Warning: by the end of this thread I will probbably be ranting!
1. De-regulation was for the benefit of Enron and companies like them. They created a "middleman" market whose profits come from increased rates to the consumer. Everyone points to Texas as a model for de-regualtion, yet the company's that were exempted from "competition" (coops and municipals) are ALL cheaper than those offering "choice". 2.Gaming continues. We get ERCOT capacity alerts all the time, even in mild weather. The reason is none of the generators will commit to load in the morning hours. This creates a "shortfall of generation" and the resulting emergency drives the price up. THEN the generators fire up at the higher rates. 3.It's really hard to keep trees out of transmission and distribution lines if every time you go to cut one, you get sued by the land owner and his EPA lawyer. The Feds like to blame the utilities greed on not doing maintenance, yet won't pass the laws allowing them to do the maintenance. 4. North Americans are gluttons. It's ridiculous that a 4 member family needs a 3500 square foot home and the resulting energy required to heat/cool it. 25 years ago, we hung 7.5 and 10 KVA transformers on residences. Now we routinely hang 25 KVA's on average houses and often go to 50 and 75 KVA units on the rich ones. 5. Nobody wants a transmission line in their own back yard. Everybody wants the power and Dadgummit, the government ought to make those @$#%@* utilities get us more power.....as long as it's in your back yard, not mine. 6. If you think gouging the consumer is over yet, just wait. The Public Utility Commision of Texas has presented a strawman to REQUIRE utilities to install IDR (interval data recorders) metering on residences with the provision that the costs involved will, by mandate, be passed on to the consumer. The theory here is that if the homeowner has "real-time data and pricing", he can make intelligent decisions on his energy consumption. (Based on the assumption that a guy who can't figure out how to turn his own AC thermostat up in the summer to lower his bill will actuall follow the competitive market on a 15 minute interval basis to make the same decision.) So the utility has to install a high dollar meter, the communications infra-structure to collect, analyze and store MASSIVE amounts of data and regurgitate that same data back to the consumer on a real time basis. And the consumer is required to foot the bill.
As you can tell by now, I work for one of the hated POCO's, but quite frankly I sick of seeing us get the ALL the blame for high prices that are largely fixed by the lobbyists who buy our legislators.
Am I ranting yet?
#71663 - 11/04/0612:03 PMRe: What's wrong with the grid?
4. North Americans are gluttons. It's ridiculous that a 4 member family needs a 3500 square foot home and the resulting energy required to heat/cool it. 25 years ago, we hung 7.5 and 10 KVA transformers on residences. Now we routinely hang 25 KVA's on average houses and often go to 50 and 75 KVA units on the rich ones.
That's all the developers build these days. People want new houses, and they buy huge McMansions that used to be a 100 acre farm. "No, we don't want one of those 'falling down' 1200 square foot Levittown/Fairless Hills Houses!"
5. Nobody wants a transmission line in their own back yard. Everybody wants the power and Dadgummit, the government ought to make those @$#%@* utilities get us more power.....as long as it's in your back yard, not mine.
Correction: Rich people (Yardley!) don't want them in their back yards. So where do they wind up? Right behind my house, cut right through Levittown. Every tree along that route was chainsawed last year when the POCO upgraded those towers/lines.
What's wrong with the grid?
Nothing. What's wrong with the people of the US and electricity consumption? A lot.
Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?
#71664 - 11/04/0606:43 PMRe: What's wrong with the grid?
er..... I own a 3500 sq foot house. There are two of us, and 2 small mutts. I have a 60A 230v [13.8 kVa] supply. We run oil fired central heating, central forced ventilation and aircon. My computer is online 12-16 hrs a day, and we watch tv till our eyes go square am, midday and evening. We have a dishwasher, a washing machine, 2 refrigerators, a freezer, 2 electric/gas cooking ranges, a deepfat fryer, a bread machine, a toaster, a microwave, an electric kettle [and electric toothbrushes!]. I run my workshop machines most days; in fact since we don't have jobs, we are burning current 24/7. Where the heck are these Mcwhassisname guys burning so much juice?
Wood work but can't!
#71665 - 11/04/0608:49 PMRe: What's wrong with the grid?
Alan: Could it be you're in France, and quite a few folks drive economic compact cars also??
The "American Way", McMansions, Expeditions, Suburbans, & the revival of the 'Hemi'......hmmmmm.....
