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PG&E is raising their "revenue" by 12.4%; guess what that means

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,413
451
95762
1 therm is about 29.3 kwh, so actually more like $0.05/kwh, or $2.0/therm Tier 2 is.$0.07/kwh. Don't get me wrong, that's still 3-4X more cost-efficient than straight up electric resistance heating at ~0.20/kwh on E-TOU-C. However, while the furnace generates 3X the heat for the same cost, that would be spread around the whole house, vs the little electric heater adding only needed supplemental heat in the localized area around her desk (not even her whole home office room). It's probably a wash.

Now I do have a small portable A/C with heat pump mode that would probably be 2-3X as cost-efficient as her space heater, esp in NorCal it can climb into the 60's during the day, increasing the COP of the heat pump when she's using her office. But she'd nix it for the aesthetics as well as the noise...

Was assuming .4 efficiency for the furnace
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,413
451
95762
Ah got it - it's actually rated 95% efficient, but usually runs in low speed which is probably more like 90%, plus uses about 250W for the motor when blowing.

Gas furnace is 95% efficient? I was comparing cost of running a gas thermos to electric resistance heating
 

Big Dog

Active Member
Mar 7, 2016
1,643
1,638
Irvine, CA
I disagree gentlemen. I lived in TX for 10 years before moving to CA, and they have a true market system for power, that provides for high resiliency, high renewable generation, and extremely competitive rates for the end user.

The companies that own the poles+wires in TX are not usually the same as the power producers. Most customers in TX can choose which power producer they want to purchase power from (www.powertochoose.org), and because of this competitive landscape, the price for power is a fraction of what it is in CA. Usually 8-12c/kwh.

And TX also has comparable renewable generation to CA. It produces as much wind energy as the next 3+ states combined (https://www.power-technology.com/features/us-wind-energy-by-state/), but it is behind the curve in solar deployment (Which States Are Best for Solar Power? | Vivint Solar Learning Center).

A for-profit monopoly (CA system) is the worst possible design for customers, although I would argue the sky-high rates in CA have been instrumental in selling crazy amounts of rooftop solar.

A non-profit model has merits, but the weakness in that kind of system is that you are beholden to the politicians and bureacrats to have your best interest and set power rates accordingly. That doesn't always happen.

A for-profit model with FORCED competition (i.e. the gov doesn't allow monopolies to take hold) is the best possible system for the consumer. Individual companies are incentivized to be ingenuitive in business model and keep prices competitive to attract customers.

The italicized is essentially what we have now. The PUC Commissioners are appointed by the Gov, so he is ultimately responsible for their non-management of the state utilities. The PUC approves PG&E's budget, so Exec Bonuses and dividends paid out are approved by the PUC.

I realize that PG&E is a four-letter word in NorCal, but the company can only do what the state hacks approve. If northerners want real change, they need to change Sacto. But the beauty of the current system -- for the politicos -- is that the masses blame the company, but give its over-seers a free pass.
 
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getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,413
451
95762
The italicized is essentially what we have now. The PUC Commissioners are appointed by the Gov, so he is ultimately responsible for their non-management of the state utilities. The PUC approves PG&E's budget, so Exec Bonuses and dividends paid out are approved by the PUC.

I realize that PG&E is a four-letter word in NorCal, but the company can only do what the state hacks approve. If northerners want real change, they need to change Sacto. But the beauty of the current system -- for the politicos -- is that the masses blame the company, but give its over-seers a free pass.

well said
 

bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,393
17,649
San Diego, CA
The italicized is essentially what we have now. The PUC Commissioners are appointed by the Gov, so he is ultimately responsible for their non-management of the state utilities. The PUC approves PG&E's budget, so Exec Bonuses and dividends paid out are approved by the PUC.

I realize that PG&E is a four-letter word in NorCal, but the company can only do what the state hacks approve. If northerners want real change, they need to change Sacto. But the beauty of the current system -- for the politicos -- is that the masses blame the company, but give its over-seers a free pass.

On paper, yes. In practice, you have the first option.

The CPUC has appointed officials on it, and the CPUC determines rates. Those commissioners can and have been influenced greatly in the past (see San Onofre scandal).

I blame both, but don't have a lot of sympathy for most people regarding this. They voted the clowns into office that put the system into place, and perpetuate it. They got what they voted for. Perhaps they will learn, but I have my doubts.

