Author Topic: And you don't think this is a problem?  (Read 16907 times)

Tabitha

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 100
And you don't think this is a problem?
« on: February 12, 2016, 09:19:15 PM »
A dear friend lives in an area where the electric company provides you with a ranking for how you are doing for consumption compared to customers in that area. Not exact of course as you have to make your own allowances for size of house, size of family, type of heating, etc. I'd LOVE to have that sort of benchmark. I'd consider it a personal challenge.

Friend's family of four?  1106 of 1106 in their area. I can't even.

PhysicianOnFIRE

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 452
  • Location: Up North
    • Physician On FIRE
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2016, 09:29:41 PM »
How high was the bill?  How many grow lights does their hydroponic marijuana plot require?  Is it still called a plot if there's no soil involved?

GrowingTheGreen

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 356
    • Growing The Green
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2016, 12:16:51 AM »
Yowza. That's just embarrassing. Sounds like they are careless with energy usage.

obstinate

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 875
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2016, 01:49:20 AM »
Pge provides us with a ranking of a hundred nearby similar houses. Our house is very inefficient so we are normally around number 10. But after switching to spot hearing this month I think that we may reach the top 5. I do believe I could top that list of our house was well insulated or had double paned windows. But I can't make the numbers add up.

lakemom

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 399
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2016, 06:47:28 AM »
A dear friend lives in an area where the electric company provides you with a ranking for how you are doing for consumption compared to customers in that area. Not exact of course as you have to make your own allowances for size of house, size of family, type of heating, etc. I'd LOVE to have that sort of benchmark. I'd consider it a personal challenge.

Friend's family of four?  1106 of 1106 in their area. I can't even.

Our utility company does this a couple of times per year.  Yeah...we always rank near the bottom (at least bottom 1/3) because we have an original 1961 gas fired boiler (at about 60% efficiency) that 4 different heating companies have told us 'don't replace it until it dies because they don't make them like this anymore' and the fact it would take about 30 years of savings to reach break even on payback.  We also have one of the largest home sq ft wise in our immediate area.  There are much larger homes in our neighborhood but the neighborhood across the main cross st. is all little tiny homes and duplexes so of course they use less energy.  I would definitely feel embarrassed if we placed dead last though.  I would question the purpose of the information though...are they trying to sell something?  Our brochure always includes info on how to request an energy audit.

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1452
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2016, 10:37:19 AM »
'don't replace it until it dies because they don't make them like this anymore'

I hear this in every single corner of life. It's just nostalgia...

I had an AC guy say the same about my neighbors AC unit. It's a small unit from what looks like the 70s. My 06 unit, takes half as much power and I have not touched it in the last 10 years, other than 1 capacitor.

Talk to any grandparent who owned any old muscle cars... Even when, that big V8 could hardly keep up with most '4bangers' today. Or how newer sports cars are 3-6 times more powerful and they won't kill you immediately upon a crash.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9864
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2016, 10:58:09 AM »
A dear friend lives in an area where the electric company provides you with a ranking for how you are doing for consumption compared to customers in that area. Not exact of course as you have to make your own allowances for size of house, size of family, type of heating, etc. I'd LOVE to have that sort of benchmark. I'd consider it a personal challenge.

Friend's family of four?  1106 of 1106 in their area. I can't even.

Our electric company (Quebec Hydro) does something similar, and I really like it.  They even factor in the daily temperatures and estimate how much of your energy is being spent on heating... presumably by comparing how your electricity usage changes with fluctuations in temperature.  That's especially important in an area where a winter day could be anywhere from -20F to +40F.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3642
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2016, 10:59:13 AM »
Out of curiosity, why do electrical companies do this? Are they required to do so? I imagine most businesses would want people to consume more as they get more profits that way.

coolistdude

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 204
  • Age: 29
    • Retirement Tree (Same One I Use):
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2016, 11:02:19 AM »
A dear friend lives in an area where the electric company provides you with a ranking for how you are doing for consumption compared to customers in that area. Not exact of course as you have to make your own allowances for size of house, size of family, type of heating, etc. I'd LOVE to have that sort of benchmark. I'd consider it a personal challenge.

Friend's family of four?  1106 of 1106 in their area. I can't even.

They are different than you. Can't justify it, can't explain it.

Nate R

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 336
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Milwaukee, WI (Bay View)
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2016, 11:08:46 AM »
'don't replace it until it dies because they don't make them like this anymore'

I hear this in every single corner of life. It's just nostalgia...

I had an AC guy say the same about my neighbors AC unit. It's a small unit from what looks like the 70s. My 06 unit, takes half as much power and I have not touched it in the last 10 years, other than 1 capacitor.

Talk to any grandparent who owned any old muscle cars... Even when, that big V8 could hardly keep up with most '4bangers' today. Or how newer sports cars are 3-6 times more powerful and they won't kill you immediately upon a crash.

