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pende_tim
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Andover, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

[Environmental] OOPS... DelMarva Power and Thermostats

This just reinforces my belief that I need to be in control of my destiny. Happened Tuesday AM when the Northeast had a serious cold snap and energy use wemt through the roof.

»www.wboc.com/story/24389668/delm···EU.email
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

[Environmental] Re: OOPS... DelMarva Power and Thermostats

That reinforces my belief that we all should be in control of our destiny and never give up anything to anyone else. That's why I'm so opposed to the so-called smart meters. There is nothing wrong with the utility being able to read the usage remotely but that's the extent they should be allowed to do.



pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3
reply to pende_tim

I'm not too sure it was an oops. I'm pretty sure this was intentional. I received this somewhat unusual email from the District emergency management agency on Tuesday.

quote:
From: AlertDC
Date: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Subject: Conserve Electricity
To: Utility Alert Recipients

PJM Interconnection, the electricity grid operator for more than 61million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia asks customers to conserve electricity, if health permits – especially from 6 am to 9 am Wednesday. Customers can take simple electricity conservation steps:

• Set thermostats lower than usual, if health permits.

• Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers until mid-day or after 9 pm, when the demand for electricity decreases.

• Turn off electric lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using. Conserving electricity on Wednesday will help PJM ensure an adequate supply of electricity.

Sent by DC HSEMA
It looks like the grid operator predicted demand would exceed generation capacity. When I received the email I briefly wondered if an interconnect agreement had expired or perhaps some facility was taken offline for unplanned maintenance. I realize the weather is unusually cold but I didn't think demand could possibly be greater than peaks during the summer months.

Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to pende_tim

This was not meters though. It was people trying to save money by enrolling in a completely voluntary program, which backfired. Smart meters or dumb meters, utility is not allowed to cut your power for no reason (and around here during winter months they can't even do it for non-payment without a huge hoopla), however if you voluntarily give them control of your thermostat that's customers fault. Just because it's "normally not used in the winter" doesn't mean you didn't give the utility an ability to do it whenever they want. I would be curious to see the contract for this program and what rights it forces the customer to sign away.



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:9
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

Those programs can be beneficial to everybody (those that do enroll as well as everybody else) if they are managed properly.

There are several ways to do it correctly:
- smart thermostats (interacts with smart meter and allows a small temperature adjustment up/down) are probably the best way because heating and cooling equipment remains operating properly and the resulting temperature change in the home won't lead to massive discomfort (or even life threatening). It does ensure an actual energy saving.
- cycle time restrictors limit the power to HVAC equipment to 20 minutes of every hour while activated. This scheme too allows some heating/cooling to occur but its impact on the occupant is less clear nor is the amount of energy savings. A well insulated home may actually keep the set temperature while a poorly insulated one may experience significant temperature swings. Homes with sufficiently large (or oversized) HVAC equipment will be able to return the home to the set temperature within the limited cycle time and therefore may not save any energy at all.

Our utility company offers both of those options (with a rate reduction for those who sign up for it).

Shutting of thermostats completely for an extended period of time as it was done in this case is just plain stupid. There is no point in asking what they were thinking since they clearly didn't think at all.

When there is a genuine shortage of power threatening the electric grid would you rather allow that your home temperature is changing higher/lower then your preferred setting or would you rather take your chance at possibly losing all power for a couple of hours (rotating outage blocks) ?
--
Got some spare cpu cycles ? Join Team Helix or Team Starfire!



PSWired

join:2006-03-26
Annapolis, MD

1 edit
reply to pende_tim

I live in PJM territory and my electric utility is BGE. They did indeed activate their demand curtailment program Tuesday morning, but only for electric water heaters, as I understand it. So some people got lukewarm showers. Their facebook page did not seem to be getting much love.



fluffybunny

@cipherkey.net
reply to leibold

i dont have it in my area but was wondering for those of you who are on these programs -- is it not possible to connect a fake thermostat and have the utility control that (possibly just wire it to DC power) while you use your real thermostats connected to your furnace. rate reduction and no issues with utility control of your furnace.



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:9
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

There are always ways to cheat. That is the easy part. The hard part is getting away with it.

The smart thermostat depends on the customer having a smart meter installed. This means that the utility can easily see whether or not the energy consumption changed during the setback period.

If this was the only way for the utility to know whether or not you bypassed the thermostat you could choose comfortable heating/cooling and reduce your household power consumption in other ways. Not only would the utility not notice your cheat, they wouldn't care since the objective (a reduction in energy usage during a critical time) was met.

However I'm aware of at least one other way for the utility to find out whether or not a customer did the thermostat bypass trick (without the need to send an inspector to your home).
--
Got some spare cpu cycles ? Join Team Helix or Team Starfire!


scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to pende_tim

If I would have gotten such an email from Duke energy Progress - I would have set my (uncontrolled) thermostat to emergency and use my propane furnace. Surely they would be able to supply the power to run that ?
And besides - from 6AM to 1PM my electric tank water heater is off by my installed timer.


Hellrazor

join:2002-02-02
Abyss, PA
reply to pende_tim

They knew what was going on ahead of time. I had a call about the possible PJM curtailment around 1:55pm on Monday. I have 250KW enrolled for a demand response program at work during the summer months. Shed a chiller for a few hours and make money.

"This is a Hess Demand Response Message. Do not curtail energy at this time. PJM has advised of possible voluntary curtailment needed tomorrow, January 7th. PJM indicated possible peaks in both morning and evening periods and that voluntary resources may be required as early as 7 AM EST. As usual, a two hour notification prior to curtailment will be provided. If curtailment is requested, any reduction will be considered voluntary. Performance will not affect future monthly capacity payments. Any reduction that is provided will be eligible for an energy payment."

