Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Things could be worse! You could be living in Britain!!

After grousing about the 7% recent hike in my electric bill, I came across this article....

Oct 2013 - UK energy companies certainly have an ability to step in it - all the way up to the knees. What makes it the more remarkable is the callous way in which they move from one crisis to the next.

All of which has obliged a hasty revision in the strategy for my meetings here.

The latest imbroglio involves a very unwelcome (and significant) spike in energy prices as the nation moves into the winter season.

The UK market is controlled by six dominant providers of electricity and heat: British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Npower, SSE, and Scottish Power. And when one of them raises its rates, the rest are certain to follow.

That march is now underway. British Gas announced on Friday an average 9.2% increase, effective November 23. That followed a recent decision by SSE to hike rates an average of 8.2% beginning on November 15.

And right on cue, Npower yesterday became the third to hike prices, announcing an average increase of 11.1% to begin December 1.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Temperature study in October 2013

Last night (Oct 18), I endeavored to record various temperature readings with a mind to track energy use on a night where outdoor readings approached the upper thirties. For the experiment, I used a Meade wireless station that had two remote sensors; one placed outdoors and one placed in my living room. I was thereby able to record the temperatures of three areas; my bedroom where the master unit was, the outdoors and the living room on an hourly basis from 4:00 PM on Friday October the 18 to 9:00 AM the next morning. I was curious to see what amount of power would be required to keep my bedroom in the mid seventies via the deployment of a Delonghi space heater. During this experiment and even though my whole house Nest thermostat was set to a threshold heating of 68°F., the furnace never kicked in even though the readings in the living room were clearly below that level. I'm
guessing that the reason was due to the more isolated position of the hallway where the thermostat is located.

The base electrical use for my home with the various background devices in use is approximately 0.427 kWh. This figure includes two computers that run 24/7 in my bedroom and which do supply some residual heat as a result. The other main contributors are the water heater which cycled on and off three times (see graphic) and the refrigerator whose power consumption is too low to appear on the power graph due to the scale of time. So, as you can see, the average amount of electrical heat energy needed to keep my bedroom in the mid seventies was about .400 kWh which equates to about a dollar and change over a full day of heating (.4x24=9.6 kWh x 0.1149 cents per kWh = $1.10).

To put this mess into some sort perspective, my electrical use went from about 13 kWh for an average day with no auxiliary heat to about 21 kWh with it. (This extra heat was needed to offset a mean temperature of 49 degrees outdoors which is not too far distant from what I am hoping will be the mean temperature for a much warmer than normal November). I base this assumption on the fact that the average power consumption for the past two Novembers was 621 kWh or about 20.7 kWh of electrical use per day. So rather than the historical average temperature of 46.8°F (West Plains MO data), I am hoping for a few more mean degrees warmer. [Note: There are numerous flys in this ointment of my reasoning which I will address in a later posting].

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Let the fall heating games begin!

There comes that day, every fall, when I find myself forced to use axillary heat for the first time of the season. This year, that day came on the morning of the 16th of October when I awoke to an outside temperature of 46°F! Inside, my bedroom thermometer read 72.1°F and the house, in general was at 69.4°F. (I think the difference in temperatures is due to the fact that I have two computer towers in my room that run 24/7. They both generate a little heat and might account for the small difference).

So, now I guess I can expect my electrical use to go up a bit. I'm toying with the idea of setting the programmable thermostat to an 'on' setting as it has been off for the majority of the month. The last time I had needed AC was on September the 11th, so it had been some time for the change over to me needing heat instead of cooling. 

This year, I have a Delonghi space heater that worked great last autumn and winter and which I think saved me a few bucks on heating costs. Be sure and join me via this blog as I once again battle the evil electric coop and try to SAVE ENERGY ONE WATT AT A TIME!