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 American kilowatt-hour meter
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 1:40:11 AM on 7 October 2017.
Wa2ise's avatar
 Location: Oradell, US
 Member since 2 April 2010
 Member #: 643
 Postcount: 766

After about 6 month of missed readings (the meter is in the basement) I scheduled a reading, but the guy never showed up. Called the power company and the said I could email them a picture of my meter, showing clearly the pointers. Okay, figured Aussie electricians might be a bit curious about what American kilowatt meters look like. The rate is about 17 cents a kilowatthour around here (northern New Jersey, just outside of New York City), which is higher than most power companies here.

American Watt-Hour Meter


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 7:37:50 AM on 7 October 2017.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6348

I'll start first on meter readers and then work my way up to electricity prices.

Firstly, some (not all) meter readers here are the laziest pack of bludgers on the planet. If they so much as have to squash a snail to get to one's meter box here they just put a card in the customer's letter box which instructs them to read the meter, write the reading on the card and post it back otherwise the supply authority will estimate the usage for the last quarter based on previous usage. It goes without saying that the estimate is usually guessed a little larger than it should but it's all legal and perfectly above board.

The only time a meter reader should be leaving cards is if the meter box has an illegal lock on it or if the reader confronts a savage dog - both scenarios are understandable.

As for electricity prices, if you are only paying 17c per kWh, when can we all come and live in the US? About a month ago I compiled some "around the grounds" electricity prices to include in a debate on what a farce the electricity generation debate in Australia has become. In short, governments are allowing companies to close down coal-fired power stations without replacing them with other full-time generation, instead replacing them with solar farms and windmills that do not have the output of the previous power station and of course, do not generate power all the time.

Last summer, South Australia, which no longer has any coal-fired power stations, and has to import roughly a third of its consumption from neighbouring states, suffered a blackout (yep, the whole state) that lasted up to three days in parts. A storm blew over some EHV transmission towers, cutting off a large amount of power and as a result the rest of the grid just fell over as what remained didn't have the capacity for the load that was on it. In the meantime, the Victorian Government has allowed its oldest power station, Hazelwood, to close down and this has removed 22% of its baseload generation and next to nothing has replaced it. If Australia is hit with heatwaves this summer then a lot of people are going to go without power. Victoria is less than half the size of South Australia in land area but it is far more densely populated and includes Australia's second-largest city.

Because of the loss of baseload generation over the last ten years, prices have gone through the roof here. I do remember a time when I only paid 17c / kWh, ahhh they were the days. Below is that list of prices I put together.

South Australia: 47c/kWh
Sweden: 45c/kWh
Germany: 43c/kWh
Italy: 40c/kWh
New South Wales: 39c/kWh
Queensland: 36c/kWh
Victoria: 35c/kWh
Great Britain: 31c/kWh
European Union Average: 30c/kWh
United States of America: 16c/kWh

This is what happens when ideology takes over from engineering. It's like letting the animals run the zoo.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 8:12:37 AM on 7 October 2017.
STC830's Gravatar
 Location: NSW
 Member since 10 June 2010
 Member #: 681
 Postcount: 941

"This is what happens when ideology takes over from engineering. It's like letting the animals run the zoo."

Employ a professional. Provide a budget. Now get on with it.

But that was what the NSW government did in the late forties - early fifties by creating the Electricity Commission as a result of black-outs and lack of private investment in the industry. Black-outs fixed.
Then various governments used electricity revenue as general revenue and cleaned what they called "hollow logs" containing money put aside for future works. The generation assets built by the Commission are now sold off to private industry to fund other capital works.

We are now back to black-outs and lack of private investment in base load power.

The situation in the other eastern states is different in detail but have elements of the NSW picture.

Time to re-form the Electricity Commission or something like it?

That's my understanding and interpretation of the situation. Probably too general.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 8:23:08 AM on 7 October 2017.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6348

That's about the size of it STC. Wink

It will be interesting to see what happens with Liddell Power Station, which AGL wants to close in 2022. In my mind, taking 2000MW of generating capacity out without replacing that shortfall is just madness but even AGL admits their shareholders come before their customers. It's how brazen these idiots have become and it's almost like these companies want to become known for notoriety, just like a gang of bushrangers.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 11:01:31 AM on 7 October 2017.
BringBackTheValve's Gravatar
 Location: Linton, VIC
 Member since 30 December 2016
 Member #: 2028
 Postcount: 240

Wa2ise,

You are on a good thing, stick with it man. How I wish I was paying the same for my modest power consumption.

Meanwhile, here we are in a land blessed with a plethora of coal and gas but cannot make good use of it because gutless politicians fear losing a vote or two from screaming minority inner city dwelling misfits.

Oh, yeh, we also have perfect potential dam sites, good old clean hydro---. But no, the same noisy screaming minority hate dams too---.

Besides, there is money left to build such things now, it's been promised on perfectly useless items like giant batteries, etc.etc.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 9:04:01 PM on 7 October 2017.
BringBackTheValve's Gravatar
 Location: Linton, VIC
 Member since 30 December 2016
 Member #: 2028
 Postcount: 240

Just a thought;

Would it be cheaper to sling a cable between SA and the USA rather than buying the proposed battery (which will be stuffed in about 10 years) from Mr. M. who seems to be rather unlucky in rocket technology???