Any commercial customer enrolled in a demand response program knew well ahead of time there was the possibility of an issue. Can't tell me an electric company didn't have enough warning to get a robo-call out to customers.


TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:2
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel
reply to pike

said by pike:

I realize the weather is unusually cold but I didn't think demand could possibly be greater than peaks during the summer months.

This is just a WAG, but if the temperatures have dropped low enough that heatpumps can no longer operate effectively, electric resistance heating uses considerably more energy. Even more than running the air conditioner (heat pump in reverse) in the summer.


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
reply to pende_tim

Re: [Environmental] OOPS... DelMarva Power and Thermostats

Isn't this better than a rolling blackout?

(Note, this is a serious response, not sarcasm)
--


garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI

I'm surprised they didn't do a rolling chill out. No more than half an hour off at a time, spread around to all the subscribers on a schedule.



Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2

Sounds good, but I am guessing that there were not enough customers enrolled with the thermostat.

At a half hour off, there would probably have been fewer serious complaints.
--



pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3
reply to TheMG

Re: [Environmental] Re: OOPS... DelMarva Power and Thermostats

I considered that but I assume (erroneously perhaps) that homes using electricity for heat are the minority. I believe the last figure I saw was somewhere around 35%, which very well could be out of date.



Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
reply to pende_tim

Re: [Environmental] OOPS... DelMarva Power and Thermostats

I wonder how much money was saved during the t-stat outage versus bringing thousands (millions?) of homes back to normal set point after the outage was stopped? Using the story as an example, their home was at 53 when they woke up. Even if it did not get colder than that, they now needed to come back from a nearly 20 degree setback. Multiply that by all the homes in the program that were turned off.

Sidenote: I've taken plenty of service calls from commercial customers with these programs. We'll get a call about no AC, and show up to find this activated.



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to Cho Baka

said by Cho Baka:

Isn't this better than a rolling blackout?

(Note, this is a serious response, not sarcasm)

Not if you are one with no heat. It would be no difference.


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Cogeco Cable

said by Jack_in_VA:

said by Cho Baka:

Isn't this better than a rolling blackout?

(Note, this is a serious response, not sarcasm)

Not if you are one with no heat. It would be no difference.

The major differences are that the rest of the house still has power.

Add to this that the neighbors with gas and oil furnaces/boilers are still heated.
--


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Cogeco Cable
reply to Lurch77

said by Lurch77:

Even if it did not get colder than that, they now needed to come back from a nearly 20 degree setback. Multiply that by all the homes in the program that were turned off.

I think the point here was that the grid couldn't support the peak load at that time. Yes, they needed to come back from a lower temp, but the load from that has been shifted to a later time.
--


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to Cho Baka

That's why I say those using electricity it would make no diference and is really punishing those customers while favoring those with gas or oil heat.

This was an ill advised action and those responsible should be held accountable.

About the same as the bridge lane closings in NJ.



Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Cogeco Cable

There is no favoritism. Those customers accepted that program and the lower rates that go with it. Their coffeemakers and lights still worked.

And, this was not the same as the bridge closing in NJ. That was nothing but criminal malice and spite.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree.
--



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

said by Cho Baka:

Those customers accepted that program and the lower rates that go with it.

That I agree with you. When you give control of your destiny to others be prepared to get burned. It's not worth it for the pittance in savings.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
reply to Cho Baka

said by Cho Baka:

I think the point here was that the grid couldn't support the peak load at that time. Yes, they needed to come back from a lower temp, but the load from that has been shifted to a later time.

The program is voluntary, with an incentive to save the customer money with discounts. But any savings just got reduced or tossed out. Now why would anyone be willing to volunteer for the program after seeing this one example?


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to pike

Re: [Environmental] Re: OOPS... DelMarva Power and Thermostats

said by pike:

I considered that but I assume (erroneously perhaps) that homes using electricity for heat are the minority. I believe the last figure I saw was somewhere around 35%, which very well could be out of date.

However - there can be areas where houses built in the 70's used electricity. Near where I live an entire area of the city has all electric homes. They actually put a emblem around the door bell button announcing that the house was all electric.

There are still a lot of places that have electric heat from the same period of time. So small cities like the one I live in, could have more than 35% of the homes on electric heat. All depends on the area, when the houses were built, and what types of heat sources they had at the time of building.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to pende_tim

Re: [Environmental] OOPS... DelMarva Power and Thermostats

sounds like a bad setup. Unless the heat is electric its grid load is minimal.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports



Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

1 edit
reply to pende_tim

said by pende_tim:

This just reinforces my belief that I need to be in control of my destiny. Happened Tuesday AM when the Northeast had a serious cold snap and energy use wemt through the roof.

»www.wboc.com/story/24389668/delm···EU.email

The Biggest cost is transmission fees and We can scam you because it's legal fees.

it accounts for 85.8% of your bill.

the True cost for a 36$ electric bill is only 5$ and some change.
so 30$ is just "fees"
--
Live Free or Die Hard...

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

said by Anonymous_:

said by pende_tim:

This just reinforces my belief that I need to be in control of my destiny. Happened Tuesday AM when the Northeast had a serious cold snap and energy use wemt through the roof.

»www.wboc.com/story/24389668/delm···EU.email

The Biggest cost is transmission fees and We can scam you because it's legal fees.

it accounts for 85.8% of your bill.

the True cost for a 36$ electric bill is only 5$ and some change.
so 30$ is just "fees"

This seems to be the route of more than one utility or service today. The actual product sold cost is somewhat low but they pile on the fees.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports