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Charging Surprise from Florida Power and Light

I just got an interesting surprise. My power bill, which normally runs about $50 just arrived and it is $480.

It seems that if you pull 21 KW from the mains for a period of 15 minutes or more during the month the FPL computer automatically changes your account to a business account instead of a personal account. I use a wall mounted Tesla charger which can pull 12 KW when the battery is well down on charge. During the previous month I turned on the electric heat while the car was on charge. It is a 10KW electric heater. Total 22 KW.

The FPL people were quite nice about it. The engineer I talked to said that he could grant forgiveness once in a 12 month period if it was only one instance. The bill went back to the sixty some bucks it was expected to be. I would be willing to guess that Florida is not the only state that has this kind of billing structure. Before planning on putting in a 100 amp sub-panel (Which could potentially draw 22KW) you guys investigate just what the local power company thinks about the situation.
 

MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Mar 8, 2015
10,551
10,574
Colorado
You might ask and see if there is a different rate plan you could switch to. Where we live in Colorado, there's a ToU (time of use plan) that charges different rates at different times during the day. Alternatively, we could sign up for a peak usage plan which sounds similar to what you currently have. While it does make the per kWh cost much cheaper, such as 1.5 cents/kWh vs. 8 cents (off-peak) to 20 cents (peak) per kWh, as you've found, they make most of their money based on peak kW usage during the month. I don't remember the exact rate here but I believe it is ~$15 * max kW used during the month. We have electric cars and knew not to sign up for the peak usage rate since we are often pulling 25 kW or more. Assuming we hit 25 kW during the month, that would mean a minimum bill of $375 plus maybe $7.50 for actual kWh of electricity used for the month (assuming 500 kWh from the grid and solar covering the rest), for a total of $382.50. Since we have the ToU plan and Powerwalls, we really only ever have to pay the off-peak 8 cents per kWh. The bill on the ToU plan would only be $40 in the winter. In the summer, we don't have an electric bill since solar covers all our usage.

Moral of the story: Don't ever sign up for peak usage pricing if your utility company offers other rate plans.
 
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Snerruc

Unqualified Doofus
Apr 16, 2016
1,093
1,947
Palm Bay
I’m on FPL and have been for years. I charge and run heat/air routinely together with the car and have never had this problem. My guess is that there is some other marker that is being checked like location or your type of account. We are on their solar only plan and our bill runs $250- $275 a month. Big house. Car seems to be lost in the misc.
 
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nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,856
12,941
United States
I’m on FPL and have been for years. I charge and run heat/air routinely together with the car and have never had this problem. My guess is that there is some other marker that is being checked like location or your type of account. We are on their solar only plan and our bill runs $250- $275 a month. Big house. Car seems to be lost in the misc.

21kW would be hard to hit unless you have resistance heating. A 5 ton heat pump or AC is only going to pull ~5kW + 11.4kW for the car and you're still only at ~16.4kW.
 

MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Mar 8, 2015
10,551
10,574
Colorado
21kW would be hard to hit unless you have resistance heating. A 5 ton heat pump or AC is only going to pull ~5kW + 11.4kW for the car and you're still only at ~16.4kW.
Storm Watch has kicked in while we were charging a car and we hit 25 kW a few times earlier this year. I can normally hear the power buzzing when that happens and will usually delay Storm Watch or stop charging the car for a bit. Fortunately we aren't on a peak kW plan.
 
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MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Mar 8, 2015
10,551
10,574
Colorado
I guess each Powerwall is ~3kW charge rate?
3.3 kW each.

Here's a screenshot where I woke up because of the humming. The 4 Powerwalls were charging at 3.3 kW each and two cars were charging at the same time.

1617935810017.png
 

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