OK, I confess; CA/gas fired heat, gas cooking, multi TV's, PC & laptop, fax, copy, print, paddle fans, (2) frig, etc., etc.
Power is taken for granted, until a failure, or another area blackout.
Our POCO (JCP&L/First Energy/GPU) recently completed transmission line work out to the barrier island, after an extensive holiday weekend failure. Yes, they had all the usual static re: the lines, etc., but it got approved.
#71666 - 11/04/0610:52 PMRe: What's wrong with the grid?
Going along with the problems of the grid. Does anyone have the Electrical Contractor Sep 06 issue? Well if you do then on page 290 they talk about nanoscience stands poised to change electrical work. The article is fascinating because it talks about how electricity can be transmitted across continets, and electricity can be stored in buildings and even backpacks it says. “It would provide utilities with the ability to transport hundreds of gigawatts of power down a single cable.” Now if this is true wouldn’t this fix the grid problem? Also I can’t find a link for those that might not have the magazine, maybe someone out there can, but I found it real exciting to be in this field at this time a lot of new things on the horizon. What you think?
#71667 - 11/05/0601:12 AMRe: What's wrong with the grid?
Just got done installing 188 MR-16 recessed cans in a 2500Sq' with 2 AC units, commercial reffer for the walk-in white wine storage room, 3 plasmas, 2 sub-zeros, 2 dishwashers, 2 of every other appliance, 4 baths 1 with steam, and hydronic heat - even in the garage - "So the dogs feet dont get cold." Not to mention motorized window shades. It has a 400A service, and it will be spinning like a top! But hey - its several months of work......
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
#71669 - 11/05/0604:19 AMRe: What's wrong with the grid?
John, I admit we are careful with our expenditure, as we don't command big salaries anymore. We turn off apparatus we aren't using, and we have time clocks on stuff to take advantage of cheap night rates. As to cars, my French neighbors typically drive small cars [many are diesels] or small tractors. The local Brit population, [about 15%], seem to drive much bigger 4x4s. Do these impress the locals? NO!
As to the dullards in Gummint, [ third-rate brains but nice hair!], currently making a lot of quacking noises over this side of the pond about global warming, the mind boggles at their utter stupidity as to their solution to the problem. Which is that old chestnut: MORE TAXES!
I kid you not, I watched last week, with utter incredulity, a Senior British Government Minister proposing "quack!quack! additional energy taxes on motor fuel to save the Planet, quack! quack! ". [ The *&~@$#$ already cream off 85% of the pump price ]. Of course, she added, as the Opposition Benches bayed for blood, there would be " quack! quack! compensatory reductions in income taxes, quack!quack!". "YOU BLOODY FOOL! They will just use the extra income to fund their gas guzzlers!"
[ That was me shouting at the tv, which you find yourself doing a lot as you cruise into your dotage!]
[This message has been edited by Alan Belson (edited 11-05-2006).]
Wood work but can't!
#71670 - 11/05/0605:52 AMRe: What's wrong with the grid?
The "McMansion" designs do sometimes leave me wondering whether it's all really necessary, not just from the energy consumption point of view but also from certain other aspects of the designs, e.g. providing one bathroom per bedroom. If I had all that space, I'd rather use it for storage (of which I never seem to have enough!).
Most homes here still get by with relatively modest power supplies compared to these sort of standards. 80 to 100A services (at 240V) are pretty much the norm for most new houses, and even then the extra power is often provided only to allow for the use of instant 9kW showers which are only running for a few minutes at a time. Many older homes, even those which are all electric for cooking, water and space heating, get by quite adequately on 60A services.
That's not to say that consumption here hasn't increased considerably in more recent years, for it has. Dishwashers, dryers, air-conditioning units, and fancy lighting are all far more common now than they were 30 years ago. The sheer number of extra houses being crammed into parts of the country which are already over-crowded (especially the southeast, around London) is taking its toll too.
I watched last week, with utter incredulity, a Senior British Government Minister proposing "quack!quack! additional energy taxes on motor fuel to save the Planet, quack! quack! ".
Don't get me started on that one! Gas is already over $6 per U.S. gallon, of which something like $4.70 is tax. That's on top of the $330 annual vehicle tax, not to mention insurance premium tax, M.o.T. fees, and 17.5% VAT (sales tax) on spares. And the roads around here (that the "road fund license" supposedly covers for maintenance) are rapidly becoming like something you might expect in the third world -- potholes, rough surfaces, edges overgrown, etc.