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Storm Watch failed us again [in MA, Late July 2021]

jlv1

Twice as much fun
Oct 14, 2015
516
514
Central MA
We have a massive thunderstorm coming through Massachusetts right now, and no Storm Watch event was declared. I have my PW set as 100% backup, but we're also part of Connected Solutions (Tesla Virtual Power Plant), and we output 72% of our 2 PW back out to the grid this afternoon.

And just 15 minutes into the beginning of the nearby lightening, we lost power, with just 28% on the PW.

With no way to force the PW to recharge from the grid (unless Tesla declares a Storm Watch event), I may need to cancel our participation in Tesla VPP. This will defeat the purpose of having the PWs.
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,462
3,467
Northern California
Has the utility made some sort of emergency declaration for this Thunderstorm? That is what seems to trigger Storm Watch for me here on the West Coast. More specifically, the fire authorities declaring a Red Flag (conditions likely to cause fires and associated grid shut-off) warning.

And seeing your 72% get pulled back to the grid I am glad I did NOT click the Tesla VPP opt-in button.
 

Er1c*

Member
Jul 4, 2021
37
44
RI
Same thing happened to me just exported all my energy to the grid due to a connected solutions event and now there are crazy thunderstorms and I have 20% left.
 
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zanary

Active Member
Jan 25, 2017
1,499
1,715
SF Bay Area (East Bay), CA
Note: Tesla doesn't declare a storm watch. It's the NWS that declares and if the alert is high enough, only then does it warrant Tesla activating Storm Watch.

The best thing to do is follow NWS for your area/town on Twitter and you'll be able to see what type of alerts they issue and if it's a high enough alert then you'll find that Tesla will activate Storm Watch.
 
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jlv1

Twice as much fun
Oct 14, 2015
516
514
Central MA
The grid came back on. We're now at 25%. And the area just north of us has 2000 people without power. But because there is no Storm Watch event, the PW aren't charging and won't until we get PV going tomorrow.

We are in a Severe Thunderstorm Warning... but that doesn't trigger Storm Watch.

This is the 2nd time we've had this sort of problem, where VPP exported most of our PW and a Storm Watch event wasn't called, leaving us with 20% to face a possible power outage with little left for backup.
 

Laketime

Member
Dec 13, 2020
167
116
LI NY
It seems like your system is trying to serve 2 masters. VPP and emergency backup. Since not all power outages happen within a storm watch (and that is controlled by NWS, not Tesla) you are going to have to realize that backup will play second fiddle to VPP...
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,769
12,472
Riverside Co. CA
It does look like the CA VPP is not the same as the grid services program in other places. For one example of a difference, with grid services we do not get to control the reserve level of a battery during the event. It is set to 20% during an event and will override a user set reserve. Once the event is over, the reserve goes back to the user set amount.
The program they are in out there over rides the backup reserve setting, so that part doesnt matter.
 

jhn_

Member
Jan 21, 2021
240
253
Northeast United States
It’s all about money. I figured this first year I’d sign up and see if I really get the $1375 per Powerwall per year. So far so good as I just got the check for the “winter” season and it’s for the max amount.
If someone else’s reason for buying powerwalls was mainly backup, then they might choose differently.
 
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wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,331
1,051
Silver Spring, MD
”$400 per kW”. Shoul it be per kWh? Saying “per kW“ does not tell how much energy is transferred, only power...
It is $400 per kW average power over the duration of the program. The program can have up to 60 events, each lasting up to 3 hours, so if the maximum 180 hours occurs, then take the total number of kWh you contributed and divide by 180 hours to get your average power contribution and thus your compensation. So in effect, you are getting at least $400/180 = $2.22 per kWh for the program, and more if they don't use the full number of events or for the full length of time.
 

