Thanks to the selfless work of one residential solar PV net-metering customer in PECO territory, PECO must pay for PV energy delivered to the grid at a rate more closely tied to the rate it charged other customers at the time the PV energy was delivered.
It’s heartening news that a small customer without outside legal representation can win under the Public Utility Commission’s judicial process for formal complaints of violations of its regulations. Perhaps a customer considering PV will engage the process in order to eliminate PECO’s prohibitive and pointless requirement to use two meters in place of a single, bi-directional, smart meter to meter energy received from and delivered to the grid.
Electric vehicles (EV’s) — along with the subset of this class known as plug-in hybrids — are a fast-growing part of the automobile market for both personal and commercial and fleet vehicle applications. Robert Monk Electric is on the cutting edge for installers ready to provide the support equipment (Electric Vehicle Service Equipment, or EVSE) for these vehicles.
Whether you need a NEMA 14-50 dryer type receptacle for your portable or semi-permanently wall-hung EVSE device, or a hard-wired 9kW high-speed vehicle charger with grid-interactive network configuration, we can deliver your order. Robert Monk Electric is both an independent installer of EVSE setups, and a certified independent service contractor for Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, having received special training and extensive vetting for insurance and other qualifications by the Bosch EVSE services division.
And they have a slick video featuring inter-operating products as well as some innovative receptacles.
Check out their new promo.
Ah yes, the ole’ “we don’t play favorites” argument. That must explain why the Corbett administration offered Royal Dutch Shell $1.65 billion in tax breaks to locate an ethane cracker plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania. Does the word “hypocrisy” come to mind? Because, you know, we don’t play favorites.
The fact is that Corbett has gone “all in” with natural gas, betting that focusing every state policy on developing that single industry – from superseding traditional local control over planning to balancing the state’s budget on the back of childhood education instead of a reasonable shale gas tax - will raise the tide for all.
I had a mixed experience installing the new-ish Maestro occupancy sensor switch. It uses a ground connection — to equipment ground — to power low-power electronics in the sensor. This makes installations in old wiring applications straightforward, but complicates new work installations, since the most common areas for an occupancy sensor will be kitchenettes, bathrooms, laundry areas and utility rooms that all may have plumbing or other features requiring GFCI protection.
The use of equipment ground for a current path to power the sensor electronics means that the sensor may not be installed on GFCI circuits designed to prevent shock and electrocution hazard from precisely this type of current path. The GFCI sees the unbalanced current to ground via the equipment grounding path as a ground fault. I have not tested the sensor on AFCI circuits, which also include ground fault detection, albeit at a higher threshold (more current before trip).
Since 2008, Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Rebate Program has provided rebate money as a flat figure per unit of installed capacity, for residential and commercial solar photovoltaic (solar PV: at $0.75/Watt up to $7,500 for a 10kW system) and solar hot water (solar hydronic) systems.
Lamp replacement guide 2013
Way back in 2007, Congress enacted legislation called the EISA (Energy Independence Security Act), stating that “all light bulbs be 25 to 30 percent more efficient by 2012″. This is our lamp replacement guide to help you figure out how to make the change to more energy efficient light bulbs (and linear and circline fluorescent tubes).
As of 2012, all phased out light bulbs and other lamp types are required to be replaced by energy efficient light bulbs, at the U.S. manufacturing and distribution level. This doesn’t mean you necessarily need run out right now and buy new replacement bulbs, it just means that when an old bulb or fluorescent tube burns out, you might be hard-pressed to find an old incandescent type light bulb or older T12 type fluorescent tube.
Phillips Hue 600
Phillips Hue 600 sets of three edison base remote-controlled color-changing LED bulbs provide up to 600 lumens each at only 8.5W, and may be controlled from your iPhone. At 600 per 8.5 W, lumens per watt is competitive with comparable simple dimmable 3000K single-color temperature lamps, and each lamp can be separately controlled from iOS devices via a 3W command center module that lives anywhere in the home.
So instead of your old “Clap-on” system you can have a sleek and cool way of operating your lights. Isn’t the future great!
The PECO Wind program, which has allowed Philadelphia metropolitan area customers to select anywhere from 50% to 100% wind energy for their power source, will phase out January 2013.
On its website, PECO announces the termination of the program, and directs customers to the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) website listing alternative energy suppliers for PA customers.
Since 2010, deregulation of the power supplier markets for Pennsylvania electricity consumers has resulted in many new alternative and renewable-energy suppliers offering a wide range of energy supply portfolios at competitive rates. Still, energy consumers have been conservative when it comes to switching suppliers, even in the face of major public outreach by consumer advocacy and environmental groups, aggressive marketing by alternative providers, and decisively lower rates from some. If conservative consumer habits left many on relatively expensive PECO wind power, PECO’s termination of the program will move them either onto the PECO default rate, or toward the better choice of an alternative provider that provides greener energy at the same price, or 100% renewable sources for only slightly more than the default rate PECO offers.
