Mains power things to come.


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Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 519
Posted: 06:59am 23 May 2020      

Essential energy came to my Dads place yesterday to see about cutting down a tree they consider a danger to the power lines.

never met such a " Company" man before. This guy had been working for them 30 years and it showed. Complained several times about the cost of taking the tree down as if it were coming out of his own pocket.

As my father said, thing didn't grow that big over night and you could have cut it down 20 years ago before it got so big....

The interesting thing he said refered to rural properties.
He said rather than run poles ( his number was 181 Million power poles in NSW!!) They are now going to set customers up with a solar System and battery and charge a monthly fee on that rather than spend the money on running poles and wires.

I forgot to ask if the setup included a generator for bad weather but i'd gess probably not.

He said anything over 6 pole spans was cheaper to do the solar setup. Don't know what size battery but I would guess not too big.
He also said they had been spending many Millions on replacing underground cables from the bushfires. The roots of the trees burn under the ground and are often close enough to the cables to melt the insulation and cause problems.
Not something I would have thought of.

Thought the bit about setting people up with batteries was interesting.
Also in company man mode he was pretty open about his/ power co's dislike for solar and how it is " wrecking the grid with too much power going back into it.

I thought this guy is really a yes man and believes whatever they tell him.
They way he went on about the Tree you would have thought it was a 400 footer not 100Ft.  I got him to make a note on the job card not to chip anything over 4" and if they cut they cut the main parts up to 8 ft long we'll do the rest and they can leave it there for fire wood.

More work for me cutting and splitting and stacking.  :0(

CaptainBoing

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Joined: 07/09/2016
Location: United Kingdom
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Posted: 08:48am 23 May 2020      

blimey! some interesting points there (I like you Dad's reply).

Did the powerman discuss the replacement of panels (not much good after 20 years) and the battery (probably less)?

I was surprised at the six span thing too. The initial cost might be high but once up and fire-free it must e virtually free.

Here in UK, we have a lot of overhead outside the big cities.

h

Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 519
Posted: 11:44am 23 May 2020      

He did mention some over the top amount to put in each pole. When my father questioned it he mention a load of things like $5000 to shut off the power.... which was weird seeing they ARE the power co so how that's calculated I don't know. He then went on about all the OH&S they have to go through as well as their own procedures and ( BS, not that he thought so) procedures which he said is the real cost.

Dad said asked why he drove his truck across the front lawn instead of parking on the more than adequate space on the driveway and who did he think was going to run into him unless he had his flashing light going? Said that was OH&S and he was required to drive within a certain distance of the tree he was looking at if possible and the light must be on when " On site".

Yeah, cause traffic driving across peoples front lawns 100M from the road and colliding with utility worker Vehicles is a big problem here, you read about it in the papers all the time. " Semi trailer takes shortcut 100M across rural property front yard and collides with stationary Vehicle they didn't see in broad daylight".

Dad said well it's been raining so I don't want 10 Utes driving and parking on the lawn  churning it up when they can park over there or you can leave the tree alone.
Guy said they would have a crane on the driveway because it was a hard surface and it would come over to the tree. Dad said will if there are a bunch of vehicles here because they are too lazy to carry a chainsaw over you can forget it now.

I wondered about the power availability.  Just bought Dad a new welder for some jobs he wants to do and I wondered how a battery would handle that and the pumps so many properties around the area run. Pretty sure it would be a case of that's what you get and stiff sh*t if you aren't happy or it does not meet your needs.

I also wondered how much they would sting someone for per month once the system was in.  My father commented that they would be clearing a LOT of trees to make solar Viable for him which was a fair point. I have 4KW of solar on his shed and it's almost useless in winter due to the shading from the trees which is all day.
No way in hell solar would be viable where he is in winter nor would it do anyone else along his 3 KM road.

CaptainBoing

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Joined: 07/09/2016
Location: United Kingdom
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Posted: 10:13pm 23 May 2020      

Don't let your dad be coerced into something that won't do the job (doesn't sound like either he nor you would be) just to help the electric company out - I doubt it would happen with the boot on the other foot.

Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 519
Posted: 09:02am 24 May 2020      

No, Dad has mains power as he's only 200M from the road and has his own pole.
I have put in a solar set up for him and am about to upgrade that. He's using less than $150 worth of power in summer and not a lot more in winter over the " Supply" charges.
Come summer he'll be able to run all his AC units and pay even less.  I'll have to teach him how to read the meters so he doesen't go backwards.

What the guy was describing was their new strategy to save the power co money of putting in the poles and wires on new remote connections.

Not even that remote really. I have read of lots of people that have had land for years and they want to build on it for retirement and getting the power connected is a real nightmare. There can be power in the street but if they have to extend it all the way down a road for one new house, they try everything to get out of it.  Same as if your house is set back. Some places it's the power co whom are responsible to the building and some they are only responsible so far from the street.

One of my mates was asked to pay $40K to upgrade his connection to 3 phase because the existing transformer that serviced the road wasn't up to any more load. Turned out others in the street also wanted more power than the 50 yo transformer allocation and had also been told they would have to foot the bill even though once done everyone else could then benefit.

Mate Put in massive cables during his major Renos the 150m back to the road and a big Board in the shed with sub boards for the house, Garage, stables and the plant room.
He argued that he shouldn't have to pay for their equipment and equipment that everyone else used.

He conspired with a bunch of the other neighbours at his far end of the road to Turn on all the loads they could at a set time to purposefully take out the Transformer. Mate even set up large motors and heaters for the adjoining neighbours from his work to suck all the power they could. They left off water heaters day before and other things then manually kicked them in and everything they had and promptly blew the snot out the 50 Yo transformer. Mate was surprised. He said in less than 10 Min everything was over. I was surprised it just didn't take the fuse out, maybe there wasn't one?

Power co had to come along and replace the tranny with a new unit at their cost that day. Mate and other neighbours were then able to get the power supply they wanted.  :0)

No way in hell my mate would get buy on a battery unless they wanted to replicate the one is South Oz. He has so much on his property between machinery, multiple residences, pools and spa's and every other mod con he likes to use and then there would be the problem of an array big enough to keep up.  He won't have panels on the ( shaded) Shed roof never mind anywhere they could be seen on the ground.
Then of course there is the winter weather problem that would be impractical to overcome with panels and even if they did supply a genny, who is going to pay for the fuel?

Lots of people ( like my Dads Neighbour I am helping) want to go off grid but i'm more than happy to stay on it while I can keep the cost down with solar and reap the benefits.  Wouldn't be easy to run my big AC for heating in winter off panels and battery's that's for sure and I wouldn't want to be watching the loads I was running either.

CaptainBoing

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Joined: 07/09/2016
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1263
Posted: 12:13pm 24 May 2020      

LOL! 10 minutes.. people power. great story.

We have been paying a heap-load for fuel here in UK for decades (up in the road in Stockport yesterday and saw it at 122/l!!!). There was a move a few years back to force a price war by everyone boycotting, say, shell... who would promptly drop the price to bring in custom. Then everyone would switch to Shell and all the others would crap themselves... and so on. Foundered because the lackadaisical UK public has no backbone anymore. Shame. It would have worked and everyone (with a vehicle) would have benefited.

I would love to go off-grid, it is a dream I have had for ages to build my own place with smart wiring etc, but the opportunities in UK are limited (like it is grey and sh*tty most of the time).

Warpspeed
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Joined: 09/08/2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 3332
Posted: 09:51pm 24 May 2020      

You could always move here to oZ.

No more freezing snow or fog, and the beer is better.

Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 519
Posted: 11:06am 25 May 2020      

  CaptainBoing said  

I would love to go off-grid, it is a dream I have had for ages to build my own place with smart wiring etc, but the opportunities in UK are limited


I would like to do the same. Somewhere I could put all my ideas and creations to the test and not have to worry about what it looked like or Devaluing my home etc.