Wow, I respectfully disagree. This may apply in some areas, like cars. But tradespeople don't usually say that just because of nostalgia. When my 1998 furnace had a cracked heat exchanger 2 years ago, I certainly thought about the furnaces from the 60s I knew of still running. (I knew of a few). Building materials I'd argue aren't that way either. I have windows from 1921 that can be refurbished and go another 50 years. Can't do that with the vinyl replacements in a different house.

There are a lot of things where the quality has been reduced to reduce initial cost or install labor, or maintenance. But some of those things don't pay off in the long run for the consumer. I'd happily trade increased maintenance for something that lasts longer, for example. Sure, I can buy a table saw for $100 today, but the quality of it isn't the same as my grandfather's table saw.

johnny847

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3196
    • My Blog
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2016, 11:14:15 AM »
Out of curiosity, why do electrical companies do this? Are they required to do so? I imagine most businesses would want people to consume more as they get more profits that way.

I'm just armchariing it here, but one possible reason is the grid is only rated for a certain output. We can't really store much energy for distribution, it needs to be created at the instant it's demanded (I have seen some systems that store lots of energy into massive flywheels at night and then release it during the day. But these kinds of tactics can only go so far).

If the peak demand exceeds the peak possible output of your grid then you have to increase the capacity of your grid, which is costly. And this is where I'm less confident about my statements - but generally speaking aren't there state regulations on how much they can charge? - since they're a monopoly. So they can't just arbitrarily increase prices.

TheOldestYoungMan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 750
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2016, 11:27:52 AM »
Sure, I can buy a table saw for $100 today, but the quality of it isn't the same as my grandfather's table saw.

You can also spend more on a quality table saw that is vastly superior to what your grandfather had.  That there are incredibly cheap options as alternatives today is a reason to keep and maintain the quality of the item of the past over buying a cheap option today.  The best option is to spend a little more on a quality option today once the maintenance costs of the older equipment justifies the upgrade.

Out of curiosity, why do electrical companies do this? Are they required to do so? I imagine most businesses would want people to consume more as they get more profits that way.

I'm just armchariing it here, but one possible reason is the grid is only rated for a certain output. We can't really store much energy for distribution, it needs to be created at the instant it's demanded (I have seen some systems that store lots of energy into massive flywheels at night and then release it during the day. But these kinds of tactics can only go so far).

If the peak demand exceeds the peak possible output of your grid then you have to increase the capacity of your grid, which is costly. And this is where I'm less confident about my statements - but generally speaking aren't there state regulations on how much they can charge? - since they're a monopoly. So they can't just arbitrarily increase prices.

In some places they might be required to provide the information.  I know mine do it now but haven't always done it.  If it isn't required the motivation on their part could just be to drive everyone towards a more standard rate of consumption.  It is in their best interest to have predictable demands.

The electric company wants to sell you all of the electricity they have available to sell.  The issue is that the price is set.  You are paying a set amount per kwh, but the cost to generate that varies.  So when you don't consume enough, they lose money.  And when you consume too much, they lose money.

Since they need us all right in the sweet spot, it behooves them to compare you to your neighbors.  The "ranking" system is probably not working the way they thought it would, because everyone wants to win so some people are trying to move up the rank in "life the RPG."

Where I'm at it is a graphic that shows the average user and how much over or under I am.  The psychological effect probably is to cause people using less to feel OK using more, and people using more to feel pressure to reign in.

That whole industry is in a state of massive flux at the moment because of the current economic situation regarding rooftop solar.  The utility companies are either going to figure out how to integrate this change into their business model or the lights are going to start blinking all over the US.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9864
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2016, 11:29:47 AM »
Out of curiosity, why do electrical companies do this? Are they required to do so? I imagine most businesses would want people to consume more as they get more profits that way.

I'm just armchariing it here, but one possible reason is the grid is only rated for a certain output. We can't really store much energy for distribution, it needs to be created at the instant it's demanded (I have seen some systems that store lots of energy into massive flywheels at night and then release it during the day. But these kinds of tactics can only go so far).

If the peak demand exceeds the peak possible output of your grid then you have to increase the capacity of your grid, which is costly. And this is where I'm less confident about my statements - but generally speaking aren't there state regulations on how much they can charge? - since they're a monopoly. So they can't just arbitrarily increase prices.
also just an observation... everywhere I've lived the electrical/power/hydro company has suggested ways that I can reduce my energy consumption, and often given incentives for reducing it (e.g. rebates on energy efficiency products).   It does seem a little peculiar, and I've always thought it might have to do with the explanation given above. No idea if it's right or not...

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9864
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2016, 11:39:25 AM »
Sure, I can buy a table saw for $100 today, but the quality of it isn't the same as my grandfather's table saw.

