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PG&E (Northern California) finding: SmartAC program could be mandated?

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,868
1,251
East Bay NorCal
I guess that I am still surprised at the number of homes built without reasonable insulation. To me, it is the gift that keeps on giving. Our house was originally built with a 2x6" vaulted ceilings in much of it and, wait for it, 1" particle board as "insulation". WTH? Insulation made sense in 1970, too. You do wonder what the builder/owner was thinking.

The limited attic got upgraded to R60 shortly after moving in, but it took solar to put reasonable insulation on the roof as we were told that we needed to redo the particle board which was deemed to be "structurally deficient" by the solar team. (Yay!) The roof insulation made an enormous difference to the perceived comfort level, and made realize the roof/ceiling had been basically a black body radiator absorbing heat or radiating heat at the occupants. It made the house feel drafty, even though it wasn't.

I would love to put insulation under the floors, but the ROI is close to forever. I may still do it for comfort reasons. I don't get why code in a fire zone requires crawl space vents every six feet. It just seems so wrong. (Nor why California has such huge ventilation requirements for gas water heaters compared to other states.) I have learned to accept building codes as the local culture but I do look at a number of codes and wonder how we got to some of the regulations.

Improving home energy efficiency is a tough nut to crack in a cost effective way. I am not very heat tolerant, so anyone dealing with high heat has my sympathy. (Humid or not)

All the best,

BG


Yeah, that's why I actually thought the old Energy Upgrade California incentive made a lot of sense for people. Contractors were incentivized to find ways for California homes to increase their heating and cooling efficiency; and pass these recommendations to homeowners looking to improve. Then the work would be subsidized and the theory would benefit the homeowner and State in the long run.

Unfortunately that program was abused pretty badly, and the vast majority of homes that saw the benefit were richer homes that could afford really expensive re-models. Much of the money was just spent on contractors up-selling folks for fancy luxury systems that they probably wouldn't have bought had the incentive not happened. There wasn't as much of the investment going into insulation, better HERS ratings, and triple pane windows.

I guess it's up to the homeowner to do whatever they can; with the threat of outrageous energy bills being the catalyst. Much more of a free market approach... if only the utilities didn't crap all over the efforts to get solar installed.
 

Laketime

Member
Dec 13, 2020
151
101
LI NY
Wow, I am continuously amazed at what you west coasters have to go through (specifically power for this topic). We keep our thermostats at 70 in the summer and I kick the bedroom down 1 degree at night just to chill the air before bed. I couldn't imagine 78-80!
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,868
1,251
East Bay NorCal
Wow, I am continuously amazed at what you west coasters have to go through (specifically power for this topic). We keep our thermostats at 70 in the summer and I kick the bedroom down 1 degree at night just to chill the air before bed. I couldn't imagine 78-80!


Yeah, I moved from the Midwest a few years ago... my wife is also from the Midwest. We thought setting the AC to 74F was "normal" because that's what we did, and nobody gave two damns. Actually, I bet people may complain 74F is too hot if the humidity isn't managed correctly.

Californians are kind of brain washed by their relentless local power company propaganda. If someone is not doing their part to save the planet, they're viewed as part of a greater problem. Which I guess is a great mindset in an long-run-utopia-egalitarian way. But it kind of sucks if you just want to have the AC set to 74F. Californians are taught that 78F is "good"... the facilities manager at my work got yelled at one time because she set the office thermostat to 76F, and some people thought she was wasting energy.

Looking into the future, the California Monopolies (sorry IOU's blah blah) are embarking on a lot of propaganda to educate the public about how bad it is to use energy between 4pm to 9pm. That's a 5 hour swath of peak time energy. This propaganda is setting up the framework for ratepayers in Northern California to have energy rates fly through the roof as every Californian gets moved to a time of use plan.

Imagine in a few years, someone's going to come home from a busy day at work at 6:30pm (typical Bay Area non-COVID commute is over an hour). They'll be greeted with a 85F house because their ACs have been commanded to shut down since 4pm. They settle down to a candlelit dinner consisting of cold cuts and some crackers because PG&E recommends stove-free meals. After dinner, the family has fun time by doing a load of laundry... but they'll leave the soggy mess for some unfortunate dolt the next morning to run the dryer during off-peak time.

That's the dream our power companies want people to aspire to. Because if they don't do the above script, they'll be paying $750 monthly energy bills and being yelled at for being an energy waster who isn't helping Californians be "successful" at managing their energy footprint. And I'm guessing by then, NEM 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 will have been repealed.



1621307554937.png
 
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Merrill

Merrill
Jan 23, 2013
3,924
1,392
Sonoma, California
Yeah, I moved from the Midwest a few years ago... my wife is also from the Midwest. We thought setting the AC to 74F was "normal" because that's what we did, and nobody gave two damns. Actually, I bet people may complain 74F is too hot if the humidity isn't managed correctly.

Californians are kind of brain washed by their relentless local power company propaganda. If someone is not doing their part to save the planet, they're viewed as part of a greater problem. Which I guess is a great mindset in an long-run-utopia-egalitarian way. But it kind of sucks if you just want to have the AC set to 74F. Californians are taught that 78F is "good"... the facilities manager at my work got yelled at one time because she set the office thermostat to 76F, and some people thought she was wasting energy.

Looking into the future, the California Monopolies (sorry IOU's blah blah) are embarking on a lot of propaganda to educate the public about how bad it is to use energy between 4pm to 9pm. That's a 5 hour swath of peak time energy. This propaganda is setting up the framework for ratepayers in Northern California to have energy rates fly through the roof as every Californian gets moved to a time of use plan.

Imagine in a few years, someone's going to come home from a busy day at work at 6:30pm (typical Bay Area non-COVID commute is over an hour). They'll be greeted with a 85F house because their ACs have been commanded to shut down since 4pm. They settle down to a candlelit dinner consisting of cold cuts and some crackers because PG&E recommends stove-free meals. After dinner, the family has fun time by doing a load of laundry... but they'll leave the soggy mess for some unfortunate dolt the next morning to run the dryer during off-peak time.

That's the dream our power companies want people to aspire to. Because if they don't do the above script, they'll be paying $750 monthly energy bills and being yelled at for being an energy waster who isn't helping Californians be "successful" at managing their energy footprint. And I'm guessing by then, NEM 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 will have been repealed.



View attachment 663347
Welcome to California!😪
 

getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,325
429
95762
well, I'm not a California by birth. Have lived all over (Military Brat). Personally, I like 78. I sit in my office that is lower floor of house and need to put on long sleeves with 73. We keep thermostat between 77 and 79 and feel comfortable. That said, with PWs we are now negative NEM. No way I can convince wife to turn the thermostat down
 
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Redhill_qik

Member
Aug 16, 2020
308
217
South SF Bay, California
That's the dream our power companies want people to aspire to. Because if they don't do the above script, they'll be paying $750 monthly energy bills and being yelled at for being an energy waster who isn't helping Californians be "successful" at managing their energy footprint. And I'm guessing by then, NEM 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 will have been repealed.
That is only part of the picture, because then there are people with solar + ESS that go in the other direction. I pushed 11.4 kWhs to the grid and consumed 0 kWh during peak today. Less load on the grid means less high cost incremental buys needed by PG&E and my exports were gladly taken for pennies that the resell for 3-4x.

This is the message that needs to be told to counter the greedy top income households abandoning the grid to low income households talking points
 

Laketime

Member
Dec 13, 2020
151
101
LI NY
Just curious (beyond the amazement), why is peak usage from 4-9pm? I know on the east coast we consider peak usage when ACs will be working the hardest which typically starts around 12/1pm and goes until 5-6pm.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,684
492
auburn, ca
Just curious (beyond the amazement), why is peak usage from 4-9pm? I know on the east coast we consider peak usage when ACs will be working the hardest which typically starts around 12/1pm and goes until 5-6pm.
folks get home from work and need to get the house cooled down while they eat and watch tv
 
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Mar 15, 2021
214
89
California
Yeah, I moved from the Midwest a few years ago... my wife is also from the Midwest. We thought setting the AC to 74F was "normal" because that's what we did, and nobody gave two damns. Actually, I bet people may complain 74F is too hot if the humidity isn't managed correctly.

