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FYI - Managing Power during an Outage

bob_p

Active Member
Apr 5, 2012
3,669
2,791
Our pool installer used a fixed speed pump for our decorative waterfalls, which consumes 2.5KW of power - just to run water to the waterfalls, so after we installed our solar panels/PWs, we limited the waterfall pump to only a few minutes each day.

Yesterday, replaced the fixed speed pump with a variable speed pump - and by lowering the speed to only enough to get water to run through the waterfalls, power consumption was reduced from 2500W down to 100W!

Before we installed the solar panels, we didn't pay attention to how much power the waterfall pump was using - and as it turned out, we were spending around $700/year - just to power that pump!

---

As for the Griddy customers who pay wholesale prices... Griddy has some responsibility because they clearly did not warn their customers they could be charged $9/KWh during a crisis. However customers should also take some responsibility - because they should have been aware of this risk, and be prepared to drastically reduce their energy consumption while the prices were so high.

One thing that isn't mentioned in any of the stories is that Texas/ERCOT customers were asked to reduce power consumption during the crisis last week. Even though we had a solar/PowerWall system, we did make several adjustments to reduce consumption as much as we could (though we didn't have any choice about running the pool pumps continuously while we had freezing temperatures).

There are reports of customers running up $17K bills. Assuming worst case - at $9/KWh - that would be around 2000 KWh of power used over a several day period. That is a lot of power - and could indicate those customers were not making any attempt to reduce their consumption during the crisis - and if they had cut consumption, they could have reduced their energy bills some.

A bigger issue is justification for why utilities were even able to charge $9/KWh during the crisis. The plants that were operating did not see their operating costs increase 100X during the crisis. $9/KWh is the limit utilities are able to charge - and that limit should be reduced. Utility companies should not be allowed to generate unreasonable profit during a crisis...
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,212
342
auburn, ca
Our pool installer used a fixed speed pump for our decorative waterfalls, which consumes 2.5KW of power - just to run water to the waterfalls, so after we installed our solar panels/PWs, we limited the waterfall pump to only a few minutes each day.

Yesterday, replaced the fixed speed pump with a variable speed pump - and by lowering the speed to only enough to get water to run through the waterfalls, power consumption was reduced from 2500W down to 100W!

Before we installed the solar panels, we didn't pay attention to how much power the waterfall pump was using - and as it turned out, we were spending around $700/year - just to power that pump!

---

As for the Griddy customers who pay wholesale prices... Griddy has some responsibility because they clearly did not warn their customers they could be charged $9/KWh during a crisis. However customers should also take some responsibility - because they should have been aware of this risk, and be prepared to drastically reduce their energy consumption while the prices were so high.

One thing that isn't mentioned in any of the stories is that Texas/ERCOT customers were asked to reduce power consumption during the crisis last week. Even though we had a solar/PowerWall system, we did make several adjustments to reduce consumption as much as we could (though we didn't have any choice about running the pool pumps continuously while we had freezing temperatures).

There are reports of customers running up $17K bills. Assuming worst case - at $9/KWh - that would be around 2000 KWh of power used over a several day period. That is a lot of power - and could indicate those customers were not making any attempt to reduce their consumption during the crisis - and if they had cut consumption, they could have reduced their energy bills some.

A bigger issue is justification for why utilities were even able to charge $9/KWh during the crisis. The plants that were operating did not see their operating costs increase 100X during the crisis. $9/KWh is the limit utilities are able to charge - and that limit should be reduced. Utility companies should not be allowed to generate unreasonable profit during a crisis...
But then they probably have to raise the normal rate. The real issue, as always, is people did not prepare. Then they did not cut production. And then, as usual, point the finger it is always someone elses fault. They just need to look in the mirror.
 

garrett5688

Member
Oct 7, 2017
550
962
DFW
Our pool installer used a fixed speed pump for our decorative waterfalls, which consumes 2.5KW of power - just to run water to the waterfalls, so after we installed our solar panels/PWs, we limited the waterfall pump to only a few minutes each day.

Yesterday, replaced the fixed speed pump with a variable speed pump - and by lowering the speed to only enough to get water to run through the waterfalls, power consumption was reduced from 2500W down to 100W!

