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Thread: Another example of how utilities are total dirtballs

  1. #61
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    Our city council says blue fire trucks never crash so they want to repaint all the fire trucks baby blue. critics are saying painting them blue is political.....

  2. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    San Francisco California has a program to help pay for poor folks to install solar panels. the city is well known for fog. They will not pay to let you install them in the Mojave desert which is only a few hundred miles away. Well within the distance that electricity is shipped from.
    Bill D
    Well, San Francisco is a city and the programs they institute are generally intended to help their residents. Installation of solar on the house of a less fortunate family is intended to help that family reduce their electricity bills.

    Seems to me that the governing body of the Mojave should do a similar program for their poorer residents. They could help them reduce their electric bills and the power company could sell the power to San Francisco. it would be win-win.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #63
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    Focusing back on Florida, there's an article on CNN.com "as we speak" about the situation down there in the sunny state. It talks a lot about a subject we can't discuss here, but is a good read relative to what's driving things and the potential impact. Apparently, Nevada tried the same thing a few years ago and had to, um...revert...two years later. It really makes me sad to see these things happen, particularly when big business needs/desires overrule folks trying to keep the world livable.
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence Duckworth View Post
    Our city council says blue fire trucks never crash so they want to repaint all the fire trucks baby blue. critics are saying painting them blue is political.....
    How many blue fire trucks do they have in their sample?

    The number of departments with blue fire trucks could be a factor as well as the localities response to lights and sirens. I've been in areas where I was the only one to pull over for lights or sirens. In some places idiots seem to think the lights and sirens are a challenge to a race.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 01-23-2022 at 7:35 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Monte Milanuk View Post
    Without getting into the specifics of how a particular utility does business... there's a little more to it than them just re-selling what you are 'giving' them. O&M costs on lines - particularly distribution systems, as someone noted above - are considerable. Some of that isn't just the cost of the copper wire between you and wherever the electrons eventually end up; it's maintaining all the protective devices that keep you, the supplier, and the customer, safe from shenanigans on either end of the line. Some of it's federally mandated requirements to maintain a certain amount of reserve power available, simply in the event that there is a large grid fluctuation, ready to help recover the system voltage and frequency. While on the one hand, it would seem like customer sell-back power would be a great booster for that reserve requirement... I have some serious doubts about it's viability in a practical sense. Solar (and wind, and most 'renewables' other than large scale hydro) pretty much sucks at providing grid stability. Kinda need stuff with 'big iron' behind it somewhere in the system to provide that kind of resilience.

    Add to that that the utility has no idea - and no control - over how much you might be supplying at any point in time, or how reliable your system actually is or isn't... it doesn't surprise me that they put such a low $$$ value on your power. Power prices can fluctuate wildly throughout the day, dependent on all manner of things. Supplying them with 'extra' power that they don't really need just means they have to jump through hoops to keep it from adversely affecting things. Most of the time they've already bought and paid for their expected power needs on long-term contracts at bulk rates which are very, very cheap.

    Why would they pay you a premium for your excess, simply because you couldn't calculate your power needs better and need to get rid of it?

    Spoiler: yes, I do work 'in the industry', albeit about as far away from Florida as you can get and still be in 'CONUS' aka WA state, and no, I don't work in retail/distribution (any more) - I'm in the (hydro) generation side of things.
    Just a little note, utilities use very little copper wire in their distribution system, aluminum alloy conductors are the conductor of choice, copper is much more costly, weighs a lot more then AL, and theft would be a major concern, but a lot of them would be Darwin Award statistics when they did their thievery.

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence Duckworth View Post
    Our city council says blue fire trucks never crash so they want to repaint all the fire trucks baby blue....
    LOL... purple police cars never seem to crash either, so...