What do I do with these lemons? I make lemonade. I am essentially power independent, and that's my way of giving SDG&E and the CPUC the big middle finger.
 

astrorob

stealth performance M3
Aug 27, 2014
483
111
oakland, ca
I disagree gentlemen. I lived in TX for 10 years before moving to CA, and they have a true market system for power, that provides for high resiliency, high renewable generation, and extremely competitive rates for the end user.

this didn't age terribly well... clearly all of these ways of organizing electric power grids have problems but i think i'd rather have CAs problems than TXs after what just happened there. imagine if they ended up having to do a cold start?? they'd still have the power off right now.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,925
12,036
California
this didn't age terribly well... clearly all of these ways of organizing electric power grids have problems but i think i'd rather have CAs problems than TXs after what just happened there. imagine if they ended up having to do a cold start?? they'd still have the power off right now.
I was wondering why it would take "months" to do a cold start. It's probably a lot more complicated that I think.
My simple thinking would be to start one plant, get it running and deliver power to some people then start another plant and sync it... lather, rinse, repeat.
 

bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,393
17,649
San Diego, CA
this didn't age terribly well... clearly all of these ways of organizing electric power grids have problems but i think i'd rather have CAs problems than TXs after what just happened there. imagine if they ended up having to do a cold start?? they'd still have the power off right now.

Friend of mine that works for Tesla, lives in Austin, and recently moved from the Bay Area had this to say about what you are comparing. I would say his point has the most merit, since he has lived, recently, in both locations and dealt with outages in both.

He dealt with the fires in CA, and the recent sub-zero freeze in TX. His words, not mine, he will take the cold temps and the resultant power-outage in TX over the fires and power shut-down in CA (and inability to breath easily - his words, not mine). He was without power LESS in TX during this "crisis" than he was in CA during the comparable "crisis".

Funny tid-bit, he hunkered down in his Tesla to keep warm the ~24h he was without power.



I love how people, like yourself, love to cherry-pick the most extreme example they can find in order to try to make their point, but ignore the "body of evidence as a whole".

When we actually look at the available data, fact of the matter is that based upon a US Gov audit, the TX power grid is just as reliable as the Eastern or Western power grids. Is it perfect? NOPE. None of them are (brown-outs and fire problems in the west, flooding and hurricanes in the east)
https://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/PA/Performance Analysis DL/NERC_SOR_2020.pdf

But the price most people pay in TX (recent, also cherry-picked, examples of price gouging aside - which is likely illegal and will be refunded - oh and that company is about to go out of business and declare bankruptcy), is about 1/3 to 1/4 what Californians pay. Let's even say, for the sake of argument, you are right. At 3-4X the cost, you would expect the CA grid to be 3-4X as reliable. The hard statistics just don't back that up. Californians are simply stuck dealing with regional monopolies that make huge bank off their clients, and don't invest those profits into making their grids substantially more reliable.

I would rather deal with an imperfect, but pretty good, market landscape for electricity, than an imperfect monopoly sanctioned by bureaucrats that are most likely getting kick-backs from the companies benefiting from the monopolistic landscape.
 
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lavalamp425

Member
Aug 11, 2020
30
29
Puget Sound, WA
I was wondering why it would take "months" to do a cold start. It's probably a lot more complicated that I think.
My simple thinking would be to start one plant, get it running and deliver power to some people then start another plant and sync it... lather, rinse, repeat.

In essence, you have it correct. The problem in a "black start" scenario is that the entire grid is down, with zero power anywhere, so you have to first go through and create "islands" around your black-start generation facilities so you don't just trip them off again when you restart. And with no power, that creation of islands has to be done manually, throughout the grid area. Then you have to start your black start generators. That can take as little as ~90 minutes once those generators are isolated. But then you have to carefully reconnect things in sequence so you don't overload while trying to bring things back up. Current demand on ERCOT is about 40,000 MW; we're talking about starting with a few generating facilities providing only hundreds of MW, and working up from there. Keep in mind with a dead grid you'll have limited/no communications (no cell phones, no landlines), and so coordination is very difficult. Also remember that different generating plants have different startup requirements. Thermal plants (coal, for example) take forever to ramp up/down and require a fair amount of grid power to assist (run their controls, fans, fuel delivery, etc.) while a ramp is occurring, which is why they're used for "base" loads and not peaking loads. So while months may be an exaggeration, weeks to get things all the way back up is not.
 

roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,657
2,727
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
I started putting in a few panels about ten years ago, adding a few more as my electricity bill went down. I now have 66 panels and PG&E pays me at their yearly true-up. This is the way to do it. You don't have to come up with a gazillion bucks for solar, and you shouldn't keep putting it off, because power is going to keep getting more expensive.

