirely possible that your water heater has no dedicated circuit or timer and runs 24x7 using a thermostat.

My first course of action would be to buy a whole house energy meter (Wattson or similar) and then start switching things off and seeing what changes. Start with airconditioners, computers etc. Experiment to see if the TV has a large standby load. Then get an electrician to look at the water heater (if you can't do it yourself) and see if it has a timer, dedictaed circuit or is simply running 24x7. And if you have gas, consider changing to a solar or instantaneous gas water heater (preferably solar boosted!)
zzsstt
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 1296
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:27 pm

Re: Hi From a newby

Postby Sonnig » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:00 pm

zzsstt wrote:I suspect the AnyTime tariff is based on amount used, the first rate ("step 1") being for the first 1020kwh/quarter, which equates reasonably with 335kwh in a month. The "step 2" is a slightly lower charge for the remainder of the usage. Off peak is as normal, probably 10pm to 7am or thereabouts.

Ahh, that makes sense. I was thinking that "Anytime step 2" would be a separate register on the meter with it accumulating based on a different tariff period. I actually have the same tiered cost system based on peak usage but it is listed as “Peak Charge: Over 330 Kwh/mth” on the bill but always has 0 kWh usage as I stay under this limit.

The peak period for our TOU metering is 7am – 11pm Monday to Friday and off peak all other times, i.e. all weekend too. Note: The meter is not adjusted for daylight savings time so peak becomes 8am-12am during daylight savings time.

greenmorry wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by what type of meter it is, all I know is that it is a new smart meter

Sorry, I was wondering what model smart meter you had. Here is a previous post about my smart meter that includes a photo: wind-solar-misc/topic2668.html#p20849

These are the registers available:
88 - Display Test
01 - Time
02 - Date
03 - kWh Imported Total Energy
04 - kWh Imported Peak Energy
06 - kWh Imported Off Peak Energy
13 - kWh Total Exported Energy
14 - kWh Total Exported Peak Energy
16 - kWh Total Exported Off Peak Energy

If you have a separate off peak HWS connected then you will most likely have a “07” register as well that will only increment when the internal time switched circuit is activated. I assume this would be 11pm to 7am. There is a boost button that would cause power to be fed to this circuit outside this period if you were running low on hot water. You would expect that R04 or R06 would increment depending on what time it is pushed. I do not know how long this boost function remains active.

Also, just a thought, have a chat to Lumo and see what they offer in providing you with interval data. They should have this so if they could present it to you in a readable form then you would see your usage in 30 minute intervals and you would be able to highlight any anomalies. They will tell you what they can offer and how much it might cost. Potentially it might show you spikes or a base load well above what you would expect.

Good luck with your idea of isolating things and reintroducing them one circuit breaker at a time. Hopefully it shows something and don’t forget to do it to the stove & oven (assuming they are electric) because I have know of a case of significant power still being used even when the devices were turned off.
Sonnig
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 118
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:34 am
Location: Eastern suburbs, Melbourne / SP AusNet / Diamond Energy

Re: Hi From a newby

Postby Smurf1976 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:46 pm

I would expect the "Anytime" rate to be just that. A flat rate 24/7 with the charge based solely on the amount of electricity actually used (regardless of time of day).

That is, it is effectively the exact same type of pricing that was historically used with the old "rotating disc" meters - the energy retailer is simply choosing to ignore the interval data from the meter and charge a flat rate for power consumed. I don't know for a fact that this is how you are being charged, but that's certainly what it looks like.

The two steps would be simply a means of recovering costs from lower volume users. That is, charge less per unit for greater volumes of consumption. That's a fairly common business practice and one that many electricity suppliers have used in the past.

If I'm correct about the application of this "anytime" rate, then the "off-peak" would be just that. Good old fashioned off-peak supplying only the water heater and switched on only at night unless the boost button is pressed.

In terms of your consumption levels, the off-peak is believable but at the lower end of what would be considered "normal" assuming it supplies the electric hot water only. Your other consumption is significantly higher than "normal", especially so if you have all low energy lighting and are taking conscious steps to reduce the amount of electricity you consume.

Opinions as to what is "normal" vary, but using actual industry data (admittedly from Tasmania) for a 2 person house with electric hot water, electric cooking facilities and non-electric heating then "normal" is around 1800 kWh per quarter in total, with approximately a 50/50 split between hot water and other uses.

That assumes the household takes no special measures to conserve electricity - so we're talking 10 minute showers not 3 minutes, turn the lights on if it's a dull day, use the dryer if it's raining etc. But likewise, it also assumes no outright waste - no TV's left running when nobody's watching, not using the dryer in the middle of summer etc.

Given that you are attempting to be economical, your consumption ought to be lower. So your off-peak (assuming this is all for hot water) seems believable but your other consumption seems too high.

