Re: electric rate & fees survey

On Fri, 7 Dec 2007 20:46:02 +0000 (UTC), enigma <enigma@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

i have an appliance repair guy here now & he is telling me
the propane is probably contaminated. i have orange flames on
the range & water heater. my complaint was it takes longer to
cook stuff than it used to. that's because the burners aren't
running as hot. there's no adjust valve on the range either.

There really isn't too much that can contaminate propane that would reach the burner.
All sorts of stuff could be dissolved in the liquid but since evaporation to gas is a
distillation process, anything significantly less volatile than propane would stay
behind. Even air over the gas would be dissipated in a bit.

Only thing that comes to mind that could be there and would cause problems at the
burner would be another more dense but with similar vapor pressure hydrocarbon.
Hexane, something like that maybe.

Are the tips orange, indicating a rich mixture or are the orange throughout such as
when you sprinkle salt into a flame? If the tips are orange then the first thing I'd
do is check the pressure. It should be 11" of water at the appliance inlet. Low
pressure can cause rich conditions on some burner styles because the venturi action
isn't working well.

yeah, the fees are excessive in my opinion. the fees are
proportional to usage.
my next door neighbors are, um, city people not adjusting
well to rural life. they have huge spotlights all around their
house lighting up their entire little acre. i think they have
kids, but they are rarely allowed outside to play (fear of
bears or wolves) so we never see them. i don't think i'd want
to be sharing & paying for all those spotlights ;)

What I had in mind was one utility meter and two or more privately owned revenue
meters underneath. That way each sharer would pay his proportion of the bill. If
most of the fees are proportional to usage then this wouldn't be of much help. The
other situation where this would be effective is if the fees are capped at certain
monthly energy usage. If you're near the cap already then two or more of you on the
same meter would hit the cap quickly.

i just looked at my NY electric bill & the fees are higher
than the actual electricty usage cost.
Electricity Delivery Charges
Customer charge 19.38
Bill issuance charge 0.62
Delivery charge 223 kwh @ 0.0227 5.06
Transition charge - Oct 43 kwh @ -0.01302 -0.56
Transition charge - Nov 180 kwh @ -0.03031 -5.46
Retail access surcharge 223 kwh @ 0.00201 0.45
SBC/RPS charge 223 kwh @ 0.001162 0.26
Subtotal Electricity Delivery $19.75

"Bill issuance charge"? Those pricks are getting worse than banks.

Electricity Supply Charges
Variable supply charge 223 kwh @ 0.06917511 15.43
Subtotal Electricity Supply $15.43

Electricity Taxes and Surcharges
Taxes on delivery charges @ 2.0408% 0.40
Subtotal Electricity Taxes and Surcharges $0.40
Total Electricity Cost $35.58

that does include a hydroelectric 'savings' of $2.48

Have y'all been "deregulated"? (sic)

Does an electric fence really use much power? I can't
imagine much, but then again, I've never metered one.

i'm not sure. it would be worth metering to find out. i think
the big energy hogs are the stock tank heater & the heat
lights in the chicken barn (the regular lights are CF & boy
are they dim when it's cold out!)

If you put the CF inside a waterproof/explosion proof fixture like I commonly see in
barns and my walk-in freezer then it'll hold the heat in and the lamp will be fine.
Mine worked just fine in a -20 deg F freezer.

I'm thinking about an electric fence charger. The ones I've had apart use
essentially neon transformers. Typically a 50% duty cycle. The load is almost
completely capacitive until something touches it. That would indicate a relatively
high input current, very low power factor, low true watts draw. Depending on how
clean your fence line is, I'd expect the draw to be in the 50 watt range or below.

Were I in your shoes, I'd probably do a detailed energy
audit, measuring every single energy consumer in your
house. I'd look at alternatives and their costs. For
instance, if you have central heat, would you be better off
with a propane unvented heater in each room and only run
them when the room is occupied?

central oil burner, one zone. different rooms are different
temperatures depending how far they are from the furnace &
where & how many heat vents in the room. the great room has
*one* heat vent that is near the kitchen. the room is 25' x
20' with a vaulted ceiling. it is too damn cold in there for
me. it rarely gets above 53 in the winter. it can be heated
with the fireplace, but that's the stupid right angle bend
that has chimney fires at least annually.

How new is the oil burner? Have you had it tuned by a competent boiler technician?
If this is a hot air furnace, it sounds like it needs some damper tuning. Whomever
installed the thing should have done it but you know how that goes...

i have considered putting ventless gas logs in there though.
the problem i see with that is that the base of the fireplace
is solid fieldstone & cement. no way to drill in a hole for a
gas line. i'm also not sure if gas logs would heat the stones
like a fire does. once that fireplace gets heated up, the
thermal mass gives off lots of heat.

It'll probably produce more satisfactory heat if the rocks don't heat up. The rocks
would divert heat away from you when you're in the room and radiate it back out (and
conduct it outside) when you've turned the unit off and left.

I'm not a big fan of ventless fire places because the rich flame worries me regarding
CO. I'm a much bigger fan of the ceramic surface burner heaters. Nonetheless, I
helped a friend install a ventless stand-alone fireplace recently and was reasonably
impressed. It is one of those units that just sits against the wall. I installed
him a NightHawk CO monitor and so far the thing hasn't budged off zero. With a
ceiling fan in the top to push the hot air back down, it's heating his A-frame cabin
nicely. Even has a remote control :-)

Is wood heat an option there? How about other alternatives
such as waste oil? I recently helped a friend install a
waste oil furnace in his garage. Used motor oil is
available free for the asking around here so his heating
bill dropped to essentially zero, involving only the
electricity necessary for the blower and burner.

wood is an option. one of those outdoor wood heaters might be

I have extended operating experience with two outdoor wood furnaces (three counting
my homemade one) and I have to say that I'm very impressed. The one I like the best
of any I've seen is the Hardy Heater This is
the one my friend and I installed that is heating his house and his large metal
building shop. His is the H4 and the system cost about $7k. This included
everything including the coils that were mounted in his central air handler. I tried
to talk him into radiant floor heat but he wouldn't go for it. Bad mistake.

His wood usage is but a small fraction of what he's been burning with a fireplace
insert, heating only his house. I won't know the total until the year is over
(wasn't in a full year last year).

i have used the dining room & parlor fireplaces when the
electric has gone out. unfortunately those are a balancing act
beause the flues are huge (at least 2' x 3') & it's a tossup
if it heats the rooms or just sucks more heat up the chimney.

We put a Buck Stove fireplace insert in here on top of a Heatalator. The insert
ruined the fire place as a fire place but damn if it doesn't throw out the heat.
Frankly, too much heat for this <1000 sq ft cabin. Even on the lowest fire, the heat
is too much and I frequently have the doors and windows open, even in freezing
weather. Still, an inexpensive and efficient way to make a fireplace earn its keep.

John De Armond
See my website for my current email address <-- best little blog on the net!
Tellico Plains, Occupied TN
So you're a feminist... Isn't that cute!