Smart meters (again?)

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PDQ Mobile
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby PDQ Mobile » 28 Oct 2020, 11:32pm

And yet if I go to gridwatch I see demand is now low yet both pumped hydro(which is therefore unused storage) and hydro(quickly shut down) are both still generating.
Gas turbine too
And loads of imported leccy from France etc.
Wind is high tonight too. Over 40%.
That says to me the surplus, esp of renewables, that you insist is the basis of such pricing does not exist at the moment. And there still is scope for quickly reducing generation and hence saving water and gas at least, for tomrws peak demand.
It is a business model I don't understand.
And I don't think the oil tanker analogy stands up well.
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kwackers
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby kwackers » 29 Oct 2020, 9:42am

PDQ Mobile wrote:And yet if I go to gridwatch I see demand is now low yet both pumped hydro(which is therefore unused storage) and hydro(quickly shut down) are both still generating.
Gas turbine too
And loads of imported leccy from France etc.
Wind is high tonight too. Over 40%.
That says to me the surplus, esp of renewables, that you insist is the basis of such pricing does not exist at the moment. And there still is scope for quickly reducing generation and hence saving water and gas at least, for tomrws peak demand.
It is a business model I don't understand.
And I don't think the oil tanker analogy stands up well.


I assume you took that snapshot last night - demand is 25gw - that's 15gw down on normal peak which is par for the course and of course the number I calculated a fleet of 20 million EV's would require overnight.

I can't speak for when and how they use their resources and I suspect neither can you - you do seem to be assuming they should run things the way you think they should be run when in truth just like me you haven't a clue.
The reality is they're massively more qualified then either of us to decide how and when to bring things online and I'm also guessing that by the lack of power cuts (and excessive voltage peaks) that they do a pretty good job.

Pumped storage may well be dumping energy cheap in preparation for the windy days coming up, French nuclear may simply have too much and are paying us to use it, gas may be too expensive to shut down, all of which combine to mean the overall mix of costs is very low.
Of course these are just speculation and assumptions we're both making - perhaps we should assume the experts know what they're doing and the price realistically reflects the value - or have you also had enough of experts?

FWIW here are last nights prices - bear in mind the actual wholesale price is less than half what these show.
The wholesale prices are of course what the market for energy dictates they're worth which isn't based on your tariff (you chose that tariff not me, feel free to pick a better one rather than whine about folk who can be bothered).
Of course your particular tariff assumes that you're paying full whack for the energy prices below in order to subsidise your overly cheap peak time use. I on the other hand pay a realistic price for peak time energy.
We're both choosing tariffs that suit our needs - unlike you I have no problem with that.

As for the oil tankers it's a perfect analogy.
If something has no value then you can't give it away regardless of how much it cost you to produce, and if you must get shut then you'll have to pay someone to take it away.

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Graham
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby Graham » 29 Oct 2020, 10:48am

For what it's worth, I have switched to Octopus.
I will be eagerly awaiting for them to fit the Smart meters and will later evaluate whether to move to the Agile tariff.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking about solar PV - but not on the roof : I want full access to the panels. *
I've put too much window glass on the South-west side of the house and would very much like to shade the glass from the sun for six months of the year.
What better than to have the shade canopy ( veranda ? ) covered in solar panels.

* Solar panels on the roof - I worry about :-
- The need for roof repairs AFTER the panels fitted. i.e. what chance of finding a roofer who will carefully evaluate a roof BEFORE the panels go on. Is such an evaluation even possible ?
- Pidgeons and other flying dinosaurs nesting under the panels.
- Lichen, algae, dinosaur droppings and builders careless duststorms requiring manual cleaning of the panels.

By conventional economics, at my low leccy usage this would never payback . . . . . but then conventional economics is a key component of the "destructor economy".

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby PDQ Mobile » 29 Oct 2020, 11:07am

^^kwackers.
I am merely politely pointing out what I see as discrepancies in what you state happens.
And you say "whining", hmmm.

I have no real issue with those low rates you show, only with negative tariffs.
Just as I understand the need to maybe give the stuff for free occasionally. Though I wish that could be passed on to the wider consumer base.

If the wholesale price is half those shown rates i.e. 3 or 4p then my 18 something p plus VAT rate would seem to generate a decent profit?
And is not being subsidized as you have suggested.
For it surely happily offsets any peak period where supply reaches over tariff pricing levels for an hour or so?

I am not really concerned with those fluctuations or peaks because what I absolutely need is a continuous and reliable small supply.
Important, primarily, for a fridge and a freezer preserving (mostly) home grown food.
And some lighting though I have candles !
They are all low demand high eco rating appliances and my consumption reflects it.
(I might add that the kwh price has roughly doubled in the last decade.)

