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Old 10-29-2011, 11:53 AM   #21
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Wow, .0461 per kWh? We pay .1297, that's almost 3X what yours costs and we need to use A LOT more in the winter. Luckliy I have a higher tolerance for heat so my summer bills are far below others in this area. My overall average for the year is $100/mo which, according to the companies website, is barely half the cost of comparable homes in my area.
I guess typically in your area someone with electric resistance heating and AC would also pay quite a lot in summer.

Most of us here do not have AC in our homes or apartments, although some of the new high rises have AC as they tend to have insufficient natural airflow. I have never lived with AC, boiling in the East, and generally comfortable anywhere on the West Coast. In the past 50 years I have not lived more than 1.5 miles from the salt water, which out here is a great cooling influence and saves a lot of money on utilities. I think that the difference in real estate prices is often neutralized by the difference in power needs. Then you get the more pleasant living conditions as a bonus.

City light operates as a city owned utility, and has 2 owned dams which provide about 50% of needs. Overall, this is the mix:

Generation TypePercentage Hydro91.2% Nuclear4.4% Wind2.3% Coal1.4% Natural Gas0.6% Biomass0.1%
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Old 10-29-2011, 12:51 PM   #22
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Most of us here do not have AC in our homes or apartments, although some of the new high rises have AC as they tend to have insufficient natural airflow. I have never lived with AC, boiling in the East, and generally comfortable anywhere on the West Coast. In the past 50 years I have not lived more than 1.5 miles from the salt water, which out here is a great cooling influence and saves a lot of money on utilities.
That cold current flowing down the West coast has a lot to do with all that I suppose, because there is no cooling effect from the Gulf of Mexico. People did live here without AC, but I wouldn't want to try it.

Good thing, because to get a cooler summer I guess we would have to move someplace where colder winter weather is the norm with snow and such. We're unfamiliar with such things and might not survive.

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Old 10-29-2011, 01:01 PM   #23
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Good thing, because to get a cooler summer I guess we would have to move someplace where colder winter weather is the norm with snow and such. We're unfamiliar with such things and might not survive.
Think of it this way. If your preferred temp is 70 degrees and it's 100 for a high duing the summer then you have to cool your home 30 degrees to be comfortable. If you live in the north with an average low in the winter of 10 degrees then you have to heat your home by 60 degrees to be comfortable. So, to me, that means winter extremes are twice as uncomfortable as summer extremes. Others may disagree, but that's how I feel about it.
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:58 PM   #24
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Think of it this way. If your preferred temp is 70 degrees and it's 100 for a high duing the summer then you have to cool your home 30 degrees to be comfortable. If you live in the north with an average low in the winter of 10 degrees then you have to heat your home by 60 degrees to be comfortable. So, to me, that means winter extremes are twice as uncomfortable as summer extremes. Others may disagree, but that's how I feel about it.
My youngest son would agree with you. He was complaining last night that the AC in his dorm was still on while the outside temperature was dipping into the 50's. After discussing why the heating and cooling of two 18-story buildings didn't switch as easily as it does at home I reminded him it would be 80 something by the middle of the week.

"That's why I love living here. Lots of people die from hypothermia, but with hyperthermia you have a shot of surviving if you stop exercising and let your body cool off naturally. Do that in a blizzard somewhere up North and you just go to sleep - forever."
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Old 10-29-2011, 03:13 PM   #25
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That cold current flowing down the West coast has a lot to do with all that I suppose, because there is no cooling effect from the Gulf of Mexico. People did live here without AC, but I wouldn't want to try it.
I did live here without AC one entire summer, (2004?) because it broke and I was in extreme LBYM mode. It was nice to find out that the experience wasn't as severe as I had anticipated, because the body acclimates to heat. AC is a nice luxury, but I do know now that I can live without it if necessary, and even enjoy life and forget the oppressive heat surrounding me occasionally.

Still, I wasn't doing physical work in the heat, like the settlers did. I don't think I could. I admire those pioneers and marvel at their strength.
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Old 10-29-2011, 03:40 PM   #26
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Wow, .0461 per kWh? We pay .1297, that's almost 3X what yours costs and we need to use A LOT more in the winter. Luckliy I have a higher tolerance for heat so my summer bills are far below others in this area. My overall average for the year is $100/mo which, according to the companies website, is barely half the cost of comparable homes in my area.