You can also spend more on a quality table saw that is vastly superior to what your grandfather had.  That there are incredibly cheap options as alternatives today is a reason to keep and maintain the quality of the item of the past over buying a cheap option today.  The best option is to spend a little more on a quality option today once the maintenance costs of the older equipment justifies the upgrade.

I'm also wondering what role survivorship bias has on this belief that "things don't last as long as they used to."  The stuff that we see today that was built in the 1960s and 70s could be statistical outlyers;  all the less reliable things have found their way to the junk yard decades ago. 
Just an observation.

johnny847

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3196
    • My Blog
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2016, 11:45:58 AM »
In some places they might be required to provide the information.  I know mine do it now but haven't always done it.  If it isn't required the motivation on their part could just be to drive everyone towards a more standard rate of consumption.  It is in their best interest to have predictable demands.

The electric company wants to sell you all of the electricity they have available to sell.  The issue is that the price is set.  You are paying a set amount per kwh, but the cost to generate that varies.  So when you don't consume enough, they lose money.  And when you consume too much, they lose money.

Since they need us all right in the sweet spot, it behooves them to compare you to your neighbors.  The "ranking" system is probably not working the way they thought it would, because everyone wants to win so some people are trying to move up the rank in "life the RPG."

Where I'm at it is a graphic that shows the average user and how much over or under I am.  The psychological effect probably is to cause people using less to feel OK using more, and people using more to feel pressure to reign in.

That whole industry is in a state of massive flux at the moment because of the current economic situation regarding rooftop solar.  The utility companies are either going to figure out how to integrate this change into their business model or the lights are going to start blinking all over the US.

I like this explanation beter than mine. But I still don't think this explains eveything because at least with my power company (I assume many others too) there's a different rate for peak hours vs non peak hours. And the summer rates are higher. With your explanation as long as people are consistent with their usage and they charge different rates at different hours, there should be an incentive to get people to lower their usage.

Again, by no means do I claim to be an expert on this stuff.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9864
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2016, 11:53:22 AM »
In some places they might be required to provide the information.  I know mine do it now but haven't always done it.  If it isn't required the motivation on their part could just be to drive everyone towards a more standard rate of consumption.  It is in their best interest to have predictable demands.

The electric company wants to sell you all of the electricity they have available to sell.  The issue is that the price is set.  You are paying a set amount per kwh, but the cost to generate that varies.  So when you don't consume enough, they lose money.  And when you consume too much, they lose money.

Since they need us all right in the sweet spot, it behooves them to compare you to your neighbors.  The "ranking" system is probably not working the way they thought it would, because everyone wants to win so some people are trying to move up the rank in "life the RPG."

Where I'm at it is a graphic that shows the average user and how much over or under I am.  The psychological effect probably is to cause people using less to feel OK using more, and people using more to feel pressure to reign in.

That whole industry is in a state of massive flux at the moment because of the current economic situation regarding rooftop solar.  The utility companies are either going to figure out how to integrate this change into their business model or the lights are going to start blinking all over the US.

I like this explanation beter than mine. But I still don't think this explains eveything because at least with my power company (I assume many others too) there's a different rate for peak hours vs non peak hours. And the summer rates are higher. With your explanation as long as people are consistent with their usage and they charge different rates at different hours, there should be an incentive to get people to lower their usage.

Again, by no means do I claim to be an expert on this stuff.
Likewise, we have three rates; our base rate (up to 30kw*h/day), and then two higher rates; one for >30kw*h at off-peak times and another for >30kwh during peak hours.  In the flyers they send out they urge customers to try cutting their bill by shifting energy intensive activities like running the dishwasher or dryer to off-peak times.  They definitely seem to be trying to get customers to reduce the peak load.

shadowmoss

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1020
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2016, 12:56:00 PM »

That whole industry is in a state of massive flux at the moment ...

I see what you did there.

johnny847

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3196
    • My Blog
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2016, 12:58:16 PM »

That whole industry is in a state of massive flux at the moment ...

I see what you did there.

Haha I didnt catch that the first time, but nice one!

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6083
  • Location: BC
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2016, 01:12:53 PM »
....
  In the flyers they send out they urge customers to try cutting their bill by shifting energy intensive activities like running the dishwasher or dryer to off-peak times.  They definitely seem to be trying to get customers to reduce the peak load.

The reason is that electricity generally can not be stored, so where there is a huge difference in peak versus off peak load, they want to shift usage, even when the grid can handle the peak (which it can't, per the other posts).

Things that modify whether a utility goes to time of day pricing, (in addition to the ability / authority to do so)...
1) how they can scale back electrical production-- even coal fired plants have to generate a fair amount at "low" setting overnight, this goes to waste if not consumed
2) can they sell the evening electricity to someone?  Maybe a neighboring state?
3) can they store it -- batteries (new, expensive, rare), or hydro electric dams are the primary storage mechanisms.   Our utility buys coal fired electricity at rock bottom overnight prices from our neighboring province, to pump water back into the dam...! .   Their hydro dams are pretty flexible in scaling how much power they generate, but at times you waste the water held in them to maintain the fish habitats... pumping back in allows the dam to function as if it were a larger resevori...

