Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Well, it is spring, and storms do come a knocking!



Taney County MO – The National Weather Service is calling for the potential for severe weather from Wednesday, April 25, on through the coming weekend, several days later! That is noting unusual, and if your electric coop has buried your power and communication cables underground, it should be a non event. For those whose cables are hung on poles, rapid power fluctuation and sudden spikes from lightening bolts could destroy some of your expensive electronics! At the very least, power surges will shorten the life of sensitive equipment!

Ten years ago, the probability of any real harm from lightening was a lot less, as most people had little in the way of sensitive equipment to worry about. Today that isn't the case for many! In my home there are tablets, multiple computers, cellphones, digital TV and a host of other devices that depend on circuit boards in order to operate! Even a surge protector may or may not save them from a close-in strike! So, it pays to be weather aware and to perform a few simple steps to make sure that the storms come and go without incident.

  1. Unplug any electronic device that you still want to use after the storm. I generally switch off my computers, routers, TV's and microwave just to be sure they are isolated from power surges.
  2. Consider purchasing a better grade of surge protection. This is especially important for that typical ball of outlets that service computer equipment! Check out this article that describes some of the better units.
  3. Take out insurance to protect you from just this type of problem, if the manufacturer offers it.
  4. Invest in a weather radio with S.A.M.E technology – you'll get timely warnings that pertain only to your county.
  5. Where possible, have your equipment clustered off a few switched multi-outlets. Then, all you need to do is to flip a few switches with it begins to boom outdoors!

Lastly, encourage your city and local electric company to invest in underground runs that will make everyone's life a whole lot more enjoyable!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Empire Electric and their raised rates!

 
Taney County MO – Recently I noticed that some of my fellow county citizens were complaining about their electric bills, citing large apparent increases. I investigated this and found some potential reasons why their bills may have jumped!


  1. Empire did, in fact, raise its rates recently! Back in September, “The Missouri Public Service Commission on Friday formally approved an agreement its staff and other parties had reached with The Empire District Electric Co. earlier this summer that will result in a monthly increase of $7.60 for an Empire customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month.” This increase went into effect on September 14, 2016! The current rate table for Empire is shown below;
     
Note that the Summer Season is the first four monthly billing periods billed on and after June 16, while the Winter Season will be the remaining eight monthly billing periods of the calendar year.

  1. Billing by Empire is typically not for the last thirty days but rather about a half month past that point in time. Ergo, my electric bill that just arrived on the 31st of January was actually for the period December 14, 2016 to January 16, 2017. Of some interest, however, in that later part of December we incurred much warmer temperatures than normal. My readings for that period of time are shown below. Note that were were about four warmer than what the 30 year average had been! Interesting....

In addition, the temps from January 1 to January 16, 2016 were also on the warm side of history reading almost five degrees above what is normal! So, one would think that my bill would be a little lower than last year, wouldn't one?

Interestingly, the kilowatt hours used were greater than the same period last year which further exacerbated a bill that had seen significant rate hikes! Is there something wrong here? Yes, I think that there is! Below is a direct comparison between 2016 and 2017 billings:

 

Monday, December 19, 2016

A very cold 24 hr period in December!


Dec 18-19: Down here in southwest Missouri, an arctic incursion really smacked it to us with an average temperature of about 16 degrees! The translated into 61 kWh's of electricity I had to use to keep my modest adobe warm!  In the chart above, you can visualize just how far from the 'norm' that temperature reading was!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The first arctic outbreak of December 2016!


Forsyth Mo. - All over the news, recently, was a forecast of arctic air that was scheduled to slam into the Taney County Missouri on or about December 7. The forecast sounded serious as the weather service was calling for some morning temps in the lower teens! This from the National Weather Service;

'Overall, it looks like winter will make its first real appearance to the Ozarks over the next week to 10 days.'

My thinking at hearing that news was how I would face the challenge of keeping most of that cold air at bay. I was living in a condo located on at the end of a building on the top floor of a four floor structure, and so my unit would be exposed to the elements from a number of sides. Sure, my building was well insulated, but still there were areas of concern...

For instance, there were two sliding glass doors that lead out to my balcony. They were built in 1991 and were showing their age, as air leakage was a problem. That area was located in the living room, and so I decided to set the furnace on a low setting (60ยบF) and then retreat to my bedroom office during the worst of the weather. That location offered a much smaller volume that I hoped to heat adequately with a small space heater. The lone window, in that room, was also treated with a collection of cardboard boxes that would supply some dead air space along with R-values of about 3. That should help a lot, I figured. At least that was the plan....

Last January, when it got cold, in a similar fashion, I used about 45-55 kilowatt hours of electricity to maintain my unit at a livable level. Back then, I have daytime temps in the low 30's while overnight temps got down into the teens! And, as a senior living on a fixed income, I really needed to try and keep those electric bills under some kind of control!

I hope to update this post, beginning December 7 when the weather turns colder.Be sure to visit my weather site at www.taneyservices.com for more real time weather data!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Well it is summer and it's hot!


So what better time for my AC unit to quit on me! Mid July is likely not the best time to be having problems, and after a visit from John's Heating and Air Conditioning Service, I got the news that my 20 year old system was 'on its last legs'! I was also informed that it would be a 'few weeks' before they could get me a new unit installed due to the time of year. Swell. John Lane, President of the company, was nice enough to come out on a Saturday and I got a picture of him standing by his van, but managed to erase it by accident. My bad. At any rate, John seemed very knowledgeable and promised to get me a quote via email. I hope to do a followup post when they get the new unit installed.

While I was waiting for that to take place, I decided to purchase a portable AC unit just to have as a backup and and wanted to evaluate it performance envelope. The unit I ordered was a Honeywell MN10CESWW 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control. I was told by Greg that it should be able to do a good job of cooling my bedroom area, a place I could retreat to in case the main AC failed. I'll do a critique on this unit when it arrives in a few days.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

It's winter energy crunch time! A page out of my diary.


For me, the period between late January and mid February, is crunch time! That is the portion of every winter when, if you are going to get killed with heating costs, really low temperatures can do a number on most everyone down here in SW Missouri. Hopefully, that will not be the case this month of February!

Update: Just as soon as I posted this, I knew it would be bad luck. The National Weather Service which was forecasting a Feb 10th warm up have revised that to a trend to colder weather!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January 2016 arctic front to be a test!

The National Weather Service is forecasting the 'coldest air' of the 2015-16 winter season to begin sometime around the January 9th weekend. To that end, I plan to publish a weather event log concerning what steps I took to save energy use, the data I accumulated and a summery of everything that happened over the estimated three day span. Stay tuned for the start of the dialog beginning on January the 9th!