Note that any use of electric heating can blow those figures sky high, especially if power guzzling portable heaters are being used. It's not unusual to see over 10,000 kWh per annum for heating alone. If you want to heat with electricity then an air-conditioner is by far the most economical way to do it - they use a third as much power as other electric heaters in order to produce the same amount of heat.
Smurf1976
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 1037
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:56 am

Re: Hi From a newby

Postby zzsstt » Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:20 am

Sonnig wrote:The peak period for our TOU metering is 7am – 11pm Monday to Friday and off peak all other times, i.e. all weekend too. Note: The meter is not adjusted for daylight savings time so peak becomes 8am-12am during daylight savings time.


That is not always the case, apparently. The new time of use meters record usage in short time units, and that data is read electronically by the "meter man". Whilst the clock on the meter does not change, there is also a calender and that contains a pre-programmed change to the TOU periods, such that the TOU period moves forwards and backwards relative to the meter's clock. The result is that the off-peak period does in fact adjust to daylight savings, even though the clock doesn't - TOU is always 7am to 10pm (in our case) actual time, even when the meters clock is "wrong".

There is one caveat to the above statement. Because the state government (NSW) has played with the start and end dates for daylight savings several times recently, no attempt has been made to update the calender on the meters. The result is that there are short periods at the start and end of DST where the meters have not adjusted their schedule because they have a different start and end date to what is currently in place.

The above information comes from a metering specialist at Country Energy, and was supplied in response to a question about large consumption timed irrigation systems, where motors totalling 70kw+ could be running on an incorrect tariff for an hour each day, which makes a large difference over the course of a year!! I do not know if it applies to other power companies, however.
zzsstt
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 1296
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:27 pm

Re: Hi From a newby

Postby Tracker » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:59 am

zzsstt wrote:That is not always the case, apparently.

and I agree, as I was told that the meters simply measure the power during an INTERVAL, being 30Mins (I Think). Hence the name (Interval Meter)..

When you ask about Seasonal time changes, the obvious thing is that the meter reader just records the past X intervals from the time his recorder is plugged in.. I suppose that IF my meter was read first thing in the day, and yours at the end of the day, then YOU will be paying more (and it's irrelevant) because there were more intervals read.

I understand that the allowance for Daylight Savings etc happens in the central computer..
I know that this conflicts with what ZST was told, but perhaps it is ALL a case of how they tell the story in explaining things to customers..
We really need someone from metering section to confirm how it all works..
..
.
Tracker
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 5111
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:54 am
Location: SYDNEY --- EA - Network, Retailer - EA

Re: Hi From a newby

Postby zzsstt » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:49 pm

Tracker wrote:I know that this conflicts with what ZST was told, but perhaps it is ALL a case of how they tell the story in explaining things to customers..


Yes. Originally the phone monkey at Country Energy told me exactly what you have said, that "the computer" (actually "the accounting system") corrects the issue by virtue of changing the times. When I pointed out that my meter showed a running total, and that couldn't be corrected later so would always be wrong, they got all flustered and finally admitted they hadn't got a clue what they were talking about, or words to that effect. I got the impression that they had a script to quote which caused most customers to go away (the modern style of "support"). Eventually I was put through to a gentleman in the metering department, and it was he who told me that the meters self adjusted based on an internal calender, and also volunteered the information about the changes of DST dates resulting in slight anomalies. He also told me exactly how and when to set the timers on my irrigators to avoid the problem. Of course that could just be another script.....except that my meters indicate which tariff they are charging at any time, and I checked - they do swap tariffs at the appropriate time. For most people it wouldn't make a big difference, but in my case it could have been 70kwh/day charged at 24c instead of 12c, which equates to $3000/year.... but again, these are three phase meters (both business and domestic) so other meters may behave differently.
zzsstt
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 1296
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:27 pm

Re: Hi From a newby

Postby greenmorry » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:55 pm

Thanks for the replies and the information guy's

I have checked my meter and it is exactly the same unit as sonnig's one, except I don't seem to have the export factors 13,14 and 16, but it does have 07 which I assume is the HWS off peak. Will this meter need re-programming for export? And if so, How do I go about getting it done or will the solar installer do it?
I also had the HWS checked out by a sparky and all is good there!

I got a call this morning and the solar Install will be on this coming Tuesday! YAY :D

So far I have disconnected the 2 A/C units after being informed that they still use power even though they are not on, But I find that I'm starting to get a little peaved about having to be a power nazi, and feeling like I'm going back to the "dark ages" just to conserve energy. What ever happened to comfortable living?

I don't feel as though we have any really power hungry appliances in our home, we use gas for heat and cooking, low energy lighting, and most things are usually switched off at the wall, so there is very little power used in standby mode. The only thing that would be a constant drain would be the 50" Plasma and theater system in the lounge, but I'm not willing to turn those off at the power point as I find it a pain to have to re-programme them every time I want to watch telly! These don't get used all the time though, as I am finding that I watch tv more in the bedroom these days on the little 24" LED just to save power!
greenmorry
Solar Supporter
Solar Supporter
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:39 pm

Next

Return to Energy Efficiency

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

new solar power specials