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New SGIP powerwall only PTO status and operation questions.

Zabe

Member
Jun 11, 2021
51
34
Placerville, CA
I qualified for a 3 powerwall install in September of 2020 due to being in something like 6 PSPS events and being on a well pump for ALL my water needs. It took until this the end of last month to finally get the installation. The installers did have an issue putting in the soft start on my heat pump so they are returning on Monday to complete this item.

After reading a bunch of the forum posts I have a few questions.

PTO approval, will PG&E contact me directly with a letter, email something when they have given approval?

As far as my rate plan change after PTO approval do I just go online into my account and select EV2-A if that is the rate I want to be on or should I call PG&E directly to have the rate plan expedited? Does it take a billing cycle or longer to change my rate plan?

With the 3 batteries I should be able to easily power my entire home from 3pm to midnight with at least a 25% reserve. Basically I want to only use battery power from 3pm to midnight and use no grid power unless it is absolutely needed. With that in mind should is customize the Tesla app to timed based control, cost savings, and put in the rates and times for the EV2-A plan?

Thanks in advance.
 

arnolddeleon

Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
836
907
SF Bay Area
If they have your email they seem to send you a copy of PTO.

Yes, once you have time based controls you will use it customize the usage to get it as close to the usage pattern you want. Just be prepared that it will not always be perfect.
 

TexacoStar5

Member
Jun 3, 2021
15
6
Los Angeles
Not sure how it works with PG&E however Southern California Edison wants their customers to be on a Time Of Use rate before they will approve reimbursement of the SGIP rebate. We had to call Edison directly and switch to SCE's TOU-D-Prime rate which is designed for EV and battery customers. The change of plan took about a month for them to process. Edison's TOU plan peak rates are from 4-9pm daily. A day or so after installation, the Tesla App enabled the customization of the battery discharge, so we were able to set the batteries to discharge to run our home from 4-9pm daily. They then start recharging after 9pm.
You may find that the grid is used to provide some power, even during peak hours. The best stats from the Tesla app we have seen in the past week are the batteries providing 99% of the power used in the peak rate time period, however today it dropped to 89% for some reason (I installed a soft start on our 3.5 ton a/c unit today, so will see if this lower peak rate battery draw repeats tomorrow and may be related to that).
 

Zabe

Member
Jun 11, 2021
51
34
Placerville, CA
If they have your email they seem to send you a copy of PTO.

Yes, once you have time based controls you will use it customize the usage to get it as close to the usage pattern you want. Just be prepared that it will not always be perfect.
My timed based controls are available. The system is currently energized and in back-up only mode. When I log into my PG&E account they will not let me select the EV2-A plan because they have not completed the PTO and my account does not show that the house has batteries yet. I want to try the time based controls to see how well it offsets using grid power but I will wait for PTO approval. As long as the powerwalls cover the vast majority of the peak usage I should save about 25% on my bill, until PG&E raises rates and/or changes rate plans again...
 

Zabe

Member
Jun 11, 2021
51
34
Placerville, CA
Not sure how it works with PG&E however Southern California Edison wants their customers to be on a Time Of Use rate before they will approve reimbursement of the SGIP rebate. We had to call Edison directly and switch to SCE's TOU-D-Prime rate which is designed for EV and battery customers. The change of plan took about a month for them to process. Edison's TOU plan peak rates are from 4-9pm daily. A day or so after installation, the Tesla App enabled the customization of the battery discharge, so we were able to set the batteries to discharge to run our home from 4-9pm daily. They then start recharging after 9pm.
You may find that the grid is used to provide some power, even during peak hours. The best stats from the Tesla app we have seen in the past week are the batteries providing 99% of the power used in the peak rate time period, however today it dropped to 89% for some reason (I installed a soft start on our 3.5 ton a/c unit today, so will see if this lower peak rate battery draw repeats tomorrow and may be related to that).
I would have thought that your a/c unit without a soft starter would need more grid support due to the high starting current. My installer is coming back out on Monday to install the soft start on my heat pump. They initially put on the soft start and my compressor would not start, all the fans came on but no cold air. Hopefully they get it right this time. My county inspector said that on his soft start install they burned up his compressor, woops.
 