Have a think about it SA politicians, because poor old VIC may not have any surplus electrons to bail you out this summer.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 9:26:33 PM on 7 October 2017.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6348

The battery won't last that long anyway. I'm yet to see any battery last for more than five years at its rated output. People are ditching Toyota Priuses, Holden Volts, Nissan Leafs and other electric and hybrid cars rather than having the batteries in them replaced - it's cheaper.

The 50MW battery that Tesla is building in SA will also only last for about ten minutes under full load. It gives the people of SA an opportunity to reach for the candles and matches whilst the lights are still on. What the SA Government also forgets is that if the battery is the last piece of generating infrastructure that is still operating during a blackout situation it'll take itself offline anyway. Even in a state of only 2 million people, 50MW isn't enough to keep the grid juiced up.

Elon Musk as seen Jay Weatherill coming I reckon.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 9:29:12 PM on 7 October 2017.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6010

Politics aside, the title of this thread should read Kilowatt Hour meter.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 9:57:31 PM on 7 October 2017.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6348

Quite right. All adjusted. Smile


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 6:17:21 AM on 10 October 2017.
Wa2ise's avatar
 Location: Oradell, US
 Member since 2 April 2010
 Member #: 643
 Postcount: 766

Wow, at 47c to 35c/kWh, I doubt anyone heats their house with electricity in Australia. Some people in the USA who live in power company areas that have large hydro generators and low rates (like 8c/kWh)! use electricity for heat (baseboard power resistors). Google set up a big server farm near a hydroelectric dam in a small town in the northwest USA to use the cheap power.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 6:42:43 AM on 10 October 2017.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6348

I doubt anyone heats their house with electricity in Australia.

That's the big problem, they do. Gas is an option where the pipes are laid or where a truck can deliver cylinders and a good number of people use stoves (combustion heaters) but electric fires are probably the most common source of heat and winter electric bills of $1,500.00 aren't uncommon, if peoples' claims are correct.

I live in a flat so my heater is a small one and I just use it to warm me up, not the whole place. My bill is a little smaller as a result of that.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 12 · Written at 7:53:18 AM on 10 October 2017.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
 Member since 10 May 2013
 Member #: 1340
 Postcount: 745

The meter in picture: Schlumberger - a French Co. (pronounced 'Slum-burr-shay'.) Like that other French giant Schneider (owner of Clipsal and Square-D circuit breakers.) They just put in a new meter for me - a Landis+Gyr (Swiss Co.)(must be the new lowest bidder.)

Small island nations like Caribbean islands, Fiji, Samoa... have very high rates (Diesel?) Does not affect wealthy Richard Branson, Simon Cowell who winter in the Caribbean. Another wealthy man, Elon Musk, promising to re-electrify Puerto Rico (an island about the same size & population as S.E. Qld) who defaulted on their utility bonds due to high rates (both electric rates & interest rates) coupled with poverty - just before cat-5 storm wrecked grid infrastructure.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 13 · Written at 10:45:07 AM on 15 October 2017.
Robbbert's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 18 September 2015
 Member #: 1801
 Postcount: 1379

I used to have a problem with meter readers, they seemed to get lost on the way to the meter box, even though both it and the house are clearly visible from the street. I only found out when the bill arrived with an estimated reading. The estimate is based on what you used at the same time last year. Sometimes I still get an estimated reading, the excuse being "operational reasons", which I suspect means someone was sick or just too lazy to do the rounds.

Now, to prices...

Our prices have 3 components: A price per kwatt; a connection fee per day; and GST (a consumption tax), levied at 10% of the total of the other two.

On the last bill, power was 27.09 c/kw, hot water was 16.82 c/kw. The connection fee was 82.89 c/day for the power and an extra 6.23 c/day for the privilege of having hot water.

The problem with the connection fee is even if you use no power at all, you still pay it + tax. At current rates this comes to $325 (plus tax) per year, just to be on the grid.

It's a terrible ripoff. They say that prices will increase by 20% per year into the foreseeable future.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 14 · Written at 1:26:10 PM on 15 October 2017.
Ian Robertson's Gravatar
 Location: Belrose, NSW
 Member since 31 December 2015
 Member #: 1844
 Postcount: 1904

"Okay, figured Aussie electricians might be a bit curious about what American kilowatt meters look like."

Actually it looks very much like I remember as a kid in the 1950s. Our place had 3 phase power (415V) for the instantaneous electric hot water so the meter box had 3 of them. When someone was having a shower or running a bath all 3 would spin at a great rate! The water heater was rated at 415 volts, 3 phase, 18 amps per phase.

When we built in 1975 the one meter was similar but single phase, with a "Zellweger" ripple control relay for switching the storage off-peak hot water system. In those days, meters were still electro-mechanical.

In the area where I live now (built early 2000's) all power is underground and all the meters are electronic with some sort of short range radio link. The meter readers just drive slowly down the street and pick up all the readings on a laptop.

A company in western Sydney that used to do contract electronic assembly for us about 10 years back also used to make these meters in huge numbers. All robotic assembly.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 15 · Written at 2:51:49 PM on 15 October 2017.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6348

18 amps per phase was and still is the standard for those heaters. It most likely would have been a Simplex back then and like the one shown in the photos below [pending]. Whilst still chewing as much power these heaters are far smaller now, about half the size of a shoe box. Brands include Hocking and Stiebel Eltron.

Simplex Instantaneous Water Heater
Simplex Instantaneous Water Heater


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
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