Customer's electric bill spiked from 500 to 1100 bucks. There not sure why.

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electricmanscott

Senior Member
Location
Boston, MA
Recently went on a call for a higher than normal bill. Found the pressure switch on the well tank was sticking closed. The well pump was running constantly.

I also had one a few years ago and I found nothing. The HO could not get the poco to replace the meter. Not sure if that would have made a difference. I doubt it. But I do know that when I was there the glass was somehow shattered on the meter. :confused: They got a new meter. Not sure if that made any difference in the long run.
 

ceb58

Senior Member
Location
Raeford, NC
Don't forget the water heater or a hot water leak.

Yes, check that out. A customer of mine that bought a house I wired told me they were having to replace the flooring in the living room due to water damage. The house has two 50gal water heaters. 1 feeds the 2 upstairs baths, the other feeds the kitchen, laundry room and master bath. She said that there elect. bill went up very high for two months. Then they noticed the hardwood flooring in the living room buckling. They called the flooring guy and as soon as he saw it he knew it was being caused by water. He went to the crawl space door and looked in. An elbow on the water heater that feeds the upstairs had cracked and had been spraying up onto the sub floor for two months. They have no kids so they never knew there was no or little hot water upstairs. $30,000.00 later the plumbers ins. co was not happy.
 

Dnkldorf

Senior Member
Look at usage as sugested in the above responses.

I think I read somewhere that 1000-1200KWH/month is about average, for the average sized home.
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Is this a residential or commercial customer ? If it's commercial they could be getting charged for peak demand. I'll let some of the POCO workers jump in here and explain how that rip-off works.:roll:
 

mivey

Senior Member
Is this a residential or commercial customer ? If it's commercial they could be getting charged for peak demand. I'll let some of the POCO workers jump in here and explain how that rip-off works.:roll:

It is only perceived as a rip-off by those who don't understand demands and/or have been exposed to a poor rate design.

The demand is a measure of how fast you take delivery of energy. For example, to take fast delivery of a product you would have to buy a bigger truck.

To later complain that it is unfair to pay the higher finance charge for the bigger truck that you don't use to its full potential all the time is unrealistic.

If you don't want to buy the big truck, then you will need a more efficient delivery schedule.
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
It is only perceived as a rip-off by those who don't understand demands and/or have been exposed to a poor rate design.

The demand is a measure of how fast you take delivery of energy. For example, to take fast delivery of a product you would have to buy a bigger truck.

To later complain that it is unfair to pay the higher finance charge for the bigger truck that you don't use to its full potential all the time is unrealistic.

If you don't want to buy the big truck, then you will need a more efficient delivery schedule.
Mivey, that's a great analogy, well stated and well thought out. Now, if we could stay with that analogy for a moment, if I needed a fast delivery why is my only choice to buy a big truck ? Why couldn't I rent a bigger truck for the short time that I needed it, pay a premium up front and not have to pay finance charges for a month, a year or forever ? I'm not opposed to POCO's making money for their services. I'm opposed to them bagging a customer forever just because they needed a few more KW's than usual one day last June. I'm also opposed to their not making a peak demand rate schedules public. If I charge a customer for work I've done I have to justify my charges.
 

readydave8

re member
Location
Clarkesville, Georgia
Occupation
electrician
I thought the reason for peak demand rates was because the poco has to have the capacity to meet that demand at any time for the next time the customer loads the supply? generators, transformers, wire sizes, etc.
 

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Wisconsin
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer - Power Systems
Why couldn't I rent a bigger truck for the short time that I needed it, pay a premium up front and not have to pay finance charges for a month, a year or forever ?
Sure you could, all that would be needed is for the POCO to come and take away the large service transformer and put in a smaller one each time your demand decreased. When your demand goes back up, they would have to bring back the bigger transformer, assuming someone else isn't using it at that time.
 

mivey

Senior Member
Mivey, that's a great analogy, well stated and well thought out. Now, if we could stay with that analogy for a moment, if I needed a fast delivery why is my only choice to buy a big truck ?
You can certainly rent a generator for the times you want to have a high demand. The POCO does not stop you from doing that but usually the economics will.
Why couldn't I rent a bigger truck for the short time that I needed it, pay a premium up front and not have to pay finance charges for a month, a year or forever ?
Almost all POCOs only charge the finance charges for a year as the demand charge is based on the most current 12 months (there are some who do more or less). It is a fact that one hour of demand can cost the POCO wholesale demand allocations for an entire year (or more).

Also, POCOs routinely put in temporary services for special needs and this would generate a temporary charge. But if you just hammer the system without some kind of pre-scheduling, you will be charged the rate as determined by a fully allocated cost of service study.