Utilities generally don't want to have everyone max out their power bill because the cost of new capacity (grid and production) is so much more than the cost of the existing, partly due to higher standards and more difficult sources.  Not many regions can build new nuclear or coal plants, for example.   Also, most regions require state money to help fund capital projects, and the government refuses to provide this until the utility demonstrates that they have done all that they can.   Finally, the governments want a lot of power available for industry, and attracting new industries to their region, which demand affordable and plenty of electricity.


andy85

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Louisville, KY
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2016, 01:22:54 PM »
Out of curiosity, why do electrical companies do this? Are they required to do so? I imagine most businesses would want people to consume more as they get more profits that way.

I'm just armchariing it here, but one possible reason is the grid is only rated for a certain output. We can't really store much energy for distribution, it needs to be created at the instant it's demanded (I have seen some systems that store lots of energy into massive flywheels at night and then release it during the day. But these kinds of tactics can only go so far).

If the peak demand exceeds the peak possible output of your grid then you have to increase the capacity of your grid, which is costly. And this is where I'm less confident about my statements - but generally speaking aren't there state regulations on how much they can charge? - since they're a monopoly. So they can't just arbitrarily increase prices.
this is pretty accuracte johnny. while we want people to consume, we dont want people to consume too much. the more people consume, the more demand it puts on our grid. this could in turn cause us to have to build more/bigger generation units and that cost would be passed onto customers in the form of higher rates. during the summer, our biggest customer has to time their startup with our peak demand...if they dont then the could shut down our entire grid.

rates are agreed upon with the local public service commission (psc) (for my company at least). for instance, we have spent several billion dollars over the past few years retiring coal plants and building new, state of the art natrual gas combined-cycle generation plants. this is all due to EPA regulation compliance. Politics aside, when the EPA sets a regulation, we have to comply. Our compliance means billions of dollars must get spent upgrading and/or building new plants. we then submit a 'rate case' to the psc for review based on what costs we need to recover. the more money we spend, the more costs we need to recover, the higher the rates go. we have also started exploring solar and wind options. Since these regulations are so expensive, you see an absolutely massive push for energy efficiency programs. We have a dozen or so. One of them is allowing us to place a switch on your a/c unit which we can control remotely and shut off for 1-2 hours at a time during peak hours in the summer when the demand on the system is at it's highest (you get a credit on your bill during the summer months...dont recall the amount...$5-10/month i think)

johnny847

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3196
    • My Blog
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2016, 02:00:49 PM »
Out of curiosity, why do electrical companies do this? Are they required to do so? I imagine most businesses would want people to consume more as they get more profits that way.

I'm just armchariing it here, but one possible reason is the grid is only rated for a certain output. We can't really store much energy for distribution, it needs to be created at the instant it's demanded (I have seen some systems that store lots of energy into massive flywheels at night and then release it during the day. But these kinds of tactics can only go so far).

If the peak demand exceeds the peak possible output of your grid then you have to increase the capacity of your grid, which is costly. And this is where I'm less confident about my statements - but generally speaking aren't there state regulations on how much they can charge? - since they're a monopoly. So they can't just arbitrarily increase prices.
this is pretty accuracte johnny. while we want people to consume, we dont want people to consume too much. the more people consume, the more demand it puts on our grid. this could in turn cause us to have to build more/bigger generation units and that cost would be passed onto customers in the form of higher rates. during the summer, our biggest customer has to time their startup with our peak demand...if they dont then the could shut down our entire grid.

rates are agreed upon with the local public service commission (psc) (for my company at least). for instance, we have spent several billion dollars over the past few years retiring coal plants and building new, state of the art natrual gas combined-cycle generation plants. this is all due to EPA regulation compliance. Politics aside, when the EPA sets a regulation, we have to comply. Our compliance means billions of dollars must get spent upgrading and/or building new plants. we then submit a 'rate case' to the psc for review based on what costs we need to recover. the more money we spend, the more costs we need to recover, the higher the rates go. we have also started exploring solar and wind options. Since these regulations are so expensive, you see an absolutely massive push for energy efficiency programs. We have a dozen or so. One of them is allowing us to place a switch on your a/c unit which we can control remotely and shut off for 1-2 hours at a time during peak hours in the summer when the demand on the system is at it's highest (you get a credit on your bill during the summer months...dont recall the amount...$5-10/month i think)

Thanks for weighing in andy85! Good to get an analysis from someone actually working in the industry.

BTDretire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2391
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2016, 03:42:02 PM »
My electric company also sends out a letter detailing where you rank.
My use is always first or second to the highest use.
The reason is we have some business use of the home business and
that uses a lot of electricity.
But I've always wondered when there would be a raid looking for grow lights!

maco

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 422
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2016, 05:35:13 PM »
Sure, I can buy a table saw for $100 today, but the quality of it isn't the same as my grandfather's table saw.