Looking at a tangle of multi-outlet extenders and wall-wart chargers as holiday 2012 brings another wave of new gadgets? A new built-in USB wall outlet for standard power cords with integrated USB charger ports can help clean up the mess.
Versions can be had from several manufacturers, for under $25. Installation may run from $25 for replacement of an existing grounded receptacle, up to $400 for installation of a new location in a hard-to-wire middle floor of a home.
New locations for USB charging in living rooms and family rooms above unfinished basements where the breaker panel is located, may cost around $175 including the USB integrated receptacle.
New England energy innovator VCharge is taking the bite out of ETS heating cost in the face of PPL’s phase-out of the discounted RTS heating rate (tariff). VCharge’s SmartBricks(TM) product for Electric Thermal Storage (ETS) heating customers in PPL distribution territory is an integrated controls and electric generation supplier (EGS) system that yields lower heating costs for ETS customers while providing grid supply/demand balancing services that save all electric customers money, and could help drive new investments in wind power capacity. Read more about SmartBricks(TM)
At $36 from Home Depot, the new T91 LED recess trim retrofit / new construction surface mount meniscus fixture from Commercial Electric is a 750 lumen powerhouse with color temperature that actually looks good. And although 750 lumens will be too much in many applications, this unit is dimmable, making it a superior option to retrofitting PAR lamps in recess lights — or to recess lights at all!
The T91 is a multi-application new- and old-work installation fixture adaptable to standard new (or old work) 4″ plastic round boxes as well as 5″ or 6″ recess housings that use a standard Edison E61 base screw-in lamp.
New Work Installation in a 4 in. Plastic Box
Sized to install as a semi-recessed surface-mount fixture in new construction 4″ round wiring boxes, the T91′s low meniscus profile of under 1″ below finish ceiling will make it a game-changer for electricians wanting to provide modern lighting styles without compromising the weatherseal around conditioned space by use of a recess can. By coombining the T91 with the new gasketed 4″ round box from Arlington, this fixture is a labor-saving draft-killer promising simple installations and a clean minimalist styling.
Pennsylvania Electric Company (PECO) has finally begun its full scale roll-out of smarter meters. Its slowness to implement the recently-mandated 15-minute increment bi-directional reporting meters may have to do with the fact it invested millions of dollars of rate-payer funds in now-outmoded ‘smart’ remote-readable meters only a few years ago, in what was probably just a matter of unfortunate timing for the ratepayers.
The new meters will help PECO and its customers better understand their electrical use, and adapt behavior to the actual cost of generating electricity, as alternative generation providers offer time-of-use tariffs with different prices different times of day, or even spot-market tariffs that could change price every 15 minutes.
PECO’s new smart meters fail to achieve compliance with PA’s Act 129 for grid-tied solar PV
Central A/C cost just came down for Philadelphians
. . . and participants could help bring down costs for everybody
With its new Smart A/C Saver program, PECO offers residential and business electric customers in its territory a $30/month account credit (up to the total energy bill for that month, during cooling months June-September) for allowing them to remotely cycle central A/C off during high-demand ‘conservation events’ that otherwise cost PECO a ton of money. The program is available to anyone who receives a PECO bill — including smart folks who have already switched to cleaner and cheaper alternative energy generation/transmission providers for energy generation services.
However: at least one customer (see comments at the end of this Lunch Break Blog post) claims they experienced prolonged, contract-breaching turn-off by PECO’s switching unit (DCU). Since the site appears to be composed of extreme libertarian perspectives, these complaints may have as much to do with politics as true experience.
Respond Power offers PPL customers day-ahead time-of-use curtailment incentive
PennFuture reports on a new program from Respond Power, serving customers in PPL energy territory and allowing them ‘respond’ to day-ahead peak demand announcements with curtailed consumption. Successful conservators receive incentive payments at the end of the month if their ‘demand response’ profile for the entire month was good enough.
Currently, Respond Power is marketing the program to customers in the PPL service territory, where both residential and commercial consumers have smart meters. Smart meters allow Respond Power to track a customer’s electricity consumption on an hourly basis. The company alerts enrolled customers a day in advance as to when peak price spikes will occur the following day. The company then tracks the customer’s hourly usage during the targeted peak hours and, at the end of the month, a virtual Smart Bill is created. If the Smart Bill is lower than the regular bill, the customer receives a rebate for the difference.
If you are an electric customer in the PPL service territory and are interested in switching to Respond Power, visit https://www.respondpowerrewards.com/.
