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Old 06-22-2010, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 7,607,989 times
Reputation: 1033

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There's a really cool new web site for those of you that have smart meters:

https://www.smartmetertexas.com/CAP/..._overview.html

Once you're signed up, you can see your electric usage in 15-minute intervals as well as daily reads. I've been watching mine for the last month or so (and watching it go up as the heat climbs). Here are some of my findings:

- Setting the thermostat back while at the office indeed saves a lot of energy (10-20%)
- I was surprised that our powered attic fans use 600 watts of power (2 fans, total wattage)
- Our usage for Saturdays and Sundays are notably higher - having more lights on, watching TV, running our computers, etc - definitely increases usage.

Over the years, we've done a lot of energy efficiency projects around the house (insulated the attic, 65% of our windows upgraded to dual-pane low-e, 16-SEER dual-speed AC, several other smaller projects). On Sunday (6/20), it was 99 degrees. Even though we're conditioning 2576 sq ft of space, we used 68.8 KwH that day. We run our thermostat at 76 degrees with no set back on the weekends - so theoretically, if we had 99 degree sunny days for 30 days in a row, we'd use 2,064 KwH in a month. At our current rate (including base + taxes), we'd pay about $265 for that month. Looking at our usage during the current billing cycle, I project our June bill we be in the $190-200 range.

On 6/9, when it was only 69 degrees with no sun - we used 20KwH. Looking back through February, the lowest daily usage we've seen is 15KwH.

If you haven't checked out this site - and have a digital electric meter - it's very interesting information. While the data by it self won't help you to save much, it can certainly help you to understand where your energy goes and help you prioritize energy efficiency projects.

When we moved into our house - the previous owner had $600+ monthly electric bills in the summer. The new AC unit itself is responsible for roughly 60% of our savings - and at the end of 5 cooling seasons, will have paid for itself. Our insulation took 2 years to pay for itself (saved 10-20% on cooling bills, but 30% on heating bills). It's rather interesting that now, our January heating bill will be larger than our July cooling bill. Who'd have thought?!

Hope this data is useful - if anyone else gets on this site, please post some of your data. I'm very interested to see it. From folks I've talked to, our home is pretty efficient, especially for one built in the 70's.

Brian
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:26 PM
 
864 posts, read 2,264,450 times
Reputation: 488
Thanks for this. I have a smart meter and was hoping to get this data. Google has a project but most TX energy companies don't participate yet so I am happy to see this although I get weekly usage reports from my energy provider (Reliant). This breaks it down even more and while you can't get real-time data, you get info from 2 days before. Pretty good if you ask me. THANKS!

As to our usage, of course during the summer the bulk of our electricity usage is A/C. During the day upstairs is set to 85, downstairs 77. Then when we sleep downstairs is set to 71. You'd think based on that info alone, our high usage would be during the night, but of course it's not since a lot of it is dependent on temperature.

When we wake up the electricity usage spikes up even though first thing we do when we get up is put the downstairs back at 77. Probably because of outside temperature in the morning.

Then as I've learned, unlike CA when the hottest time of the day is usually 3pm, here it is usually the hottest between 4 and 6pm and of course I see a spike there. And of course there are spikes when we do go upstairs and then turn down the upstairs to 75.

What's great about the linked website is that you get info for 15 minute intervals. Not that I can do much about it, but it sucks to see that on a certain day from 5:15pm to 5:30pm we used 2.891 kWh.

We are trying to see how high we can tolerate the temperature of the downstairs during the day, since turning down the downstairs to 71 isn't what causes our bill to be high. Today for instance I set the downstairs to 78 to see how it goes. Hoping we can tolerate 80 during the day (hoping my wife can tolerate it :-)), 77 or even 75 during the evenings, and then 71 for the night.

Last edited by pappy97; 06-22-2010 at 12:36 PM..
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 7,607,989 times
Reputation: 1033
Yup, AC is definitely the big energy hog in the summer. Make sure to rinse off your outdoor unit and change your air filters monthly - these items will make a big difference.

We've learned that leaving the thermostat at 76 when we're home - including when we sleep - works fine. When we go to bed though, we turn on our ceiling fan in the bedroom. That makes a major difference. We used to turn it down to 74 at night. With the ceiling fan, it's no longer necessary.