TexacoStar5

Member
Jun 3, 2021
15
6
Los Angeles
Zabe, we got the batteries under the SGIP program to offset the constant PSPS outages that we have endured with Edison over the past couple of years. We don't have solar and they are set up to grid charge. As such, the grid is always available to the batteries if they need it.
According to Tesla's Powerwall specs, they are rated up to 106 Amps for LRA and the Powerwall+ is rated at 118 Amps LRA.
The Locked Rotor Amperage (LRA) of our 3.5 ton a/c compressor is 112 amps and the LRA of the evaporator fan is 5.1 amps however the fan starts a few seconds before the compressor. Before installing the soft start, I measured max amps on the L1 wire on the contactor at 59.3 amps on start up. I didn't measure the L3 wire amp draw on the contactor.
After installing the soft start, the max amps on the L3 was around 15.1 amps and around 14.5 amps on the L1, so the soft start appears to have reduced the start up load for the compressor by around 74% on the L3 alone. The soft start manufacturer claims that it can reduce the start up amperage by 75% so this is pretty consistent with their marketing.
The Rated Load Amps (RLA) of the compressor when running is 17.9 and the evap fan is 2.4, the L3 wire was drawing 13.8 amps before I installed the easy start and 13.55 afterwards and the L1 was drawing 13.8 afterwards.
We opted for the Micro-air Easy Start 368 which was about $330 and works on a/c units between 3 and 5 tons. Very easy to install on our Ruud package unit as there are just 4 wires to connect - one on the HERM/compressor side of the existing capacitor, one to the compressor wire that is/was connected to the Common side of the existing capacitor and one each to the T3 and T1 sides of the contactor. Our a/c doesn't have any monitoring of whether the compressor is already running which normally entails a little more tweaking of the soft start to make sure it doesn't accidentally trigger these compressor circuit sensors and create a false return that the compressor isn't running which then prevents the a/c from starting up (the evap fan will be running but the compressor won't start up).
 
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Zabe

Member
Jun 11, 2021
51
34
Placerville, CA
Texaco, We are in the same boat. I believe we have had 6 PSPS events, one lasted 4 days. It got really old running and dealing with fuel for my back-fed generator. At least now we should be able to go 2 days or so on the batteries, a little longer if we really conserve. My installer returns Monday to install an easy start 368 on my heat-pump.

PG&E has done such a poor job with vegetation management. During our 7 years living in the foothills we have had dozens of outages. Anytime it snows or is even slightly windy at all something falls on a PG&E distribution line. In the February of 2019 a snowstorm came through and one of my neighbors 80 foot tall trees fell on the distribution line. This in turn snapped off the PG&E pole at the base and it fell in front of my neighbors house. This caused my pole (which I did not know was my pole at the time) to also snap off. A week later when PG&E contractors final made it up the canyon to replace the pole, they would not replace mine even though it was obvious that PG&E equipment had damaged my equipment. Long story short it took another 2 weeks for me to get my pole replaced, get an electrician to put in a new panel at the pole, and get the county to approve permits and inspect, the next day PG&E returned and hooked us back up. All in all 22 days without PG&E power. I hope that never happens again.
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,309
428
95762
While you should have plenty of notice for a PSPS event and can switch to backup only. But, what about unanticipated outages? At 25% reserve come daylight, you will use that up quickly
 

Zabe

Member
Jun 11, 2021
51
34
Placerville, CA
While you should have plenty of notice for a PSPS event and can switch to backup only. But, what about unanticipated outages? At 25% reserve come daylight, you will use that up quickly
We normally use 20 kwh max from 3pm to midnight (usually much lower than that 8kwh) so the powerwalls should never go below 50%. At midnight the powerwalls will charge back up in about 2 hours if we have grid power. I suppose an unanticipated outage on a very hot day that happens right before midnight would be the worst scenario and we should still have 50% capacity.

I have a manual transfer switch for using my generator if or when the powerwalls run dry.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,657
490
auburn, ca
We normally use 20 kwh max from 3pm to midnight (usually much lower than that 8kwh) so the powerwalls should never go below 50%. At midnight the powerwalls will charge back up in about 2 hours if we have grid power. I suppose an unanticipated outage on a very hot day that happens right before midnight would be the worst scenario and we should still have 50% capacity.

I have a manual transfer switch for using my generator if or when the powerwalls run dry.
I have auto transfer switches on my generator is my batteries go dead. I made a point of trying to have my entire house automated so no matter what PGE does, I am ready. And with the 500 gallon propane tank connect, I would last a long time, if needed
 