Before we installed the solar panels, we didn't pay attention to how much power the waterfall pump was using - and as it turned out, we were spending around $700/year - just to power that pump!

---

As for the Griddy customers who pay wholesale prices... Griddy has some responsibility because they clearly did not warn their customers they could be charged $9/KWh during a crisis. However customers should also take some responsibility - because they should have been aware of this risk, and be prepared to drastically reduce their energy consumption while the prices were so high.

One thing that isn't mentioned in any of the stories is that Texas/ERCOT customers were asked to reduce power consumption during the crisis last week. Even though we had a solar/PowerWall system, we did make several adjustments to reduce consumption as much as we could (though we didn't have any choice about running the pool pumps continuously while we had freezing temperatures).

There are reports of customers running up $17K bills. Assuming worst case - at $9/KWh - that would be around 2000 KWh of power used over a several day period. That is a lot of power - and could indicate those customers were not making any attempt to reduce their consumption during the crisis - and if they had cut consumption, they could have reduced their energy bills some.

A bigger issue is justification for why utilities were even able to charge $9/KWh during the crisis. The plants that were operating did not see their operating costs increase 100X during the crisis. $9/KWh is the limit utilities are able to charge - and that limit should be reduced. Utility companies should not be allowed to generate unreasonable profit during a crisis...

signing up for a variable rate plan is like shorting stock to me. The least you will pay is 0, the most is infinity (or I guess $9 in this case). It’s just way too much risk for saving pennies. Fixed price contracts in Texas are already cheap enough.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,212
342
auburn, ca
signing up for a variable rate plan is like shorting stock to me. The least you will pay is 0, the most is infinity (or I guess $9 in this case). It’s just way too much risk for saving pennies. Fixed price contracts in Texas are already cheap enough.
But it is not fair. But I did not know what a balloon payment meant. But I did not know what an adjustable loan meant. But, ......
Government, come bail me out, its not fair.
 
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gpez

Member
Apr 25, 2019
658
536
USA
A bigger issue is justification for why utilities were even able to charge $9/KWh during the crisis. The plants that were operating did not see their operating costs increase 100X during the crisis. $9/KWh is the limit utilities are able to charge - and that limit should be reduced. Utility companies should not be allowed to generate unreasonable profit during a crisis...

The amount it costs a producer to build a product has no bearing on the price they can charge for said product outside of the fact that if they charge below that amount they'll go broke at some point. The price of goods and services is determined by supply and demand.

Capping energy prices doesn't make a supply problem go away, in fact it exacerbates the issue because the market is unable to properly price demand during a crisis. Further capping prices would likely have resulted in even worse rolling blackouts as there would be no other way to curb demand.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
8,232
9,081
Riverside Co. CA
This is starting to stray a bit from "managing power during an outage" to energy plans in texas", which while a discussion people may want to have is something different (and there are threads in the energy section on TMC where that discussion is happening).
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,386
4,495
Kaneohe, HI
Just adding another idea. This has nothing to do with PV or PWs. Twenty+ years ago, my brother bought a cabin style home in Kentucky. He had been researching and found a company that would install geothermal. Its some what a hybrid system. It doesn't use steam to charge the geothermal like we do here in Hawaii. His system simply takes the temperature of earth and balances his air in their house. The company he hired came in and drilled (I think it was) 8 80-100 foot holes down in his side yard and ran (I think it was 2" hoses/lines down into the earth. The lines circulate a fluid like antifreeze down, and up and through their converted furnace in the house. They have a pump in the house that pumps the fluid. The furnace blows air through mother-earth cooled/heated coils and maintains the house temperature at 70-72 degrees year round. I think he said it cost them about $17 a month to run the pump and furnace fan. No maintenance, expect replacing the air filter. And powered in bad weather with a Generac.
 
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TexasEV

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2013
7,642
8,471
Austin, TX
A bigger issue is justification for why utilities were even able to charge $9/KWh during the crisis. The plants that were operating did not see their operating costs increase 100X during the crisis. $9/KWh is the limit utilities are able to charge - and that limit should be reduced. Utility companies should not be allowed to generate unreasonable profit during a crisis...
As I understand it, the theory was that a potential windfall up to $9/kWh during an emergency was supposed to be incentive for power producers to build additional plants that could provide power during an emergency. That theory was wrong.
 

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