Interesting Idea (Standby Generator Pilot Program)

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  #1  
Old 03-20-12, 03:20 PM
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Interesting Idea (Standby Generator Pilot Program)

Just filled out a survey for my natural gas supplier and found one question very interesting because it may indicate future plans.

Two bits of info first. The gas company is owned by the same company as the local electric supplier. The gas company has been pushing whole house emergency gas generators and offering discount credits on your bill.

The question that I found interesting asked if you had an emergency generator with automatic start would you be interested in letting the electric company start it through your Smart meter. From the wording I got the impression that during high loads the electric company might shift some customers off grid to ease the load on their system.

Anyone heard about this?
 
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  #2  
Old 03-20-12, 04:22 PM
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You are probably right. I haven't heard about that specifically, but did hear about the ideas behind the smart grid. The idea is to use your smart meter to turn certain items off during peak usage. Such as your a/c or hot water heater. It wouldn't be off for too long, but they would be able to manage electrical usage in such a way to avoid an outage.

The idea of kicking your generator on to help generate power for the grid is an interesting idea in general. Though I don't think you should be paying for the fuel for them to generate that power, but I think that's the obvious part of what you are saying. If you are going to pay for it, it should be while their grid has shut down because they didn't invest in it properly.
 
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Old 03-20-12, 04:26 PM
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I'm not sure what information you received, but found this: Standby Generator Pilot Program Frequently Asked Questions

There is a financial incentive.

Probably your supplier?
 
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Old 03-20-12, 04:34 PM
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Interesting concept, it would at least give the homeowners backup gen system the periodic "under load" test that it needs monthly. We are not getting our electric and gas from two different companies right now, although I suspect that will change shortly though. ..

When we moved in to our present home I re-wired it as it was a run down foreclosure. Outside beside the A/C disconnect was a electronic box owned by LG&E. I traced the low voltage wiring and it was wired to the compressor contactor and the house phone system. ...

I could readily see the PCO could control my A/C system from their home office. But they cannot now. When they start giving me help on paying my electric bill, then I will let them determine just how hot I am willing for them to let my home get.
 
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Old 03-20-12, 04:59 PM
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Standby Generator Pilot Program
Yes, Centerpoint is my gas supplier and is owned by the parent company of Reliant.

My thought was that your generator would not supply the grid but instead they would cut power to your house and shift it to your generator. Less infrastructure required for that. Just a signal to the meter to cut power and the signal to the generator to start.Given the cost of electric compared to gas here it might even cost you a bit less while your off grid.
 
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Old 03-20-12, 05:46 PM
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You are right. That's what was explained in the link and they give you $200 a year.
 
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Old 03-20-12, 05:51 PM
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Big Brother, again. When I worked for the Airlines in ATL, all the buildings were wired with 1/2 lighting, meaning 2 fluorescents were wired separately from the ones beside them. At any given load time, a computer could cut your lighting in half, to save energy. Not a big deal, and I didn't think 1/2 lighting was too dim. I guess with all the infrastructure Delta had, it would amount to quite a bit of savings.
Like Greg, when they start subsidizing me, then they can have control. Until then, nope! Just one more thing to break and leave me without ANY power. Oops! We just blew up your pad mount transformer
 
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Old 03-20-12, 06:04 PM
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Look for major changes in the way we get to use our energy especially if 11/2 has no changes. Did you know they use helicopters with infrared cameras in the UK to spot homes that have too much heat loss ? A crisis has to be presented to the populace first, then they will be more subceptible to following the rules. Oh no, I just made up another conspiracy.
 
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Old 03-20-12, 06:08 PM
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I think I'd like to know if my house had too much heat loss. Of course I'd rectify it, and thank them for the catch. I just didn't like it when DEA hovered over with my wife's seeding grow lights all aglow one year.
 
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Old 03-20-12, 06:12 PM
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That's what was explained in the link
Hadn't had a chance to read the link. Will definitely read it. Thanks for the link.
 