You can also spend more on a quality table saw that is vastly superior to what your grandfather had.  That there are incredibly cheap options as alternatives today is a reason to keep and maintain the quality of the item of the past over buying a cheap option today.  The best option is to spend a little more on a quality option today once the maintenance costs of the older equipment justifies the upgrade.

I'm also wondering what role survivorship bias has on this belief that "things don't last as long as they used to."  The stuff that we see today that was built in the 1960s and 70s could be statistical outlyers;  all the less reliable things have found their way to the junk yard decades ago. 
Just an observation.
Some old things are easier to repair. A sewing machine from the first half of the 20th century will be made completely out of metal. Even if it hasn't been taken care of, some penetrating oil, compressed air, and maybe a Philips head (to adjust the timing) should be all you need to get one of those running again. Modern machines are largely plastic. A steel piece isn't going to break, but a plastic one can, and replacing that would be a pain.

SeanMC

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 152
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2016, 05:40:26 PM »
Modern machines are largely plastic. A steel piece isn't going to break, but a plastic one can, and replacing that would be a pain.

At some point in the not-so-far-off future, 3D printing will be cheap and accessible enough to replace some of these broken plastic pieces too.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9864
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2016, 05:49:35 PM »
Sure, I can buy a table saw for $100 today, but the quality of it isn't the same as my grandfather's table saw.

You can also spend more on a quality table saw that is vastly superior to what your grandfather had.  That there are incredibly cheap options as alternatives today is a reason to keep and maintain the quality of the item of the past over buying a cheap option today.  The best option is to spend a little more on a quality option today once the maintenance costs of the older equipment justifies the upgrade.

I'm also wondering what role survivorship bias has on this belief that "things don't last as long as they used to."  The stuff that we see today that was built in the 1960s and 70s could be statistical outlyers;  all the less reliable things have found their way to the junk yard decades ago. 
Just an observation.
Some old things are easier to repair. A sewing machine from the first half of the 20th century will be made completely out of metal. Even if it hasn't been taken care of, some penetrating oil, compressed air, and maybe a Philips head (to adjust the timing) should be all you need to get one of those running again. Modern machines are largely plastic. A steel piece isn't going to break, but a plastic one can, and replacing that would be a pain.
Sure, but does serviceability necessarily equate to longevity?  i'm not so sure.  Take cars for example - modern cars use lots of plastic, and they last longer, drive faster, are more efficient and are much safer than cars from the 1950s. And if you are periodically replacing parts and servicing, what does that say about the true reliability and longevity of a product?

I don't have the answer here, nad this is a bit of devil's advocate, but I'm also having trouble thinking many quality items made today that are less reliable or have a shorter service life than similar quality items of 50+ years ago.  Ignoring the junky, 'entry level' stuff from both periods of course...

ruthiegirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 337
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2016, 06:12:33 PM »
How many grow lights does their hydroponic marijuana plot require? 

That was my thought too.  I live in Oregon where we recently legalized marijuana.  Side effect of the new law -- huge surge in electricity use. 

Chris22

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3210
  • Location: Chicago NW Suburbs
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2016, 10:04:20 AM »
Sure, I can buy a table saw for $100 today, but the quality of it isn't the same as my grandfather's table saw.

I'm of two minds on this one.  On one, I hate buying cheap crap, and I like the thought that stuff I buy will last a long time.

On the other, I don't want to be priced out of the market, either.  I can't afford to buy tools that are built for 50 years of use, given my occasional use of them.  I don't want a $100 table saw, but I might want to buy a $300 table saw, and if it's built for 50 years, it will probably cost more like $1300.  I can't justify that for how much I'm going to use it. 

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9864
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2016, 10:18:02 AM »
Sure, I can buy a table saw for $100 today, but the quality of it isn't the same as my grandfather's table saw.

I'm of two minds on this one.  On one, I hate buying cheap crap, and I like the thought that stuff I buy will last a long time.

On the other, I don't want to be priced out of the market, either.  I can't afford to buy tools that are built for 50 years of use, given my occasional use of them.  I don't want a $100 table saw, but I might want to buy a $300 table saw, and if it's built for 50 years, it will probably cost more like $1300.  I can't justify that for how much I'm going to use it.
I have this dilemma too.  I inherently like the BIFL mentality and really like not purchasing things that will have to be scrapped later.  OTOH I realize that in most cases I'm not "good enough" to justify the really HQ stuff.  Using your table-saw example, I can do everything I need with a decent bosch table saw for $350.  It's not the best, but I know I can buy a new one every single decade for about what a really awesome saw would cost.  If I were a master craftsman I would justify the really expensive saw, but since I do more carpentry work where tolerances aren't super-fine... the $350 model is fine.
in that regard, the 'longevity' of an item may not be very favorable if it's initial cost is 4-5x what a decent model costs.

I'm conflicted.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7877
  • Location: United States
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2016, 10:52:17 AM »
Does the company provide distribution information? What's the variance?

To me, the more useful information is HOW MUCH more are they using than the middle, or even the top.  It could be a trivial amount or it could be a huge amount. But someone has to the at the bottom.

cats

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1076
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2016, 10:55:01 AM »
In California at least, power consumption is "decoupled" from profits, and the utility is actually incentivized to reduce consumption.  Also, as others have pointed out, you can't really store power and it's in the companies interests to avoid big fluctuations in demand.

Here's a little blurb from our local power company on "how we make money": http://www.pge.com/en/myhome/saveenergymoney/plans/rateanalysis/howwemakemoney/index.page

Our online account also shows how we compare to "average" and "energy efficient" homes in our area.  In our old apartment, we were typically well under the average but hovering a bit above energy efficient.  My theory there is that we lived in an area with a lot of tech workers who ate out or got all their meals at work, so the difference was primarily that we used our stove/oven more.  We didn't have AC and never turned the heat on,   our biggest spikes in power use were the oven and my hairdryer (both used approximately 1x/week...I guess since tech workers tend to skew male they may also spend less money on running their hairdryers....).  In our new place, we are generally under the "efficient" line, except for a couple of months recently when we were dehydrating a LOT of food and spiked up to about halfway between average and efficient.

One thing that we were at first puzzled by when we started looking at energy consumption is that our energy use went up in the winter even if we didn't turn on the heater at all.  Eventually we realized that with the shorter days, we were using electric lighting (rather than daylight) a bit more often each day, and that that does in fact add up over the course of the month.

Chris22

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3210
  • Location: Chicago NW Suburbs
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2016, 11:00:10 AM »
My power usage will go down now that I took down the light fixture in my basement that was wired to "on" all the time for about 6 weeks.  We were/are renovating and the fixture was already in place and we had removed a lot of the other wiring.  Rather than run a switch, I knew it was short term, so we just wired it on.  Oh well.  Took it out this weekend so we're good.

johnny847

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3196
    • My Blog
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2016, 11:01:38 AM »
I wish my pwoer company would rank me with my neighbors. As best as I can tell, they don't provide this information.

They do however use smart meters (I feel like a lot of companies do this but idk) and I can track my usage daily, which is cool.

aasdfadsf

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 99
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2016, 10:57:34 PM »
Quote
Out of curiosity, why do electrical companies do this? Are they required to do so? I imagine most businesses would want people to consume more as they get more profits that way.

Regulated utilities don't work the same way as normal businesses. They are basically granted a monopoly in exchange for guaranteeing reliable service for all customers, and they get a fixed profit over cost. But this means that in some situations, more consumption is bad for them. They might need to build new plants that have huge capital costs but only service a small number of customers. They'd much rather use their legacy plants to service existing load and only replace them when they absolutely have to. This is especially true with new plants designed only to service peak load. Utilities really want to shave down peak load, which is why so many utilities have programs in place to let them throttle back people's ACs during peak hours.

This particular program of shaming people into using less appears to be a cheaper means of accomplishing the same thing. Also, there are government programs that subsidize conservation efforts, and the power companies want to look good by at least pretending to care about the pollution they create. 

The regulated utility model is rapidly becoming obsolete, especially with the advent of cheap rooftop solar. There are all sorts of wonky studies and whatnot out there about how to deal with it, which is not my wheelhouse. But do realize that the model, as it currently stands, is somewhat broken and results it all sorts of counterintuitive behavior.

Scandium

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2198
  • Location: EastCoast
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2016, 10:54:11 AM »
I don't have the answer here, nad this is a bit of devil's advocate, but I'm also having trouble thinking many quality items made today that are less reliable or have a shorter service life than similar quality items of 50+ years ago.  Ignoring the junky, 'entry level' stuff from both periods of course...

I feel like price is also an issue with these statements. Sure, grandpa's table saw lasted for decades, but how much did he pay for it? If he got a saw for (inflation adjusted) $1500, and someone say it's much better built than a $150 Skil saw..? Well duh!

Lots of stuff has gotten cheaper, but if you stay in the same price/quality range as the old things i would think manufacturing advances would make stuff better these days, not worse.

Making Cookies

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1648
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2016, 03:35:57 PM »
Modern machines are largely plastic. A steel piece isn't going to break, but a plastic one can, and replacing that would be a pain.

At some point in the not-so-far-off future, 3D printing will be cheap and accessible enough to replace some of these broken plastic pieces too.

Which assumes that someone at that house is capable of using 3-D CAD and a rapid prototyping machine. I deal with people all the time that can't set up an email program let alone something like CAD and a Makerbot. ;)

And for quality tools - sometimes used antique tools can be had for the right price. I bought a used Craftsman scroll-saw for $30 from a coworker. Made of very heavy materials and did not have alot of use on it. Have done that a few times, so has my father.

