Is the electricity really cheaper?

Discussion in 'Prime Fuel Economy & EV Range' started by NMPP, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    I can run my central air for 5 hours straight before 8 am for the same price as one hour between 2 and 8 pm, so that's what I do. I just get the house down to around 65-66 in the morning when it's going to be 100+ and I don't go much above 76-78 by 8 pm. It's cut my summer bills from $400+ to $300.
     
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  2. MikeDee

    MikeDee Senior Member

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    Is that a monthly power bill? If so, dude, get solar. It'll pay for itself in 6 years (plus or minus). 65° in the morning? That's cold.
     
  3. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    I use about 13,000 kWh per year and pay about $2,500 a year for it. In my location I need a minimum of 8kW worth of solar to generate as much as I use. There's no 8 kW solar system that is going to cost $20,000 ($15,000 after tax credits) installed. The lowest quote I've received so far is $35,000. That's a 12-year payoff assuming utility power increases at 3% per year.
     
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  4. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Since you said your summer bill is $300 ($400 if not using TOU), your other seasons must be much less. Your annual cost of $2500 and usage 13,000kWh is very similar to what I spend and use on electricity. But we have almost no seasonal fluctuation in electricity use. it is always around ~$200/mo for ~1000kWh/mo at $0.21/kWh for my house. But in our northern location, I would need at least a 10kW solar system but a vendor really suggested a 12kW system if I want 100% annual production. Yeah, the cost is over $30K even after the tax break. The payback period is well over 13 years for us.
     
  5. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    As little as $95 in December/January and over $300 in August/September.
     
  6. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Well, our previous house, also in NE, had a winter month electricity bill of over $500/mo. When we bought a house (the first house purchase for us), we never imagined how much an electric radiant baseboard heater would cost if kept them set at 70F all day long. But the cost of retrofitting conversion to a forced-air furnace was even costlier than paying the huge electric bill during the coldest months of winter. We ended up supplementing heating with wood burning stove, but that was not much cheaper when a cord of wood was well over $200 and we would go through 6 cords of wood a season. And it was a lot of work.
     
  7. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    That's crazy. Natural gas is the cheapest option by far for heating. It costs the equivalent of about 3 cents per kWh for the equivalent heating with electricity.

    I don't know about the Northeast, but out here the Forest Service regularly sells wood they've chopped up during brush clearing and other activities. Last I saw it was around $25 a cord.
     
  8. MikeDee

    MikeDee Senior Member

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    I wonder why solar is so expensive where you live? I have a 7.56 kw system and paid ~$16.5 after tax credit. A friend of mine is getting one installed now and isn't paying much more than I did for an over 8 kw system.
     
  9. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    Part of it is that I won't use panels with a warranty less than 90% output after 25 years. The other part is that I have to upgrade my electrical service panel and re-roof under the array to lay composite shingles in place of clay tile.
     
  10. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yeah, I don't know if there was a gas line in our town at the time we bought the house. After some years living there, I have explored the retrofitting cost and found that since our house was on a private cul-de-sac, a natural gas line was over 100 feet on the main street. The homeowner was responsible to install the line to the house. The cost was well over $20K. This was about 30 years ago. The house we live in now is in a rural town with no gas line anywhere. We have an oil-burning boiler for our heat and hot water. We fill a 250gal tank three times a year supplementing with some wood.

    Yeah, I now pay nothing for firewoods. I fell 3-4 hardwood each season from my backyard woods to supply our own firewoods, but it is extremely hard work. If I buy a cord of wood, they will deliver kiln dried hardwood all chopped and split, and cost ~$200/cord.
     
  11. Gokhan

    Gokhan Senior Member

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    In California, it could be cheaper to drive in the HV mode than in the EV mode.

    The gas prices have gone up though; so, it's currently a little cheaper in the EV mode.

    So, in California, the cost of driving is similar in the EV vs. HV modes.

    With more green electricity and more EVs driving the cost of electricity higher, it will be more expensive to drive an EV than an efficient plug-in hybrid like the Prius Prime in the future.
     
    #91 Gokhan, May 5, 2021
    Last edited: May 5, 2021
  12. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    If you use the car's window sticker ratings for EV and gas mileage, any time gas costs more than 13 times what a kWh costs, electricity is cheaper.

    My night rate for electricity in the Los Angeles area with Southern California Edison is 13 cents, so until gas dips below $1.71, it's cheaper to drive on electricity. Even my early morning/afternoon rate is 18 cents, still cheaper as long as gas is more than $2.34. From 2pm to 8pm electricity is 52 cents, so charging during that time doesn't make any sense unless gas is over $6.76.

    People on LADWP are only paying 7 cents for tier one power, which makes driving on electricity the equivalent of paying 91 cents for gasoline.
     
  13. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    That is a subjective matter. ;) In my limited heat experience in a different climate zone, natural 60-ish degree overnight temperatures make 100+ afternoons much more tolerable.