This reliability of supply is perhaps the main reason I persist with Scot Power as a supplier, for they are the infrastructure maintainers here in the wild and stormy west.
So the theory, and it seems to work, is that when storm damage occurs they repair more quickly and I only have to deal with one company.

The oil tanker analogy doesn't work for me because that situation was brought about by a short term oversupply as a result of the unforeseen pandemic.
The oil was already extracted and THEN demand collapsed.
Whereas leccy generation can be much more quickly adapted to short term fluctuation in demand and then should remain profitable, (or at least pay cost price!), to its producers.

Ps. Lots of wind and rain today. Good for quackers of all types!
Brighter later maybe.

kwackers
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby kwackers » 29 Oct 2020, 11:15am

Graham wrote:* Solar panels on the roof - I worry about :-
- The need for roof repairs AFTER the panels fitted. i.e. what chance of finding a roofer who will carefully evaluate a roof BEFORE the panels go on. Is such an evaluation even possible ?
- Pidgeons and other flying dinosaurs nesting under the panels.
- Lichen, algae, dinosaur droppings and builders careless duststorms requiring manual cleaning of the panels.

By conventional economics, at my low leccy usage this would never payback . . . . . but then conventional economics is a key component of the "destructor economy".

I need a new roof so I'm thinking about flush fitting panels - in theory I'd offset the cost of tiles and stop birds nesting underneath.
There are quite a few upcoming 'innovations' in these areas though so I'm biding my time.

However, a big chunk of my usage is a myriad of small devices all pulling a few watts here and there.
Overall my house ticks over at about 300w and I can't see an easy way to reduce that without compromising the things I do.

So as a temporary measure I have considered putting (say) 4 panels on the roof (or even my shed roof).
My rough calculations suggest they'd make a decent hole in that usage since it's power I can pretty much always use rather than export (unlike a full sized array which will often be underutilised).

In theory this means the payback time for such a small array would be much faster than a full sized array.

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby PDQ Mobile » 29 Oct 2020, 11:17am

Graham wrote:By conventional economics, at my low leccy usage this would never payback . . . . . but then conventional economics is a key component of the "destructor economy".

Yes that's how I see it.
The low user economics of solar installation (still) don't add up.
Especially here in the cloudy and short winter day west.

The former hefty subsidies were the only way and they pushed up bills for non solar generators.

While I support the need for new and clean generating methods, it doesn't mean I can't be critical of some aspects of those sometimes poorly thought out and implemented policy directions.

kwackers
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby kwackers » 29 Oct 2020, 11:30am

PDQ Mobile wrote:I have no real issue with those low rates you show, only with negative tariffs.
Just as I understand the need to maybe give the stuff for free occasionally. Though I wish that could be passed on to the wider consumer base.

It is passed onto the wider consumer base - your supplier is paid for the energy and charges you full price. They make more money which they in theory they use to subsidise their average rate.

So what's your problem?

PDQ Mobile wrote:If the wholesale price is half those shown rates i.e. 3 or 4p then my 18 something p plus VAT rate would seem to generate a decent profit?
And is not being subsidized as you have suggested.

Possibly, possibly not.
Overnight prices aren't always so cheap - they could be 10p and the peak could be 50p.
So making money from you last night doesn't guarantee they'll make money from you next week.
It's just averages, they *hope* the price you pay covers the highs and lows but unlike trackers there are no guarantees that's true.

PDQ Mobile wrote:This reliability of supply is perhaps the main reason I persist with Scot Power as a supplier, for they are the infrastructure maintainers here in the wild and stormy west.
So the theory, and it seems to work, is that when storm damage occurs they repair more quickly and I only have to deal with one company.

The people who provide the power to your house doesn't change regardless of whom you choose as the middle man.
I don't know how often you have to deal with anyone but for me it's almost never, far better to save money.
(I'm not even sure the folk who deal with the grid around me actually sell energy anyway).

PDQ Mobile wrote:The oil tanker analogy doesn't work for me because that situation was brought about by a short term oversupply as a result of the unforeseen pandemic.
The oil was already extracted and THEN demand collapsed.
Whereas leccy generation can be much more quickly adapted to short term fluctuation in demand and then should remain profitable, (or at least pay cost price!), to its producers.

Same happens with energy but over an even longer term, oil extraction is the same as deciding to build a power station.
Why do you think Hinkley point is going to be so expensive? When it was first mooted and prices set it looked OK. But since then demand has fallen, green energy has gotten cheaper faster than folk realised and suddenly it looks like an expensive lemon.
Once it comes online energy prices will climb to cover it - given the guaranteed unit price it has I'm curious as to how it's going to be run. True wind costs are in the order of a couple of pennies, it simply can't compete most of the time.
One things for sure - your 18p tariff won't cover the cost of running it.