Matias

Active Member
Apr 2, 2014
3,447
4,153
Finland
It is $400 per kW average power over the duration of the program. The program can have up to 60 events, each lasting up to 3 hours, so if the maximum 180 hours occurs, then take the total number of kWh you contributed and divide by 180 hours to get your average power contribution and thus your compensation. So in effect, you are getting at least $400/180 = $2.22 per kWh for the program, and more if they don't use the full number of events or for the full length of time.
ok, thank you.
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,331
1,051
Silver Spring, MD
Here's a link to the National Grid program: ConnectedSolutions | National Grid

From the documentation, it looks like they pay $400 per average kW discharged during events per summer (in RI, not sure if it's the same in other states).
The links there also address severe weather, and state:
No Dispatch Events Before Large Storms
We realize many customers purchase energy storage systems in part for backup power during power outages. Most power outages in our region happen during the winter time. The customer’s Program Administrator will not call a demand response event during an outage or for the 2 days preceding predicted severe outage events (Type 1 and Type 2 events as defined in the current National Grid Emergency Response Plan).

As you note, this is for RI, and the rules may vary by jurisdiction, but it seems like this indicates it only covers the most extreme events, which seem to be ones where widespread, long-duration outages are expected (so likely more than a severe thunderstorm.) It is possible that these largely match up to where Tesla would declare a storm watch event (which also seems not to occur for severe thunderstorms.)

Tesla does add some confusion when they state on their page for the program:

Severe storms: Storm Watch mode will be active 24/7/365 and will prioritize backup over participation in this program if a severe storm is forecast.

The confusion is in using the term "severe storm(s)" above, twice. Severe thunderstorm warnings, by the name itself, are severe storms. It would probably be more accurate, it seems, for Tesla to state that they prioritize backup when storm watch is on, since that seems to be the actual behavior.
 
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kairojya

Member
Jun 30, 2021
85
77
Tampa, FL
I’m not sure how I would design the Storm Watch logic. I don’t think it makes sense to have Powerwalls grid charge for every thunderstorm, since where I live we have thunderstorms so often. I think many of these storms are categorized as severe storms too. Granted we don’t have a VPP program yet, that I know about. Our storms are often in the afternoon and on those days. Therefore in self-powered mode I’m unlikely to have my Powerwalls charged back up to a high enough state of energy before a Storm Watch event would occur. Owners in my area using Powerwalls the same way would all be grid charging. I do like that this feature exists and is activated during the longer lead times of an approaching tropical storm or hurricane.
 
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wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,331
1,051
Silver Spring, MD
I’m not sure how I would design the Storm Watch logic. I don’t think it makes sense to have Powerwalls grid charge for every thunderstorm, since where I live we have thunderstorms so often. I think many of these storms are categorized as severe storms too. Granted we don’t have a VPP program yet, that I know about. Our storms are often in the afternoon and on those days. Therefore in self-powered mode I’m unlikely to have my Powerwalls charged back up to a high enough state of energy before a Storm Watch event would occur. Owners in my area using Powerwalls the same way would all be grid charging. I do like that this feature exists and is activated during the longer lead times of an approaching tropical storm or hurricane.
I agree it can be difficult, and one thing Tesla does indicate is that Storm Watch is supposed to learn what events cause outages and update accordingly. So, in principle, the rules we users have worked out may not apply to everybody. However, so far, it seems like there is not evidence that Tesla has implemented different rules for different parts of the country.

But, I think there is an argument for treating the VPP program differently. That is, while I should be responsible (not relying on storm watch) for setting a reasonable reserve for the possibility of a regular storm or any unexpected outage, if the program is going to drain the battery to 20%, it might also be reasonable to expect that not to happen when there is an elevated chance of an outage (even if not high enough to trigger storm watch.) How this works in practice could be difficult, since it might well impact the success of the program. And, the amount customers are getting really is very high, so it could be argued this is a fair trade-off. But, there might be an happy medium where the reserve is upped to something like 50% in certain cases but the program itself pays out at lower rates.
 
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