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Old 03-20-12, 07:35 PM
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I haven't heard of the gas powered generator incentive but have heard of incentives from power companies for solar cells being installed. Of course solar energy isn't a complete solution but it isn't a bad idea either. Of course the cost can be prohibitive but supposedly the price is going down too due to government incentives and other reasons such as more manufacturers and more people being interested. Not a bad idea about the generator but in my opinion I wouldn't want the electric company controlling it. Over in our neck of the woods we had been having a great deal of blackouts due to storms until the government finally cracked down on the electric company and they started trimming more trees and upgrading their system better. It was so bad at one time during the summer that we considered getting a backup generator permanently installed,sure saves hauling gasoline like we do now when the lights go out.
 
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Old 03-20-12, 08:13 PM
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A portion of the electric here is generated by natural gas. You could say that the Electric company is increasing their capacity by getting you to buy new gas generating equipment for them.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 03:26 AM
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Of course solar energy isn't a complete solution but it isn't a bad idea either
Speaking of solar, there has been an outbreak of solar arrays here locally!! I go past two or three on my way to certain jobsites. These things are huge, probably 2 acres or so each.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 05:02 PM
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Come to NJ. They are all over the place now. Well, not the big ones like you speak of, though I'm sure there are a few. Lots of them installed on buildings. One power company installed 200 on their utility poles. The local schools are installing them as well.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 05:58 PM
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I have a friend that worked at the local phone company. During the hot summer days the power company would call them to crank up their generator to take them off the grid. Their geny was quite large. Sounds like Centerpoint is just thinking of the same thing only on a smaller, but more spread out, scale.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 06:20 PM
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Sounds like Centerpoint is just thinking of the same thing only on a smaller, but more spread out, scale.
That was my thought. A way to avoid brown outs. Shed as much load as possible to off grid to use what power they had where needed. Actually when you figure the number of private generators they might have it could be substantial. If they could hook up with home builders the emergency generator could be a selling point for home builders. You could eventually end up with whole subdivisions that could be taken off grid if needed.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 11:20 PM
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I still like the idea and natural gas isn't as polluting but still like the idea of solar better. I was watching an older This Old House project where they were in Austin Texas and at the time there was actually government incentive in Texas and through the federal government to have Solar cells installed. So the incentives were actually before President Obama went in office but apparently now there are more incentives. It certainly is a greener way to get electricity than with something that pollutes. Not trying to be political just concerned about the ecology.
 
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Old 03-22-12, 09:18 PM
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Why not just install large diesel generators at each substation? The only time I even lose power is when the substation loses power. (except for when the xfrmr blew once a month)
 
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Old 03-22-12, 09:22 PM
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The utility I used to work for was seriously considering installing gas turbine generators at some of their major substations. Gas turbines are far superior to diesels for peaking and emergency back up as they start quicker (on line sooner) and require far less maintenance. I think they installed at least two but I'm not sure.
 
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Old 03-23-12, 04:12 PM
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Why not just install large diesel generators at each substation?
Because that would require them to spend their own money.

They do have those types of generators that furd mentioned for peak usage times. They are a very expensive way to generate electricity. I think I read it costs about 70 cents per kwh. ConEd in NYC had a bunch brought in on barges a few years ago because they were having so many problems.
 
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Old 03-29-12, 08:00 PM
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Many gas and electric utilities will offer lower rates to industrial customers that agree to interruptable service. When the demand for gas or electricity is high, the customer agrees to disconnect his load and go to alternate energy sources. A local TV station here has a diesel standby generator, and you can see it belching smoke on hot days....the local utility has asked them to disconnect, so the station fires up their standby generator. I've also seen industrial customers with huge propane tanks and atomizer systems to substitute propane for NG on the coldest days of winter. The alternate source of energy is usually much more costly, but the overall savings make it worthwhile for some large users. When I was an engineer at a power plant, we did the same thing....on cold days, we were curtailed from using natural gas to generate electricity and had to go to either #2 or #6 fuel oil for the boilers.
 
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Old 03-29-12, 09:19 PM
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The company I retired from has many boiler plants among their many sites. All of the larger plants use natural gas on an "industrial interruptible rate structure. Some of them use number 6 oil for a standby fuel and some use number two for standby. A few of the smaller plants did have propane mixers for standby but they were all removed some twenty years ago due to some problems, one of which caused a fire that severely burnt two men who subsequently died from their injuries.

I've fired both number six and number two (diesel) fuel in steam-atomizing burners and I far prefer the number six. With number two having a flash point of 150 to 200 degrees F. and the atomizing steam being in excess of 350 degrees F. changing burners is definitely a hazardous operation.
 
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