PECO will phase out its discounted PECO RH rate (heating) and PECO OP rate (water-heating) rates beginning in 2012, replacing these options shortly after with a new time-of-use tariff that would encourage consumers to shift consumption into cheaper, off-peak periods (between 8pm and 8am). Several months after PECO’s announcement, competitive supplier Energetix offers a ‘replacement rate’ for customers willing to switch and sign a 12-month, fixed-rate contract.
PECO’s RH rate has offered a discounted rate for electric heating — effectively subsidized by general rate-payers — for decades. The OP rate is an early and crude version of a time-of-use rate, providing a discount for a range of dedicated appliance circuits (electric water heaters, in practice) automatically shut down during peak hours (10am – 4pm). More on PECO RH and OP rate phase-out and smart grid alternatives on the horizon >>
Pay TV set-top boxes consume like a major appliance
EnergyStar, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) energy conservation clearing house and standards credentialing agency, has published a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report stating that “Pay TV set-top boxes consume like a major appliance” and critical of cable and satellite set-top boxes, especially HD / DVR types, for the high energy that they consume and lack of any kind of energy-saving sleep mode. A picture from the NRDC report, titled “NRDC Study of Set-top Box and Game Console Power Use,” says a lot:
Electric vehicles (EV’s) are coming to a neighborhood near you, and until they’re more widely adopted, yours could come with the perk of virtually reserved street parking. In 2007, City of Philadelphia enacted a policy providing reserved spaces for EV’s if the adjacent building owner provides a PV plugin resource.
Robert Monk Electric can provide your charging station and assist in arranging EV-reserved street parking from the Streets department. Until more neighbors are driving EV’s, the spot is pretty much your own.
Plug-in Vehicle Incentive (Bill 070788, Enacted 11/1/2007)
Councilman Kenney sponsored legislation to provide homeowners who own an electric vehicle the option to apply for a designated “electric vehicle parking” space along the curbside of their property. The owner is responsible for installing and maintaining the curbside outlet under guidelines established by the Streets Department.
Customer Resource Blog Categories
Off-site Links ->
- Annapolis Home Inspection, LLC Aluminum branch circuits, homes 1965-1972
- ComplianceAndSafety.com OSHA Electrical Safety Training
- Electric Monk TV (YouTube) Video channel for PhillyLicensedElectrician.com Robert Monk
- EnergyConservation HowTo A tinkerer genius discusses energy conservation and his ladder system for accessing the attic (where a lot of energy-saving work happens).
- PennFuture Energy Center Energy and energy efficiency news for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
- Phila area rife with building efficiency upgrade opportunities Philadelphia Inquirer article discusses recent study showing Philadelphia’s inner-ring suburbs stand to save from energy conservation retrofits.
- Philadelphia Row-house Manual A design, maintenance, and modifications manual for our most widely-used form of housing.
- Robert Monk Robert Monk’s personal blog
- SolarCities (DOE) Solar PV Levelized Cost Interactive Comparator Simple graph compares ‘levelized cost’ of energy from solar PV to conventional grid rates, with a time-slider interactive feature.
- The Circuit Detective – Solve Home Electrical Problems Yourself! Electrical troubleshooting procedures pitched to homeowners.
- The Energy Co-op Blog from a leading alternative energy provider in PECO territory, includes fun conservation tips.
- Weatherization: the anti-Solyndra Salon.com article praising the continued success of the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), low-income energy-savings and job-creation.
- West Philly Tool Library Official site of WPTL, Philly’s own community tool lending library: like a book library, but tools!
- WestPhillyLocal .com Site name say sit all.
- Bartram's Gardens Founded in Philadelphia’s colonial era, today the gardens continue pioneering in horticulture and agriculture with a variety of herbs, trees and other vegetation in an arboretum/gardens on the Schulkill River banks, and a new farm abutting sadly neglected
- HiddenCity Philadelphia Surprising places it takes an adventurer to discover; events, too.
- Philly Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Schedule City of Philadelphia dates and places for disposing of spent batteries, CFL lamps, unused paint and cleaning products, etc. LovePhilly: don’t pour these in the drain or send them out with the trash.
- Reading Terminal Market Purveyors of fine foods and foodie stuff, all under one roof downtown under the PA Convention Center
- Secret Garden on the Rails Jacques-Jean Tiziou shows some dramatic natural and urban and naturalized-urban scenes along abandoned rails of Philadelphia
- Sketch Burger, Fishtown A vegan-friendly burger joint with a #1 in Philly contender beef burger, best fries that somehow stay fresh for 1/2 hour while you tackle burger, and a vegan cafe vibe of friendly folks.
- WXPN: Philly sings in key of love Love songs by Philly artists