I'm with you - not happy buying disposable things. I want to buy quality when I can afford it.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 03:42:03 PM by Jethrosnose »

TheGrimSqueaker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2102
  • Location: A desert wasteland, where none but the weird survive
  • www.theliveinlandlord.com
    • The Live-In Landlord
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2016, 11:01:42 AM »
Modern machines are largely plastic. A steel piece isn't going to break, but a plastic one can, and replacing that would be a pain.

At some point in the not-so-far-off future, 3D printing will be cheap and accessible enough to replace some of these broken plastic pieces too.

Trouble is, if I have to print myself a new sewing machine or repair it prior to each use, I end up spending more time diddling with the tool than I spend using the tool. That, for me, is a fish-or-cut-bait point. I've gotten rid of several whizbang tools that required more time in maintenance, cleaning, and repair than they saved me by making a job go faster. They aren't worth the storage space, and it ends up being literally faster to just do the job by hand.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9864
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2016, 11:43:58 AM »
Modern machines are largely plastic. A steel piece isn't going to break, but a plastic one can, and replacing that would be a pain.
I don't agree that steel pieces wont' break, or that plastic ones are necessarily inferior. 

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3645
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2016, 02:10:44 PM »
Are they doing anything interesting with it?

I was using over 2500kWh/mo for a few months, which led to $350 power bills.  I was mining over $100/day in bitcoin at the time, using most of the circuits in my house with spare power.

I'm OK with being #1 in the neighborhood for that kind of return.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2016, 05:24:27 PM »
How many grow lights does their hydroponic marijuana plot require? 

That was my thought too.  I live in Oregon where we recently legalized marijuana.  Side effect of the new law -- huge surge in electricity use.

I still don't get why they don't just grow the damn things outside. My Oregon in-laws claim hydroponic stuff is better-quality or something, but I find it hard to believe that stoners would go to the extra effort.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9588
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #39 on: February 25, 2016, 05:53:21 PM »
Ha! We got one of those yesterday. It's already shredded, but it went something like this:

Average consumption for homes in your area: XX
Average consumption for energy efficient homes in your area: X
Your average consumption: XXX

WTF! Our home is a 2600 sf, newer, custom, energy-efficient home nestled among small 40-50 year old homes. We are four adults. We eat nearly every meal at home. My MIL lives with us and she has Alzheimer's. The concept of conservation is completely lost on her. She frequently wears a coat and hat inside despite the fact that we keep the house at 68 for her. If we turned down the heat, she would probably shut down completely. Oh yeah, we are surrounded by protected redwoods, so solar is not an option. We were conservative when we could be and we will be so again in our lives, but for now, it is what it is. I don't really give a flying fuck what my neighbor's bills are, PG&E. Well, I do care... just about as much as I care what kind of cars they drive or what kind of vacations they take. All I can say is I'm glad I'm FIRE so I have the time to take care of my MIL and the resources to pay these sky-high utility bills without losing sleep over them. The blue ribbon for conservation will have to go to someone else this time.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9864
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #40 on: February 25, 2016, 05:54:28 PM »
How many grow lights does their hydroponic marijuana plot require? 

That was my thought too.  I live in Oregon where we recently legalized marijuana.  Side effect of the new law -- huge surge in electricity use.

I still don't get why they don't just grow the damn things outside. My Oregon in-laws claim hydroponic stuff is better-quality or something, but I find it hard to believe that stoners would go to the extra effort.
Isn't it illegal to grow more than 5 plants? I thought people grew them inside because they were doing something against the law...

maco

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 422
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #41 on: February 25, 2016, 08:48:54 PM »
How many grow lights does their hydroponic marijuana plot require? 

That was my thought too.  I live in Oregon where we recently legalized marijuana.  Side effect of the new law -- huge surge in electricity use.

I still don't get why they don't just grow the damn things outside. My Oregon in-laws claim hydroponic stuff is better-quality or something, but I find it hard to believe that stoners would go to the extra effort.
Isn't it illegal to grow more than 5 plants? I thought people grew them inside because they were doing something against the law...
What are you growing outdoors in the north in February?

maco

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 422
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #42 on: February 25, 2016, 08:51:38 PM »
She frequently wears a coat and hat inside despite the fact that we keep the house at 68 for her.
I would too! 68...fingers go numb just thinking about it. Brrr!

Ok, actually I've got my house at 70 and my fingers and toes are both numb right now. I'm wearing wool long underwear under my clothes and wool socks. I should go put my bathrobe on over my clothes and make a hot cup of tea to thaw my fingers.

woopwoop

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 408
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #43 on: February 25, 2016, 09:51:35 PM »
I still don't get why they don't just grow the damn things outside. My Oregon in-laws claim hydroponic stuff is better-quality or something, but I find it hard to believe that stoners would go to the extra effort.
Outdoor grows are much harder to keep free of contamination (fertilization) and have much worse yields, plus the shorter season for growing. I don't know why you're so dismissive of mj growers, that's like saying "ugh, do people really care about the hops content in their beer? It's hard to believe drunks would go to the extra effort to make microbrews."