Californians are kind of brain washed by their relentless local power company propaganda. If someone is not doing their part to save the planet, they're viewed as part of a greater problem. Which I guess is a great mindset in an long-run-utopia-egalitarian way. But it kind of sucks if you just want to have the AC set to 74F. Californians are taught that 78F is "good"... the facilities manager at my work got yelled at one time because she set the office thermostat to 76F, and some people thought she was wasting energy.
Or we set it that high because our houses are not as energy efficient and setting it below 78 would mean the thing would be running non-stop from late afternoon to early evening
 
Mar 15, 2021
214
89
California
Just curious (beyond the amazement), why is peak usage from 4-9pm? I know on the east coast we consider peak usage when ACs will be working the hardest which typically starts around 12/1pm and goes until 5-6pm.
  1. That's when people get home and start using the most energy
  2. CA generates a lot of electricity from solar. After 4:00pm solar energy production drops but demand goes up
 

Laketime

Member
Dec 13, 2020
151
101
LI NY
  1. CA generates a lot of electricity from solar. After 4:00pm solar energy production drops but demand goes up
That makes a lot of sense- I hadn't thought of that.
Or we set it that high because our houses are not as energy efficient and setting it below 78 would mean the thing would be running non-stop from late afternoon to early evening
Good point. On the east coast we have invested quite a bit in energy efficiency. With a well insulated home it is more efficient to keep a home at a constant temp than let the temps rise during the day and attempt to bring those temps down later.
 

BGbreeder

Member
Jun 19, 2020
297
190
Bay Area
Just curious (beyond the amazement), why is peak usage from 4-9pm? I know on the east coast we consider peak usage when ACs will be working the hardest which typically starts around 12/1pm and goes until 5-6pm.
Partly I think it is also a function of weather and where you are in your time zone. Heat peaks later in the day for most Californians who are the western edge of their time zone. Both drive demand later. Many Californians have hour plus commutes which means that they tend to be home later. Conversely, many residents on the east coast are on the eastern edge, so the heat peaks earlier. In Boston, the sun sets pretty early compared to, say, Michigan, giving an earlier demand curve.

Then there is the general lack of forest and trees in western California unless you are right on the coast, which means there is next to no shade or cooling from trees, which means that the energy demands tend to follow the sun more closely, which on the western edge is later.

It is definitely true that homes in California aren't as well insulated as homes other places where it snows.

Just a thought...

BG
 
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holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,868
1,251
East Bay NorCal
That is only part of the picture, because then there are people with solar + ESS that go in the other direction. I pushed 11.4 kWhs to the grid and consumed 0 kWh during peak today. Less load on the grid means less high cost incremental buys needed by PG&E and my exports were gladly taken for pennies that the resell for 3-4x.

This is the message that needs to be told to counter the greedy top income households abandoning the grid to low income households talking points

The “defend the disadvantaged” policymakers think you owe more money for the privilege of being able to export energy to the grid to be used later. They already think giving you pennies for your peak output is unfair to those without solar since you got pennies and the renters got big bills to pay. They’ll take your pennies and give them to someone more deserving.

The huge monopolies have their lobby and entrenched propaganda. 500,000 homes with solar have no cohesive representation or lobby. But 500,000 homes with solar is an untapped goldmine of sorts for some eager policymaker that wants to “help” some disadvantaged people in the name of “fairness”.

Im curious if someone has done a study to see at what point someone with solar would actually rip out their panels and go back to grid power. A policy maker can just get closer to that threshold to extract value from wealthy solar fat cats (sarcasm).
 
Mar 15, 2021
214
89
California
Partly I think it is also a function of weather and where you are in your time zone. Heat peaks later in the day for most Californians who are the western edge of their time zone. Both drive demand later. Many Californians have hour plus commutes which means that they tend to be home later. Conversely, many residents on the east coast are on the eastern edge, so the heat peaks earlier. In Boston, the sun sets pretty early compared to, say, Michigan, giving an earlier demand curve.

Then there is the general lack of forest and trees in western California unless you are right on the coast, which means there is next to no shade or cooling from trees, which means that the energy demands tend to follow the sun more closely, which on the western edge is later.

It is definitely true that homes in California aren't as well insulated as homes other places where it snows.

Just a thought...

BG
Depends. SoCal is on the eastern edge of the western time zone. The boarding state of AZ is in the mountain time zone.

