Who has a smart power meter on their home? Are you monitoring the data?

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DieselAddict

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A few months ago my power company installed a new power meter on my house. One of those "smart" meters. As far out in the woods as I am, I'm not far enough! They finally caught up to me. ;)

I already had a pretty good handle on my power usage using amp and power meters. I was curious to see how the smart meter compared to my own measurements. After downloading a months of data and putting it into a spreadsheet I can see that the data compares very well with my own measurements.

Downloading the data in its most granular form allows for an hourly view of the home's energy consumption. Overall I can see that the average is about 0.3kwh on the low side and between 1-2kwh when normal life is happening around the house. I can see higher usage that goes with running the dryer and the oven. .Since my water heater is on a timer to run twice a day I can see those bumps up in the morning and the evening when it kicks on (when the sun wasn't enough to heat the water).

My point is this - you may have a valuable tool to help you understand your energy usage. Its not going to tell you any instantaneous loads such as what happens when your AC unit starts or when your HP does a defrost and runs the heat strips. BUT it can help you understand your "area under the curve" usage which will give you valuable information in regards to the proper sizing of a generator. Using my data as an example when I chart the MAX hourly captured kwh it is rarely over 5kwh. Using this data and assuming that I don't have something with a huge short term load it looks like the best fit for my house is a MEP802. I can confirm this in practice since I've shown that a MEP802 will indeed run my house perfectly well and start the 3T HP without any issues. Some load management is necessary to not do things such as run the dryer at the same time you are expecting the AC/Heat to run. Also I've put the heat strips for my HP on its own breaker that stays off most of the time.

Sorry for all the rambling but I just wanted to point out that if you have a smart meter on your house you may have a good starting point for data to help you decide how much generator you need. You may even see some opportunities to cut back if you aren't careful.

I made a screen shot of the spreadsheet. Since the forum limits the size of the images its impossible to read it if I upload it here. I've shared it from google. You can check it out here if you are interested - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1KPeE1Y576WGmGlr7408CIjGXteOSOWLz
 

kavesman1

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My home has a smart meter on it. But my EMC i have doesn't have real time power monitoring set up.There's a 1 to 2 day lag before it posts to my account page on the power usage for that day. But i does give me what the average draw on the house is, and is useful on determining what kind of genset to pick.

In the last 6 months or so, the highest Kwh i had for a day was back in July. I hit 105 Kwh total in just 1 day back then...and that usually happens when i get in off the road and turn everything on. It usually averages about the high 70 to low 80 Kwh when i just do the normal runnig in and out of the house when I'm home. but when I'm out on the road, it will drop to 2-3 Kwh per day. :-D

Here's a pic of roughly the last 6 months of mine.
Power Use.jpg
 

CMPPhil

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Hi

Back in my consulting days I worked on a number of the early cogeneration systems for schools and hospitals. At that time I can tell you that the information provided by the utilities about usage was worse that worthless in terms of planning for generators systems. The utilities deal in big averages, while a generator system is dealing in instantanious loads. Load factors of 1/2 or 1/4 hour are fine for utilities. While generator power use planning is seconds.
The result of this was that several of the early large cogen plants were under capacity from day one and resulted in them having to run their backup/or second generators just to meet facility loads.

Cheers Phil
 

Kenny0

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Great idea. Don't forget to allow for power factor and starting loads. Like mentioned above, power management can help a lot.
 

NormB

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We got a smart meter - it was that or pay $15 a month NOT to, IIRC - and ever since we've gotten monthly nastygrams from the power co. about how much more energy we're using than any of our neighbors.

Sure.

I keep records.

Nearly 22 years of data. We're paying less now - using LESS energy monthly - than we were 22 years ago. We've had a new HVAC system installed, low-E double-paned windows, new siding with insulation underneath, and another 10 inches of stuff in the attic. Sealed doors, we use two cords of wood every winter and about 100 gals of oil to heat the house.

I've spoken with our neighbors. They're paying nearly TWICE what we are a month. Plus oil, PLUS firewood (neighbor runs nearly four cords through his fireplace insert).

It's a scam, meant to shame us into using less.

Look at what the UK gov't is doing now asking their subjects to eat 1,600 kCals a day and keep snacking down to 200 kCals.

Some places in the country it's illegal to even try and disconnect from the grid.

Oh, brave new world that has such progressives in it.

NB
 
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porkysplace

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Our utility came through in august 2016 and put new gas and electric meters in , then came back through in october 2016 and and replaced the 2 month old meters with smart meters.
 

Guyfang

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Here in Germany the meters are in many cases monitored through the Internet. And if you have photoelectric solar system over a certain size, the power company can reduce or shut it off, when they feel like they don't need your power added to the net.
 

DieselAddict

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For me, I prefer to not have a smart meter but its hard to avoid it without paying a large fee to skip the technology. Duke Energy charges a monthly fee of $45 to send someone out to read your meter. That said I figured since I have it I will attempt to make the most use of it I can.

I've also gotten those notes about energy consumption. I know what my neighbors pay for energy and I'm around half of what they pay. I had my house built to the highest energy efficiency standard the builder would do. I'm way below the average energy consumption in this area based on home size.

My endgame here is to do a hybrid solar setup with the goal of minimizing the power I import for basic loads. I have 4kw of solar panels and a Xantrex 6048 inverter already. I'm going to divide my power panel in two panels with the inverter loads on their own. This will include all the basic stuff - lights, kitchen, well pump, and entertainment on the inverter panel. The Heating system, water heater, dryer, oven (all high amp loads) will stay on the main panel. I'm not expecting nor is it realistic to power these high amp loads from the inverter. I'm going to install about 20kw/h (12kw/h daily usable) in lithium batteries.