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9864
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #44 on: February 26, 2016, 05:25:47 AM »
How many grow lights does their hydroponic marijuana plot require? 

That was my thought too.  I live in Oregon where we recently legalized marijuana.  Side effect of the new law -- huge surge in electricity use.
When I lived in northen california... strawberries, spinach, other cold-weather greens.  I'd imagine Oregon is similar.  On a typical year most of hte rain falls between November and March, and deep frosts are fairly rare. 
I still don't get why they don't just grow the damn things outside. My Oregon in-laws claim hydroponic stuff is better-quality or something, but I find it hard to believe that stoners would go to the extra effort.
Isn't it illegal to grow more than 5 plants? I thought people grew them inside because they were doing something against the law...
What are you growing outdoors in the north in February?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3054
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #45 on: February 26, 2016, 08:46:23 AM »
She frequently wears a coat and hat inside despite the fact that we keep the house at 68 for her.
I would too! 68...fingers go numb just thinking about it. Brrr!

Ok, actually I've got my house at 70 and my fingers and toes are both numb right now. I'm wearing wool long underwear under my clothes and wool socks. I should go put my bathrobe on over my clothes and make a hot cup of tea to thaw my fingers.

You should seriously look into whether you have a medical issue, if you haven't already. That is not how most people work.

(Or you were joking.)

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10147
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #46 on: February 26, 2016, 08:50:13 AM »
Reynaud's Syndrome?  Or just not acclimated to cold?

She frequently wears a coat and hat inside despite the fact that we keep the house at 68 for her.
I would too! 68...fingers go numb just thinking about it. Brrr!

Ok, actually I've got my house at 70 and my fingers and toes are both numb right now. I'm wearing wool long underwear under my clothes and wool socks. I should go put my bathrobe on over my clothes and make a hot cup of tea to thaw my fingers.

infogoon

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #47 on: February 26, 2016, 09:37:05 AM »
We're around number 80 out of 100 on the fliers that my utility company sends out.

Which used to concern me -- and then I realized that my neighborhood is mostly dual-income childless couples, many of whom live in duplexes. We, on the other hand, are a family of five in a single-family, and my wife is a stay-at-home mom. It's not surprising that a house occupied 24 hours a day by multiple people uses more energy than a duplex that's empty five days a week while the occupants are at work.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #48 on: February 26, 2016, 10:00:00 AM »
I still don't get why they don't just grow the damn things outside. My Oregon in-laws claim hydroponic stuff is better-quality or something, but I find it hard to believe that stoners would go to the extra effort.
Outdoor grows are much harder to keep free of contamination (fertilization) and have much worse yields, plus the shorter season for growing. I don't know why you're so dismissive of mj growers, that's like saying "ugh, do people really care about the hops content in their beer? It's hard to believe drunks would go to the extra effort to make microbrews."

So why not apply the same logic to other plants? Why isn't everyone's entire vegetable garden grown hydroponically in their basements?

It seems unreasonable to me that the vast majority of marijuana users would care about such things in the same way that the vast majority of people aren't foodies. It makes me think the common practice of growing it indoors is more a relic of the fact that growing outside used to not be an choice, and that the quality argument is mostly a red herring.

The actual point I was trying to get it is that the legalization of marijuana doesn't have to cause increased electricity use; it only does so in practice because people aren't thinking through their options.

(Of course, I suppose I could be totally off-base and the DEA is flying surveillance planes across people's backyards and continuing to arrest them for it despite it being legal under state law, or something. If that's the case, never mind.)

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9864
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: And you don't think this is a problem?
« Reply #49 on: February 26, 2016, 11:24:20 AM »
...
So why not apply the same logic to other plants? Why isn't everyone's entire vegetable garden grown hydroponically in their basements?

It seems unreasonable to me that the vast majority of marijuana users would care about such things in the same way that the vast majority of people aren't foodies. It makes me think the common practice of growing it indoors is more a relic of the fact that growing outside used to not be an choice, and that the quality argument is mostly a red herring.


I knew I was right (or at least on the right track)!!
Quote
Starting July 1, 2015, households will be allowed to have up to four marijuana plants...

Ergo I think a lot of people are growing marijuana indoors in Oregon because they are way, way, way over the 4 plant limit.  You could grow 4 plants indoors with a few hundred watts with modern florescent bulbs (e.g. T5HOs).  That wouldn't put a huge dent into one's electricity bill.  However, if you want to grow, say, 40 plants indoors, well then electricity use starts becoming really substantial.