And solar works on cloudy days, too. I also have 3 Tesla battery packs storing my power for evening TV watching and lights. Still using gas for heat, but I have heat pumps ready.

Plan a
he
ad
 
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holeydonut

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,121
1,503
East Bay NorCal
I started putting in a few panels about ten years ago, adding a few more as my electricity bill went down. I now have 66 panels and PG&E pays me at their yearly true-up. This is the way to do it. You don't have to come up with a gazillion bucks for solar, and you shouldn't keep putting it off, because power is going to keep getting more expensive.

And solar works on cloudy days, too. I also have 3 Tesla battery packs storing my power for evening TV watching and lights. Still using gas for heat, but I have heat pumps ready.

Plan a
he
ad


Are you adding panels without pulling new permits and inspections? I know I can fit a few more panels on my roof that Sunrun's designers refused. But I feel like the pain to get +2 panels isn't worth it due to the paperwork.
 

astrorob

stealth performance M3
Aug 27, 2014
483
111
oakland, ca
I love how people, like yourself, love to cherry-pick the most extreme example they can find in order to try to make their point, but ignore the "body of evidence as a whole".

most extreme example i can find? what happened in texas is not something i had to go digging for. it was a disaster of epic proportions. i don't care if i paid 50% less for electricity if i then end up dead. FERC told texas to improve reliability in outlier events after 2011 but thanks to their stubbornness they neither did that nor were able to get power from out of state to backstop this kind of event.

averages (and the body of evidence as a whole) are meaningless in the face of increasing numbers of "outlier" events like the CA wildfires and TX ultra-cold snaps. these things are becoming the new norm and unfortunately it's going to cost us to do all the deferred maintenance and upgrades that need to be done to avoid these events from killing people in the future. deregulated markets are not going to cause these upgrades to happen.
 

bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,393
17,649
San Diego, CA
FERC told texas to improve reliability in outlier events after 2011 but thanks to their stubbornness they neither did that nor were able to get power from out of state to backstop this kind of event.

FALSE STATEMENT - go look up the reports (link to the most recent in my previous post). There have been MARKED improvements in the TX grid since 2011. It is comparable to both of the other major US power grids.

Also, it's funny that you and others are bashing the TX grid during the last outage, when in Oregon (the Western Grid), there were 150k+ people without power for 4+ days . . . due to cold weather as well. I had employees all last week that could not work the ENTIRE WEEK because they had no power. And they were in the city limits of Portland. Not out in the boonies.


Where were you when Californians had their power shut off for a week or longer because of fires or looming fires (i.e. high winds)?

Fair is fair, but you are NOT being objective or fair when comparing these two.
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
2,121
1,503
East Bay NorCal
Is it safe to say that the public utility monopolies all suck in their own unique way?

Some utilities cause deadly fires and explosions.
Some utilities cause homeowners to freeze to death on their recliners.
But all public utilities funnel a mammoth amount of "regulated profits" to the likes of Warren Buffet and Gavin Newsom's buddies.

No bias from me (sarcasm), but I think PG&E is worse than whatever happened in Texas because not only does PG&E suck... they charge rates that are like 3x the national average. And PG&E blames the homeowner for being the problem. I believe rate payers in Texas only got screwed on their costs if they were enticed by stupid offerings like Griddy.
 
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mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,925
12,036
California
FALSE STATEMENT - go look up the reports (link to the most recent in my previous post). There have been MARKED improvements in the TX grid since 2011. It is comparable to both of the other major US power grids.

Also, it's funny that you and others are bashing the TX grid during the last outage, when in Oregon (the Western Grid), there were 150k+ people without power for 4+ days . . . due to cold weather as well. I had employees all last week that could not work the ENTIRE WEEK because they had no power. And they were in the city limits of Portland. Not out in the boonies.


Where were you when Californians had their power shut off for a week or longer because of fires or looming fires (i.e. high winds)?

Fair is fair, but you are NOT being objective or fair when comparing these two.
Hard to figure out who has it worse.
Both need to up their games
 
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