    Though an August week of 95 degree afternoon temperatures mixed with overnight frosts was a bit overdoing it. (That was a high elevation national forest work location far from any human development, adjacent to a protected wilderness area.)
    Have you reviewed possible energy efficiency upgrades to reduce that total annual energy need, thus reducing the needed solar capacity? Especially for any upgrade projects that might be cheaper-per-kWh than solar production capacity.

    Over multiple DIY projects over a number of years, I was able to cut our gross energy consumption in half, thus equally cutting needed solar capacity. Though people not starting with direct electric resistance space heating and hot water (which I converted to heat pumps) are unlikely to achieve equally large savings, they may still find various other paths to combine for very significant savings.

    I believe my third largest savings item (after those heat pumps) was from the combination of re-roofing, improved attic ventilation (much reduced attic temperatures under hot sun, verified by a wired remote thermometer), improved attic insulation, and plenty of solar modules shading a big block of our south-facing roof. In my climate zone, the improved insulation mostly saves winter heat. But this combination also very noticeably reduced the amount of heat flowing in during hot spells, enough that we haven't needed any A/C since. Open the house and flush with a window fan overnight, close everything during daytime, and the interior doesn't turn uncomfortably warm before sundown. An exterior roll-up shade hanging from the eves blocks most direct solar heat gain through the patio slider door/window.

    While A/C is simply unavoidable in your much hotter climate zone, any similar reduction in downward / inward heat flow would be beneficial and cut the energy load.
    After 30+ years in the same house, and 8 years into solar production, such payoff times no longer seem unreasonable. But then I'm also willing to put some money where my mouth is towards reducing AGW.
     
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  14. Gokhan

    Gokhan Senior Member

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    7¢ with LADWP?? LADWP used to be 11¢ even in 1992. I pay about 22¢ with SCE Tier 1.
     
  15. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    That is with energy efficient upgrades. 100% LED lighting, variable speed pool pump only runs 5 hours per day at 180W, SEER 16 central air, etc.
     
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  16. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    Sorry. I was looking at their tariff sheet and that is only the energy charges. According to this document the Tier 1 residential rate is $0.13452. SCE is significantly more expensive than LADWP.
     
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  17. Gokhan

    Gokhan Senior Member

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    LADWP used to be cheaper than SCE many years ago, but this is not the case anymore.

    SCE Tier 1 base charge for my part-green energy is $0.13095, which is actually slightly cheaper than the LADWP base charge. I could actually slightly lower it if I opted for the dirty energy. So, it looks like SCE is now cheaper than LADWP.

    Unfortunately, the base charge is only about half the actual cost of energy. When they add up all the cats and dogs, what I am paying comes to $0.2569 per kWh. This is the current true cost of Tier 1 SCE energy. LADWP is probably slightly higher. I don't have the LADWP bills anymore, but I see that I was paying higher with them two years ago in my previous residence in the LA Westside. It could be partly due to the plasma TV that I don't turn on much anymore, but they are definitely not cheaper.

    I do seem to get some periodic discounts in my bills through some state credits for green energy. So, perhaps they are lowering what I quoted above by about 10%. In any case, 25¢ per kWh is a good number in the ballpark for Tier 1 around here. Perhaps you can lower it through the night-tier billing. When the EVs become mainstream, the cost could skyrocket and become a lot more expensive than gasoline.
     
  18. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    That’s interesting, in the Midwest, more green energy and EV’s are bringing down electricity prices.
    Or at least, slowing the price increases.

    The whole payoff period for solar is interesting as well.
    I completely understand if someone doesn’t expect to live in the same house for many years, solar panels may not make sense.
    However, if you plan to spend many years in one house, solar seems really attractive. My payoff period is about 11 years. For that advance payment, I get 30-35 years of electricity for my house and both cars.
    Or think of it this way, I pay for 11 years of power up front and get another 19+ years of power at no additional cost.
     
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  19. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    That's weird, because SCE's rates have risen dramatically in the last 6 years since I had DWP. In 2015 LADWP was charging me $0.17509 for "Green LA Program" electricity in Tier 1. In 2011 SCE was charging me $0.19012 for Tier 1 power.
     
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  20. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Do note that Tier 1 is just 350 or 500 kWh per month, depending on service zone.

    Not necessarily. Renewable energy is expanding as rapidly as it is, in part because it is has become cheaper than some old legacy fossil fuel power plants, particularly coal.
    I'm not going to say that the future energy after payback is completely free, merely cheaper. It seems unlikely that there will be no failures requiring repair or replacement money in that time. PV module outputs degrade slowly with age, so at some time my house will no longer be net-zero, so I'll have to be buying some energy, even if my consumption doesn't creep upwards. Which it will.

    Homeowners should also consider the life of the roofing beneath their solar system. There will be extra costs if the roof needs replacement before the PV system has reached its end of life.
     
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