Once its up and going if the grid goes out I'll be able to run off the solar alone during sunny weather and with a MEP831 (perm wired to the inverter and setup to autostart as needed by the inverter). When I need AC/Heat I can run a MEP802 manually via a service disconnect interlock. When the grid is on I'll minimize my energy import but I will not export any power. With luck the only energy I'll buy will be for running the dryer, oven, HP, and occasionally the water heater (when the solar collector for that can't keep up).

That was a lot to say this - I see value in using this tool the utility has provided to chart my energy usage. It saves me from taking covers off panels to put on monitoring equipment and now that I'm working in the office and not in the field so much I don't have casual access to the equipment to use. When I divide the panels I will likely install some permanent energy monitor setup that I control. Until then I'll use theirs.
 

fcbrants

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Peak kWh

You might do some checking on your smart meter to see what it will tell you. Mine has an alternating display with total kWh and Peak kW:

IMG_0129.jpgIMG_0130.jpg

So my house maxed out @ 18.44kW (Texas, 3 A/C systems + two in the RV = Oh Sh*t!!).

Franko


Hi

Back in my consulting days I worked on a number of the early cogeneration systems for schools and hospitals. At that time I can tell you that the information provided by the utilities about usage was worse that worthless in terms of planning for generators systems. The utilities deal in big averages, while a generator system is dealing in instantanious loads. Load factors of 1/2 or 1/4 hour are fine for utilities. While generator power use planning is seconds.
The result of this was that several of the early large cogen plants were under capacity from day one and resulted in them having to run their backup/or second generators just to meet facility loads.

Cheers Phil
 

csheath

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Never paid much attention to the display on mine. Had the "smart" meter for years. Logging into my account just provides a monthly graph. My usage on an all electric house is all over the place but naturally shifts up and down with the weather. I expect it to start the climb again.

electric-usage-graph.jpg
 

CMPPhil

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You might do some checking on your smart meter to see what it will tell you. Mine has an alternating display with total kWh and Peak kW:

View attachment 713700View attachment 713701

So my house maxed out @ 18.44kW (Texas, 3 A/C systems + two in the RV = Oh Sh*t!!).

Franko
Hi Frank

But what is the sampling period? That was the problem back in my day, is it truly instantanious or is a couple of seconds? Doesn't matter to the utility until you get into the longer times, but I've watch a 545 Catapliler have kittens when it got hit with spike loads. The second unit could not start quick enough. Then the auto controls dump the load with two big cats at full song with no load, **** of a sound.

My job was to take all the projections the engineers made and take them apart, if they could not explain it to me, general they did understand them. Some really stupid stuff came out, like thermo fuel savings based on total electrical energy produced for the year. Even when the facility only needed thermal energy 6 months out of the year. Then the big one, even with utility cooperation, they wanted to understand what was happening, they brought out all of their best recording equipment to measure the complex's load that was when we found ot their equipment didn't read instantanious but instead was 15 minute high average.

This an intersting thread as it is getting into what information is available to the consumer.

Look forward to more interesting reading.

Cheers Phil

PS- didn't realize the parental controls on the site would auto censor and insert **** or it might be at my end.
 
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fcbrants

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I'm just guessing here, but I would think that's an "instantaneous" reading. I may be wrong, but if they're only displaying two numbers on the meter, then the instantaneous reading (how much current has this branch Ever drawn) would be the most logical number to display.

Hi Frank

But what is the sampling period?

<Snip>
 

Wdr

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As far as the accuracy and sampling rate in my case I was amazed at the sensitivity. It will register a 2 watt difference when I plug in a USB phone charger and seems to have maybe 5 seconds lag. I can see every single spike of the fridge compressor starting, then running. I'm sure it depends on your power company, I have DTE and they had an option where they'd provide you a receiver to pick up the meters transmission in real time. I'm guessing most of the meters themselves are capable of a very fast sample rate and it's more a matter of how much data they choose to collect/offer.
 

CMPPhil

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As far as the accuracy and sampling rate in my case I was amazed at the sensitivity. It will register a 2 watt difference when I plug in a USB phone charger and seems to have maybe 5 seconds lag. I can see every single spike of the fridge compressor starting, then running...... .
Glad to hear that the information has changed that much over the years, if you can see small loads like that then that is giving you meaningful information for planning for generator setups. Now what happens when you turn everything on in the house then throw main breaker let everything sit for half hour, to simulate power outage, then throw the switch back on? In other words do the smart meters give you clear data of the worst start situation for a generator.

Interesting thread.

Cheers Phil
 

SCSG-G4

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Way back when I was involved with 'load survey' metering (when Cesar was a buck sergeant) it was all 15 minute readings cumulative KWH, not instant. Some of the early meters could change the time interval they measured, but they had a problem - when they went to record, they would stop measuring and thus the more intervals they recorded in a given day, the further they would fall behind the 'mechanical' meter. I've been retired seven years now, so I really don't know what is currently available.
 

simp5782

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When memphis did the smart meter swap, i submitted their refusal of it to them. I came home on the swap out day to no power in the house. They said it was a mistake on their part and came out and put a meter in. A smart meter and said they didn't install the old meter anymore per their policy. Pretty slick.

Almost like them installing new gas meters and charging people for gas every month thru the summer and early fall yet alot of the meters had locks on them for pilot light safety. So until you called them they wouldn't unlock it. Then they waited the pilot light service fee even if you didn't have a pilot to light.

Sent from my SM-G935P using Tapatalk
 
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