Heck, even Reno, NV is further west than Los Angeles, CA
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,220
3,243
Northern California
Yeah, I moved from the Midwest a few years ago... my wife is also from the Midwest. We thought setting the AC to 74F was "normal" because that's what we did, and nobody gave two damns. Actually, I bet people may complain 74F is too hot if the humidity isn't managed correctly.

Californians are kind of brain washed by their relentless local power company propaganda. If someone is not doing their part to save the planet, they're viewed as part of a greater problem. Which I guess is a great mindset in an long-run-utopia-egalitarian way. But it kind of sucks if you just want to have the AC set to 74F. Californians are taught that 78F is "good"... the facilities manager at my work got yelled at one time because she set the office thermostat to 76F, and some people thought she was wasting energy.

Looking into the future, the California Monopolies (sorry IOU's blah blah) are embarking on a lot of propaganda to educate the public about how bad it is to use energy between 4pm to 9pm. That's a 5 hour swath of peak time energy. This propaganda is setting up the framework for ratepayers in Northern California to have energy rates fly through the roof as every Californian gets moved to a time of use plan.

Imagine in a few years, someone's going to come home from a busy day at work at 6:30pm (typical Bay Area non-COVID commute is over an hour). They'll be greeted with a 85F house because their ACs have been commanded to shut down since 4pm. They settle down to a candlelit dinner consisting of cold cuts and some crackers because PG&E recommends stove-free meals. After dinner, the family has fun time by doing a load of laundry... but they'll leave the soggy mess for some unfortunate dolt the next morning to run the dryer during off-peak time.

That's the dream our power companies want people to aspire to. Because if they don't do the above script, they'll be paying $750 monthly energy bills and being yelled at for being an energy waster who isn't helping Californians be "successful" at managing their energy footprint. And I'm guessing by then, NEM 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 will have been repealed.



View attachment 663347
Part of the reason you run home colder in the Midwest is because of the humidity. The A/C is as much a dehumidifier as anything else. Until we moved to the east coast and midwest as a native Californian I had never heard of a dehumidifier or saw an A/C unit with water running out of it. It all seemed very strange to me.

I leave the house at 80 and wander around with shorts and a t-shirt. Any below 76 and I need to put on a sweatshirt.
 
Mar 15, 2021
214
89
California
Part of the reason you run home colder in the Midwest is because of the humidity. The A/C is as much a dehumidifier as anything else. Until we moved to the east coast and midwest as a native Californian I had never heard of a dehumidifier or saw an A/C unit with water running out of it. It all seemed very strange to me.

I leave the house at 80 and wander around with shorts and a t-shirt. Any below 76 and I need to put on a sweatshirt.
All AC's are dehumidifiers. Even in the desert areas you will see water in the condensation line of your AC, just not as much
 

dareed1

Member
Jan 15, 2021
101
94
Belmont, CA
I used to live in central Illinois. Most summer nights the outside temperature would fall to e.g. 78F and not get any colder because that was the dewpoint. Under these conditions, if a house permits much exterior air to come inside, the primary load on the AC is latent rather than sensible heat. Then if the AC is oversized (as most are, because the HVAC folks want to avoid complaints that the AC can't get cold enough) the result is a house with high interior humidity since the air gets cold before it is well dehumidified. And that is uncomfortable for most people, and they drop the interior temperature to get more perceived coolness. The upshot is, I believe, substantial AC loads even though the exterior temperature is in the 70s.
 

slcasner

Active Member
Feb 20, 2011
1,245
838
Sunnyvale, CA
We run the A/C after midnight in off-peak to pull the house down to 69 degrees, then let the house coast with windows closed during the day (no A/C at all). On the worst days it gets up to 78, maybe 80 once. When the outside temp drops to match the inside temps then we open all the windows until midnight and repeat.

So I was just thinking: if PG&E gave some financial benefit for having the device attached to my A/C that would be fine because I never run it at the time they would control it anyway.
 
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h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,684
492
auburn, ca
We run the A/C after midnight in off-peak to pull the house down to 69 degrees, then let the house coast with windows closed during the day (no A/C at all). On the worst days it gets up to 78, maybe 80 once. When the outside temp drops to match the inside temps then we open all the windows until midnight and repeat.

So I was just thinking: if PG&E gave some financial benefit for having the device attached to my A/C that would be fine because I never run it at the time they would control it anyway.
You are lucky. My upstairs will get over 90 with no AC in the late afternoon, early evening
 

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