PDQ Mobile wrote:Ps. Lots of wind and rain today. Good for quackers of all types!
Brighter later maybe.

My wife is loading her kiln as I type. ;)

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Graham
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby Graham » 29 Oct 2020, 11:44am

I used to be a Smart Meter sceptic . . . . when used with conventional ( flat ) tariffs they do seem pretty useless.

However, given the opportunity to flatten the generation curve, that seems beneficial from the widest perspective.

I still have a longer-term concern that, even with a flattened generation curve, that the transition from fossil-fuel burning to renewable electric will swamp the renewable electric capacity.

We all travel too far, too much, in heavy metal boxes . . . . to satisfy our whims ( a.k.a. quality-of-life ). This seems to be insatiable.

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby PDQ Mobile » 29 Oct 2020, 11:58am

kwackers wrote:My wife is loading her kiln as I type. ;)

She's a hotty! :shock:

Mine too, but she's sat in front of a blazing wood-burner doing repairs.

kwackers
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby kwackers » 29 Oct 2020, 12:06pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:Yes that's how I see it.
The low user economics of solar installation (still) don't add up.
Especially here in the cloudy and short winter day west.

That's not really true.

They only don't add up if you fit a normal sized array, but in practise you could just put a couple of cheap panels on top of a shed and use a small invertor, such a system could simply plug into your existing mains.
Couple of hundred quid - less if you buy them second hand (the local market place had 250w panels taken off a demolition for £20 each a few days ago).

Solar is actually very scalable.
Throw in a couple of deep cycle lead acid batteries and a few hours sun may well provide a "low user" with energy for 24 hours - days like today notwithstanding.

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby PDQ Mobile » 29 Oct 2020, 12:16pm

But living where I do I have two biggish old pumped storage facilities nearby and a great deal of wind from Liverpool Bay.
A small hydro 2MW hydro station quite close and several micro hydro schemes too.
Nuclear gone! And conventional sources over by you somewhere - it's a long transmission distance.
So the theoretical mix here is pretty sustainable (for a couple of fridges!).

Today there's little solar available and tonight there's none.
Though the wood-burner is solar powered. :shock:

I thought your 300 watts of "myriad devices" powered by shed roof solar somewhat disingenuous given the kiln, the car and doubtless other domestic stuff.
Almost a fantasy one could say.

kwackers
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby kwackers » 29 Oct 2020, 12:26pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:I thought your 300 watts of "myriad devices" powered by shed roof solar somewhat disingenuous given the kiln, the car and doubtless other domestic stuff.
Almost a fantasy one could say.

I don't follow?

I have a 300w (ish) baseline.
That's 300w powering various servers, alarm panel, security cameras, routers, wifi etc etc.

Where does the car/kiln etc come into this? They affect the average not the baseline use.

My point was I could negate most of that baseline by fitting a couple of panels temporarily in place whilst waiting until my roof is redone to fit a larger system.
By negating that baseline then most of the day I wouldn't pull power from the grid. Looking at typical solar returns for my area and assuming a couple of 320w panels I estimate I could more than halve that baseline energy use.

This is fairly cost effective because all the energy the panels create is used unlike a larger array which varies much more in percentage use terms.

(Having said that, if I continue working from home then I need another 4-500w to cover computers etc so ideally I'd need 4 panels rather than 2)
Last edited by kwackers on 29 Oct 2020, 12:28pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RickH
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby RickH » 29 Oct 2020, 12:27pm

I think it is easy to miss the point about negative pricing for electricity. All large scale generators of electricity (of any sort, renewable or otherwise) have contracts that pays them a significant amount to switch off their generation*. That is a subsidy that everybody ultimately pays. If you can persuade some people to use that electricity by paying them something, but less than the cost of a switch off, then it saves all of us money.

(*There are also suppliers who are paid to not supply energy most of the time but are there for emergency local backup & only feed into the grid when there is a fault of some sort in the regular generation)

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby PDQ Mobile » 29 Oct 2020, 12:28pm

^^ kwackers
Cool.

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Smart meters (again?)

Postby PDQ Mobile » 29 Oct 2020, 2:17pm

RickH wrote:I think it is easy to miss the point about negative pricing for electricity. All large scale generators of electricity (of any sort, renewable or otherwise) have contracts that pays them a significant amount to switch off their generation*. That is a subsidy that everybody ultimately pays. If you can persuade some people to use that electricity by paying them something, but less than the cost of a switch off, then it saves all of us money


I don't agree.
The suppliers could give it for free or for a small amount, something under cost.
Because people (with these flexible tariffs) would use it anyway.
What alternative do they have?


That would increase the margins and operating profits of thise companies, because they have saved those negative costs, and we could all enjoy cheaper and more sustainable leccy supplies.