I'd do a container house and what I would really want is somewhere I could do a micro Hydro setup. I have a fascination with that maybe because I haven't been able to do it.
I could also have the solar and use the Veg oil powered generators I have. I'd put in a  Veg powered heating system and an idea for a thermal hot and cold setup I have had in my head for some time.

I go through the real estate sites now looking for land but where water is they are far and few between. I'd want it as a playground, not a permanent residence so I don't want anything too far away especially as I'd have so much to take there all the time.

I'd also need a small excavator as well as other machinery and even basic setups from scratch require decent money ploughed into them.
I was looking at some places for sale last night. Some of these humpys people live in I'd burn to the ground and not even try to fix them up.  There is basic and then there is dirty. Be better off in a tent than some of these constructions.

Only way I can see this dream happening is if I win Lotto.

CaptainBoing

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Joined: 07/09/2016
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1263
Posted: 11:56am 25 May 2020      

@WarpSpeed too old now. With retirement in 8 years - I have nothing the Oz government wants - except my pension and now that isn't worth a squirt of pi...
Edited 2020-05-25 21:57 by CaptainBoing

Bryan1

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Joined: 22/02/2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 891
Posted: 07:31am 26 May 2020      

Back in '03 when we bought the farm I inquired about getting a 3 phase connection only to be told the best I could get was a 240 volt 10 amp service at a cost of 80K to my boundary then was told from there I MUST go underground as power poles on private property are a thing of the past.

So been off grid ever since and for my shed I have Kipoint 3Kw sinewave inverter that I got custom made back in '05. When I imported the inverter got a call from customs asking what it was and after explaining 5 times I told them to make a new listing as in a short time the solar boom will be taking off. Got charged $500 import duty and that inverter is still going today. With my second caddy welder as the first one went out in great style taking out a 5Kva genset and throwing blue arc's out which melted the top of the welder. On inspection the top two input cap's blew their stack. Now with this new welder I can arc weld 2.5mm rods until the forklift battery goes dead flat.

Forklift batteries in my opinion are the best for off grid situations as with off grid power from solar and a wind gennie keeps the battery charged and the excess power goes into heating water to warm the shed floor.

For the house we bought a 25K setup and the batteries only lasted 10 years before one went reverse voltage. The inverter a Selectronic SA32 is still going today aswell as the Staff & Stanbury 80 amp battery charger. I put a forklift battery in place of the old batteries and for 9 years it is still going strong. The thing with these batteries is keeping the water up in the cells and once a month use the charger until less than 10 amps is going in.

Power bills forgot what they even look like.....

Cheers Bryan

Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 519
Posted: 09:48am 27 May 2020      

I have looked at batteries and IMHO forklift packs are far and away best bang for the buck. I think it was here we were discussing them some months back. I posed the idea of their value as scrap and found the weight of some and rang a couple of scrap merchants. From memory the scrap value now was about 1/3rd the cost of the pack.  
In 10 years the price would be more so would offset the cost of the new pack when replacement came.

There are a lot of upsides to Lithium but for stationary use, I'd still favour LA myself.  I also wonder if in the future lithium batteries will incur significan't cost to recycle. From what I understand, No one in oz doing them yet.

I prefer to stay on grid but am also looking to the future with the possibility of going off grid. I have a load of panels that could be put to charging, I have a couple of Diesel generators So all I would need would be the batt pack and some better inverter chargers than what I have. I do like the lazy Convenience of grid power even though I love playing with this sort of thing.  Would probably be work not enjoyment when I HAD to do it though.

While one does not get power bills being off grid, I still think the amortised cost of batteries and equipment works out more expensive per KWH used than grid power over it's lifetime. That may be variable depending on the cost of power where one is and if it is going to cost thousands to get mains power connected in the first place.

That could buy a lot of equipment and batteries in itself to provide power for a long time.