As for POCO resources, think of the time that the water breaches or almost breaches a levee. You would plan to be sure that the levee is built high enough to handle the water the next time even if all that extra dirt is not critical all of the time. You can also use flood gates at dams to control the water levels as well. POCOs do the same by having extra power and facility resources on hand as well as having load management procedures in place. The costs for these activities are mostly allocated on an excess demand basis.

The forever charges are usually a contract issue where the customer states "I'm going to be a big load so I need a big service and some big concessions". When all is said and done, sometimes they have over-stated their needs. In these cases, the demand can be based on the contractual agreement or the large service that was needlessly installed. That would be a forever charge.

Sometimes the customer wants extra-special care because they need it. Extra service is provided (spare transformers, dual-feed, var compensation, etc) and would generate a forever charge.

It is not cost effective to build a custom truck for every customer on the system so they can get something that matches their needs perfectly. The massive overhead would cause huge rate increases. It is up to the customer to see what rate schedules are available and make the best use of them. The POCO simply can not "micro-manage" every customer and it is the customer's responsibility to manage their load.

I'm not opposed to POCO's making money for their services. I'm opposed to them bagging a customer forever just because they needed a few more KW's than usual one day last June. I'm also opposed to their not making a peak demand rate schedules public. If I charge a customer for work I've done I have to justify my charges.
You have a right to see the rate that you are being charged. You may not have a right to see every rate the POCO is using. They will usually provide you with any rate schedule that would apply to you. You only have to ask. A lot of times they are published online or available at the office of the regulating entity.

Whether or not the POCO can explain the rate methodology to your level of comprehension is another matter. If your customer does not understand your bill and accuses you of unfair over-billing, are you going to lower your bill?
 

mivey

Senior Member
I thought the reason for peak demand rates was because the poco has to have the capacity to meet that demand at any time for the next time the customer loads the supply? generators, transformers, wire sizes, etc.
You think correctly.
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Mivey,

I see your point and you are obviously educated on this topic and a well spoken individual. I believe that larger commercial customers should rightfully be charged for peak demand seeing as how they may or may not require a larger load continuously or at random times. I just think the POCO should bill for that service on a monthly basis and not whack you for a year at peak rates whether you use that amount ao electricity or not.
 

mivey

Senior Member
Mivey,

I see your point and you are obviously educated on this topic and a well spoken individual. I believe that larger commercial customers should rightfully be charged for peak demand seeing as how they may or may not require a larger load continuously or at random times. I just think the POCO should bill for that service on a monthly basis and not whack you for a year at peak rates whether you use that amount ao electricity or not.
Thanks for the compliments.

One problem with monthly charges are that you can have huge bill swings. It is usually easier to allocate those demand costs across a twelve month period rather than in a few months. In this case the demand is based on a twelve month period. It helps to levelize the charges.

There are some time-of-use, hourly, and seasonal rates that do exactly what you are talking about for a lot of the costs. Your POCO may or may not have these available. That is why it is best to see what rates are available to see if there is one that is more economical.

Power costs are usually the most expensive during non-holiday summer weekdays from Noon till 5 PM (business hours and A/C). Another time is winter mornings and evenings (getting ready for work & coming home from work). This depends on how much residential and commercial load is on the system plus the climate area.

Consider a business that operates at night. On the regular rate, they would be paying for an allocation of the peak daytime costs. They could avoid this allocation by making use of a time-of-use rate. A regular customer could avoid some of these cost allocations by reducing their load during the peaks times.
 

mtfallsmikey

Senior Member
Is is colder than normal where you are at in Collyfornia?....a heat pump with 20-30KW of toaster heat backing it up can make a meter spin real fast...
 

zappy

Senior Member
Location
CA.
Update

Update

So I show up. It's a 1880-1890 victorian home. He's got two more building in the back he's renting. So all together there's three different tenants living on the property. One meter. So we go in each tenant place. Pull out my amprobe. Nothing big pulling. I find out after they complained to POCO, they came out that same day and put a smart meter. Kinda supisious. So the meter was reading 1.8-1.9 kw. And that's what I came up with with my amprobe. He's going to find out why POCO is giving him 5-6 kwh a month before the bill starts charging to the next tier. He said most of the bill was in the forth tier which is .45 cents a kwh not sure. He's going to wait for the next bill, since they put that smart meter in. And see what the bills going to be.
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Well, at least now we know the OP's customer was not on a demand rate meter. But it was a good side bar anyway and a "teaching moment" as our illustrious Commander-in-Chief would say. I learned a great deal and I can now see things from a different prospective.
 

WirenutNH

Member
Location
NH
I recived a call from a customer that said the cable tv company just left there house and would not replace the coax feeder cable ( after replacing it twice before) due to voltage being detected on it and the jacket on the coax cable had melted off and dripped down the siding of the house. I puller the meter socket and found the line side N terminal burnt up. I replaced socket and customer said electric bill dropped from over $200 a month to under $100.
 
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