Can you say Hydroelectric.
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:05 AM   #27
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Their info is dated for my part of Texas. I could buy at 7.6 cents per kWh on a 3-month contract, 8.1 for 6-months, and 8.9 cents for a year. My 1-year contract, that I renewed just a few months ago, is 9.5 cents. If the current prices keep getting cheaper I likely will pay the penalty to break the contract and switch.

It does matter where you live in Texas.... some companies had more stranded costs than others... also, the smart meter is a cost that is not in all of Texas...

I don't have a bill to get the right numbers, but we pay $2 plus a month for smart meter, another something for stranded costs.. $6 for billing, 4 or 5 cents per KWH for transmission and then add the electricity cost on top of that...
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:12 AM   #28
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From my bill,

3.55/kwh for energy usage;
0.082/kwh for transmission;
5.7 for renewable fuel charge

= 9.33c/kwh

All in, with the customer charge and tax, it comes to 10.8c/kwh.
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:12 AM   #29
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Our electric bill in Paradise runs about $60. Typical energy bills here are more like $200+. The big difference (besides just the two of us in 1100sf) is that we don't have AC (just trade winds), we cook sparingly, we dry a lot of clothes on a line and we use CFLs - and those, sparingly. The upside to the electric rates is that few folks have to heat their homes - ever. The exceptions are due to altitude and many at altitude heat with wood stoves.

Nords could be more specific about solar panels, but IIRC, you pay HECO retail for your electricity used from the grid but can zero out some or all of your KWHs with your solar panels. But, even if you MORE than zero out your kWHs, you still owe about $20 or so (we would also owe this if we turned our master switch off). It's all the monthly fees HECO charges just to be a customer and to be connected. Then, the electricity is roughly $.25 or higher, depending on prevailing oil costs.

Also, re: solar, not just anyone can connect to the grid here. It is "rationed" as to how many can sell excess to HECO. Don't know the particulars, but think Nords touched on this before. Your KWHs may vary.
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:10 PM   #30
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It might be worth pointing out that in many places, including where I live, electric rates are different in summer and winter. Averaging the last year's usage (we have a 100% electric house, so I keep track of kWh and cost) gives a number not much different from that shown in the OP link's map.
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:31 PM   #31
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Nords could be more specific about solar panels, but IIRC, you pay HECO retail for your electricity used from the grid but can zero out some or all of your KWHs with your solar panels. But, even if you MORE than zero out your kWHs, you still owe about $20 or so (we would also owe this if we turned our master switch off). It's all the monthly fees HECO charges just to be a customer and to be connected. Then, the electricity is roughly $.25 or higher, depending on prevailing oil costs.
HECO charges $16/month for the privilege of being connected to their rock-solid grid voltage. (Part of the challenge of getting off the grid is starting large loads on your home's tiny 3 KW grid instead of the local utility's multi-megawatt generators. Refrigerators & vacuum cleaners have huge starting surges that transiently hammer grid voltage and make life hard for sensitive electronics.) In exchange for that monthly net-metering fee, HECO will compensate power production by carrying forward the excess on a rolling 12-month spreadsheet. Our PV production varies about 25% peak-to-peak from winter to summer, so it's nice to carry over the summer excesses to the winter months.

Above 10 KW of home PV capacity, HECO decides that you're no longer a residential customer but rather a generating plant. You'd be expected to pay a monthly "feed-in tariff" of at least $25 and they'd buy your electricity at wholesale rates (~18 cents/KWHr) instead of compensating at retail. I briefly looked into it but calculated that it's not cost-effective until your array is hundreds of kilowatts.

HECO also charges monthly fuel fees as part of their rate structure, which means their rates vary monthly. This year it's been as low as 20 cents/KWHr and as high as 33 cents/KWHr. Their electric bills are frankly confusing as hell and they probably like it that way.

HECO's billing system is also 20 years old so it can't directly read our "smart" meter, which no doubt suits their (human) meter reader employees just fine.