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TexacoStar5

Member
Jun 3, 2021
15
6
Los Angeles
PG&E has done such a poor job with vegetation management. During our 7 years living in the foothills we have had dozens of outages. Anytime it snows or is even slightly windy at all something falls on a PG&E distribution line. In the February of 2019 a snowstorm came through and one of my neighbors 80 foot tall trees fell on the distribution line. This in turn snapped off the PG&E pole at the base and it fell in front of my neighbors house. This caused my pole (which I did not know was my pole at the time) to also snap off. A week later when PG&E contractors final made it up the canyon to replace the pole, they would not replace mine even though it was obvious that PG&E equipment had damaged my equipment. Long story short it took another 2 weeks for me to get my pole replaced, get an electrician to put in a new panel at the pole, and get the county to approve permits and inspect, the next day PG&E returned and hooked us back up. All in all 22 days without PG&E power. I hope that never happens again.
Zabe, the irony is that Edison has spent the past two years or so installing heavily insulated power lines and new conductors on all the local poles and we still get PSPS outages. A member of the nearby Acton Town Council dissected Edison's post-PSPS report from the shutoffs we endured over Thanksgiving and Xmas etc. and pointed out to the CPUC that a lot of what Edison were submitting to the CPUC was factually incorrect. SCE were indicating that they had sent out notifications when they hadn't and that winds speeds were 'x' when they were a lot less than 'x' etc. As a result, the CPUC came down pretty hard on Edison and they have made a commitment to the communities of Acton and Agua Dulce that they will have their infrastructure upgraded by October '21 to a point where if the winds at the same level reoccur, there should be no need for PSPS events. According to the report Edison presented at a recent Zoom meeting, the distribution network that our home is connected to lost 5,000,000 customer minutes (83,000 hours!) of power during last year's PSPS events. Either way, we will see if the proof is in the pudding and we have the batteries now just in case so we're no longer paying Edison's peak energy rates between 4-9pm when the batteries run everything in the home. At least I don't have to haul the generator out and temporarily hook it up to the main panel when the next PSPS warning is issued or if they start their rolling blackouts later this week when we're slated for temps in the 100s. Once the installation is signed off by the inspector next week, I can refit the siding (we flush mounted everything in the exterior wall), send the final paperwork to Edison's SGIP coordinator and forget about it.
 

Zabe

Member
Jun 11, 2021
51
34
Placerville, CA
I contacted PG&E solar division on June 16th to ensure they had received my paperwork. I contacted them again on June 23rd to get a status update. The PG&E individual was very talkative and informed me first that they did not get their $800 fee, had not gotten the signed approved permit, and other things are missing. They then said oh wait we did get paid, and oh yeah there is the approved permit, but I need to talk to my supervisor because something is still screwed up. So long story short when they finally came back on the line all my documentation was in order but PG&E still needed to review it.

I guess the review went fine because the next day they sent me PTO approval. I went online and updated my rate plan to EV2a which goes into affect 07/07. Updated the Tesla app to time based control. This was at about 4:30 pm. Powerwall's stayed in standby, went online did some research, turned off all 3 powerwall switches, used my manual transfer switch to power down everything in the house, closed everything back up and the Powerwall's started serving the load.

My peak time is set from 3pm to 12pm. For some reason it appears the powerwall's did not start to recharge at midnight, they went to standby. I will give them some time to figure out that it is off peak before I try doing anything to fix them.
 

Zabe

Member
Jun 11, 2021
51
34
Placerville, CA
Same thing tonight powerwall's did not start charging at the off-peak time which is set for 00:00 - 15:00, they are just sitting at 67% in standby. I double checked my time based control settings and they are correct. Is this a known feature/issue? It seems to me that as soon as you hit off peak the powerwall's should start charging. I will leave them alone until later today and see if they do eventually charge on their own at some other time during off peak.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,657
490
auburn, ca
Same thing tonight powerwall's did not start charging at the off-peak time which is set for 00:00 - 15:00, they are just sitting at 67% in standby. I double checked my time based control settings and they are correct. Is this a known feature/issue? It seems to me that as soon as you hit off peak the powerwall's should start charging. I will leave them alone until later today and see if they do eventually charge on their own at some other time during off peak.
You have no solar since cannot charge at midnight
 

Zabe

Member
Jun 11, 2021
51
34
Placerville, CA
I have no solar, just the powerwall's. Under SGIP I am supposed to fill them off peak and use them to cover the peak. Cannot do that if they wont charge during the off peak.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,657
490
auburn, ca
I have no solar, just the powerwall's. Under SGIP I am supposed to fill them off peak and use them to cover the peak. Cannot do that if they wont charge during the off peak.
That is what I thought. You are one of the very few with batteries and no solar, so I guess we will learn from you
 

miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
6,347
6,037
Los Altos, CA
Since it is not grid charging, it is likely that your system is not properly configured. It probably thinks there is solar, but can't see the generation. This should have been done during commissioning, basically, the initial configuration of the Powerwall system.
 

Zabe

Member
Jun 11, 2021
51
34
Placerville, CA
Since it is not grid charging, it is likely that your system is not properly configured. It probably thinks there is solar, but can't see the generation. This should have been done during commissioning, basically, the initial configuration of the Powerwall system.
It charges but I have to force it by putting it in backup only. The system works it just is not automatically charging the batteries when I hit the off peak time interval. I guess I will contact Tesla next week and see if they have a fix.
 
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