    So, just how many blue fire trucks ARE there? Google can only find a blue fire truck in Montgomery (AL?), Swampscott MA and Chapel Hill NC. Most people own more cars than that...
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  7. #67
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    Many cities went to yellow fire trucks when a study said that was the most visable color. Many departments went back to traditional red because they have so many lights the paint color does not matter much, they claim.
    Caltrans pickups used to be Yellow/orange for visibility. Group buys with county city trucks for a custom color. They dropped it and went to white since it was. a standard color and no extra $500 paint fee per vehicle.
    Bill D

  8. #68
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    Chapel Hill should not be included in any study of blue fire trucks. Carolina Blue is like camouflage there.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev Williams View Post
    LOL... purple police cars never seem to crash either, so...

    So, just how many blue fire trucks ARE there? Google can only find a blue fire truck in Montgomery (AL?), Swampscott MA and Chapel Hill NC. Most people own more cars than that...

    The second half of my joke is just as dumb and funny as the first half.... Florida went with the lime green fire trucks
    Last edited by Lawrence Duckworth; 01-24-2022 at 8:35 PM.

  10. #70
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    The blue meanies of Alameda county sheriff have black and white cars.
    Bill D

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    The blue meanies of Alameda county sheriff have black and white cars.
    Bill D
    In Oregon and Washington many of the patrol cars are stealth. The banner stripe with 'POLICE' on it is often in a satin clear coat. It can not be seen unless the light is hitting it at an opportune angle. The cars are technically marked, it is just dang near invisible marking.

    Of course there are clearly marked black and white vehicles. It is the ones you don't notice that all of a sudden light up like it's Christmas.

    If you are familiar with Jane's Fighting Ships and other such books, you might agree there would be a market for a book on spotting law enforcement vehicles in various cities, counties and states.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  12. #72
    There was another column in the NYT yesterday on the CA utility solar battle. I will have a minimum connect charge of $56/mo or $672/yr. Estimates are that it would reduce roof top solar installs by as much as 80%. Hawaii and Nevada made these changes in rebate structure but due to the uproar reversed their position. At $672/ yr I will look into batteries.

  13. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Frederick View Post
    There was another column in the NYT yesterday on the CA utility solar battle. I will have a minimum connect charge of $56/mo or $672/yr. Estimates are that it would reduce roof top solar installs by as much as 80%. Hawaii and Nevada made these changes in rebate structure but due to the uproar reversed their position. At $672/ yr I will look into batteries.
    I haven't seen anything that would indicate that installing a battery would reduce the monthly "grid tax" charge. Installing a battery would reduce the amount of power you send to the grid because you'd store your excess during daylight and use it at night so you'd essentially get no credit from the power company. The power company would benefit because they wouldn't have to deal with an excess of power during the middle of the day (and they wouldn't have to pay you anything).

    That looks like a real negative for the homeowner - you have to pay quite a bit for the batteries, you no longer get any credit for power fed to the grid, AND you have to pay a monthly "grid tax" based on the installed kW of your solar array. I don't see ANY advantage for the homeowner in this situation. It would certainly kill home solar.

    And installing a battery doesn't mean you can go "off-grid" To do that you'd almost certainly have to install a backup generator because your batteries are limited. The total cost of all that would probably be prohibitive.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  14. #74
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    There are zero benefits to batteries if you have full retail net metering. However, batteries can have great benefit if you are only paid wholesale prices for excess production. Let's say you produce an excess of 20 KWH per day and then use 20 KWH when the sun is not shining. Your utility will give you say three cents per KWH (60 cents) for over production. They then charge you a retail rate of say 12 cents per KWH ($2.40) for power used when the sun isn't shining.

    If you have batteries you won't get the 60 cents for over production, but you also won't pay the additional $1.80 for power at night. Batteries really don't make any financial sense unless you are charged really high prices for peak power and can use batteries to avoid the high peak prices.

  15. #75
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    Brian, I agree with you relative to normal power supply, but batteries also can serve as backup power during power outages instead of a generator. That was going to be my purpose for installing solar, actually, but I can't justify the cost for the amount of time we will likely live at this address.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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