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Also, re: solar, not just anyone can connect to the grid here. It is "rationed" as to how many can sell excess to HECO. Don't know the particulars, but think Nords touched on this before. Your KWHs may vary.
Well, technically you can connect to a grid without the utility knowing about it. The technique is known as "guerrilla solar". But eventually their billing department flags the dramatically lower bill and they send out a fraud inspector to see if you're running an extension cord to a neighbor or a street lamp. If you have a pending (but not yet approved) net-metering agreement when the fraud inspector shows up at your door, then... well, as M_Paquette says, "hilarity ensues". The dedicated guerrilla solar experts evade this by actually canceling their utility accounts, installing their array, and then resuming their electrical service under a new account number (and a different history of power consumption).

A net-metering agreement with HECO requires a licensed electrician's signature on the application, which also involves a building permit (and perhaps the neighborhood's HOA approval). If "grid penetration" in your neighborhood is more than 10% (the neighborhood grid's total PV generating capacity divided by the power consumed in that neighborhood's portion of the grid) then HECO reviews some sort of data to determine if the local grid voltage will be destabilized by variable sunshine and variable loads. If the penetration approaches 15% then HECO expects the next poor sucker net-metering applicant to pay for an engineering study that could cost over $10K.

That grid-penetration ratio is probably not a problem in most Mainland areas where the grids are much more interconnected. Or maybe Mainland grids are easier to destabilize because they're such large, chaotic, poorly-tracked, and inadequately-controlled systems.

Ironically HECO employs many retired Navy nuclear-trained submariners. Unfortunately they're mostly the engineers, not so much the business-process staff.

We've had our PV array down for over three weeks. With all the saws and air compressors and power tools running on our familyroom renovation during that time, I'm dreading the next electric bill... I wouldn't be surprised to be over $200.
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Old 11-01-2011, 03:02 PM   #32
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no wonder I see windmills popping up all over the northeast! Never realized how we were getting slammed with high electric costs!
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Old 11-04-2011, 03:30 PM   #33
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HECO charges $16/month for the privilege of being connected to their rock-solid grid voltage.
The cooperative serving my sister's house charges $25 "Availability Fee" The base charge per kWh is around 9.5 cents. Depending on consumption, the average kWh cost can be 15 cents. Ouch!
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:43 PM   #34
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We're in Mexico and paying $760-ish for rent...this includes electricity, water & gas. Much of low usage peeps here are subsidized by the government. We only pay if we use a bunch...maybe in the summer when air is needed.

Kind of weird not paying multiple bills down here. We only have cable, internet & cell besides our rent. Simple is good.
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:26 PM   #35
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In the base housing here, all utilities are included in the rent. When Christmas time comes, the place has so many lights that it seems like daytime every night. In the New Orleans summer, the a/c is on 24/7.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:43 PM   #36
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Hey, here's encouraging news for the "smart grid" fans. Maui has volunteered to be a guinea pig for the beta test:
Project aims to solve renewable energy puzzles - Hawaii News - Staradvertiser.com

(This article is free access until 14 Nov, but after that the newspaper may revert to their ill-considered money-grubbing attempt to charge for viewing. If it's any consolation, you guys on the Mainland can read it for a lot less than us local subscribers.)
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:20 AM   #37
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We use about 300-400 kwh/month regardless of summer or winter. Rarely use the A/C or heat and our bill is almost always around $35-$50/month.

There are 3 of us in a smallish tract house in SoCal with decent insulation but poor weatherstripping and single-pane windows. Heating is with natural gas.

I'm always shocked when I hear how much some people pay for electricity. In-laws in TX pay about $150/month in the winter and $500/month in summer! They do have quite a large house, but still seems crazy!
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:44 AM   #38
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In-laws in TX pay about $150/month in the winter and $500/month in summer! They do have quite a large house, but still seems crazy!
It is.

You need to tell folks to retire to SoCal instead of TX because of the lower cost of living out there on the west coast...
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:52 PM   #39
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It is.

You need to tell folks to retire to SoCal instead of TX because of the lower cost of living out there on the west coast...
Oh, I agree! Lower cost of living, much nicer weather, and they don't...

...oops, got to go. The rattlesnakes are attacking again. And this time they brought some scorpions and wild hogs with them!
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:26 PM   #40
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It is.

You need to tell folks to retire to SoCal instead of TX because of the lower cost of living out there on the west coast...
I'm trying, I'm trying! But every time I point out CA's lower cost of living and more business friendly climate, Texans seems to counter with their beautiful mountains, beaches and lakes!
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