Now that the providers can see usage based on 15-minute buckets, I wonder how much longer it will be before they switch over to time-of-day based rates. It's just a matter of time before they move to a peak/off-peak time type billing. I could see us paying 14-15 cents/kwh during "peak" times and 8-9 cents/kwh during "off-peak" times. This sort of billing would certainly help the financials for installing small solar arrays on homes! I know if my "peak" rate goes up to the rates I've mentioned above, we'll be installing a system that could generate 30-50% of our total energy usage (about what we use during "peak" times).

Brian
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:29 PM
 
27,462 posts, read 44,959,956 times
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don't have a smart meter but very interesting to know about the site

and I agree that the electric providers will likely try to set rates do that peak usage gets peak rates...
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 7,607,989 times
Reputation: 1033
I know there has been some discussion here before as to whether doing a setback on your AC will save money or not. Here's some data:

6/16 - 43.9KwH - used set back, high: 97; low: 80
6/17 - 44.5KwH - used set back, high: 97; low: 80
6/18 - 64.9KwH - no set back, high: 97; low: 80
6/19 - 64.7KwH - no set back, high: 97; low: 80
6/20 - 68.8KwH - no set back, high: 99; low: 79
6/21 - 54.7KwH - used set back, high: 99; low: 82

As you can see, the set back definitely decreases our overall energy usage. When we're not using a set back, I am working from home. The only extra thing turned on while I'm here is my laptop, which uses barely any power - definitely not the 10-13KwH difference seen in the above numbers.

Brian
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:17 PM
 
Location: East Dallas
931 posts, read 1,744,440 times
Reputation: 634
Quote:
A meter with a digital display is not necessarily a Smart Meter. If you have any questions about what kind of meter you have, please contact your Retail Electric Provider.
I got the first smart meter which is now a dumb meter. Of course the customer had to pay extra for it and now will have to pay again. I just love deregulation which is nothing more than a license to steal from consumers.
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:26 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
887 posts, read 2,487,453 times
Reputation: 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by lh_newbie View Post
I know there has been some discussion here before as to whether doing a setback on your AC will save money or not. Here's some data:

6/16 - 43.9KwH - used set back, high: 97; low: 80
6/17 - 44.5KwH - used set back, high: 97; low: 80
6/18 - 64.9KwH - no set back, high: 97; low: 80
6/19 - 64.7KwH - no set back, high: 97; low: 80
6/20 - 68.8KwH - no set back, high: 99; low: 79
6/21 - 54.7KwH - used set back, high: 99; low: 82

As you can see, the set back definitely decreases our overall energy usage. When we're not using a set back, I am working from home. The only extra thing turned on while I'm here is my laptop, which uses barely any power - definitely not the 10-13KwH difference seen in the above numbers.

Brian
What is a "set back"?
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:11 AM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 7,607,989 times
Reputation: 1033
Quote:
Originally Posted by lpepping View Post
What is a "set back"?
Setting the thermostat to an away type mode. In this case, the AC when we're home is 76. When we're at the office, it's "set back" to 82.
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:05 AM
 
Location: West Seattle
178 posts, read 241,489 times
Reputation: 130
I got a smart meter installed a couple of months ago, and my first bill with the meter was 12% higher than the highest bill last year. I've since set up an account at the website above to track the kWh usage, and I'm on track to have an even higher bill this month, even after setting the thermostat 3 degrees higher since the last bill. Yes, I know it's probably been hotter the last two months than it was last August, but these are by far the largest electric bills I've had in my five years at this house. I'm hoping that the programmable thermostat I'm going to install this weekend will make a difference.

Regardless, I'll be giving TXU a call after I get my next bill.
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Old 07-21-2010, 10:41 AM
 
Location: mckinney
108 posts, read 236,804 times
Reputation: 74
I do not have a smart meter yet, thankd goodness!!!
But I see 2 things with all this smart meter crap.
#1 there is nothing we can do, we are all going to get one sooner or later.
#2 our bills will be going up because of this, BUT I think then it is up to us as individual households to figure out where we are using all of our energy and start to conserve, set back, do whatever we can so our bills do not bankrupt us.

I don't want to do #2, but since we cannot do anything about the smart meters, (#1 above) then we just have to do the best with what we got.

OH, we could do #3 get solar or wind power for our homes but then
#4 alternative energy is too expensive!!!

so we are back to #1 and #2.

PLEASE let me and everyone know what we can do to elleviate #1...



good luck to everyone!!!
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