Thread Number: 75177  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Flat Rate Electric Water Heating
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Post# 989925   4/8/2018 at 14:45 by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

Was wandering through an open house in the neighborhood and saw an interesting period piece in the basement. It was a Square D junction box with some interesting labeling (I didn't have my phone otherwise I would have snapped it) with four circuit-breaker like switches. It was labeled FOR WATER HEATING and had wording indicating that there were two circuits: one FLAT RATE for the lower element and the other METERED for the top element. It was noted as "PROPERTY DETROIT EDISON COMPANY". The Flat Rate/Metered were pretty well obliterated with a grease pencil (the house had a gas furnace/water heater). House appeared to have been built (in roughly the 20s) with coal gravity furnace (octopus type) and, I guess, an electric water heater. Has anyone ever seen anything like this?

Detroit Edison likes their separately metered services (interruptible air conditioning, for instance) and this might have been the forerunner of separately metered water heating (which they do continue to offer now).

Post# 989926 , Reply# 1   4/8/2018 at 15:07 by Eronie (Flushing Michigan)        

The top element was switched by a timer located outside next to the regular meter. Very popular in the genesse county area.

Post# 989972 , Reply# 2   4/8/2018 at 21:07 by brisnat81 (Brisbane Australia)        

In Australia for years Hot water had to be night rate only as a way of using the off peak base load.

As families grew, you quite often moved into a situation of having the top element connected to Day rate and the Bottom element connected to off peak.

These days Super Economy rate is a maximum of 8 hours per day, Economy is a minimum of 18 hours per day and both are significantly cheaper than Day rate.

The night rate is triggered by a high frequency pulse that is sent during the night, once to turn the night rate relay on and once to turn it off

Post# 989989 , Reply# 3   4/8/2018 at 22:41 by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

Call me stupid, but I didn't even know we had peak/off peak rates until a couple weeks ago. We have day/night in the winter, and day/peak/night in the summer. Winter hours are 7am-11pm and 11pm to 7am (night/off peak), summer hours are the same except for peak rates 2-6pm which is considerably higher. Weekends and holidays are billed at the night/off peak rate. I'm making a point now to start the dishwasher at or after 11pm, since it's very quiet and takes 2.5+ hours, dishes are done by morning. Once summer gets here I will try to cool the house down at night and try to keep the A/C use at a minimum between 2 and 6. Of course the utility company didn't tell us about the rates, I had to look it up. They want as much $$$ as possible!

Post# 989994 , Reply# 4   4/9/2018 at 00:01 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Dustin, I have Consumers energy and I got plenty info sent to me on the various rate plans.  I had to agree to the plan I opted for.  I talked to them a while ago and they said I made the right choice and that I saved a decent amount of $$.  I do most stuff at night, and have smart outlets control  lights and my dehumidifier, and shut most stuff off during the summer 2-6 peak time.  You can opt out of the plan, and pay a higher KWH rate.  Personally I like the .07 rate at night...

Post# 990012 , Reply# 5   4/9/2018 at 05:34 by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

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Post# 990014 , Reply# 6   4/9/2018 at 05:46 by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

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Our electric provider (WI Public Service) used to offer three rate savings plans.  However, this program is no longer accepting new enrollees, and once you leave the program you're screwed.  We've been enrolled in Option 1 since we bought our home in 1998.


Time-of-Use savings rates$0.06070 per kWh Rate during Time-of-Use off-peak (electric savings) hours. $0.18470 per kWh Rate during Time-of-Use on-peak hours.



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This post was last edited 04/09/2018 at 07:20
Post# 990032 , Reply# 7   4/9/2018 at 10:04 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Do people on these plans stay up at night to do laundry or set the delay start timers on their washers? PEPCO has no program to encourage off-peak usage, but they will give you rebates for having an interrupter switch on your central air compressor. They can cycle it off during peak demand periods on really hot days. They waste money mailing usage profiles which show that I use most electricity between 4 and 8 PM and I think, "Yes, that is the time between when I get home and go to bed." Sheesh.

Post# 990088 , Reply# 8   4/9/2018 at 19:21 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

While this type service was never offered in my immediate area (municipal system), it was popular at one time in neighboring areas. The set up required three meter sockets - one for regular power, one for the HW heater, and the third was a time switch. I only saw this used on smaller houses that would have had lower amperage services - probably 100 A. Most have been replaced with one meter in recent years, so the utility must have discontinued offering an off-peak rate for heating water.

Post# 990151 , Reply# 9   4/10/2018 at 05:38 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I remember seeing older houses on my first paper route with the second meter for water heating. Originally, they had no gas service so they had oil heat and electric hot water; oil water heaters, while very powerful are also very expensive so I guess the builders went with electric. The meters were square with a square window, but I don't know if they were still in use in the early 60s.

Post# 990157 , Reply# 10   4/10/2018 at 05:56 by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

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My wife is retired so quite often she'll do laundry and other things that use a bit of electricity in the afternoons between noon-4pm.  In the summer we most often do laundry on the weekend, and line dry it.

Post# 990161 , Reply# 11   4/10/2018 at 06:30 by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

We commonly have two meters in metro Detroit; one for standard usage, the other for air-conditioning...actually our next door neighbors have that setup. I think they also offer the alternate rate/second meter if you have electric heat (a lower rate for wintertime heating a.k.a. improving the electric company's base load), or if you have an electric car charging station. This seemed, though, to pre-date that. Detroit Edison advertised a lot in the 50s to sell appliances (as many utilities did) and they would offer you a price (payable in small installments on your electric bill) which included the appliance (dryer/stove) and the connection necessary to take advantage. This seemed a little more like a security light--billed at a flat rate. (We had a similar situation in Atlanta, where there were gas lamps at our subdivision entrances which were flat rated/unmetered by the gas company)

Post# 990173 , Reply# 12   4/10/2018 at 08:26 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        

correct, and the second meter for A/C is interruptable by Edison at their discretion during peak draw in hot weather. The furnace blower will still run, just not your outside unit. Of course now with smart meters, all are interruptable.
With today's higher efficiency units, I think they don't often cut them off.

Post# 990175 , Reply# 13   4/10/2018 at 08:43 by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

I have a time of use plan with a "smart meter" installed. My Elux FL has a delay wash setting and I use it to start loads at 4 a.m., which are then completed by the time I"m up at 6 pm and ready for the dryer. That's the weekday plan. Economy rates generally apply all weekend, so on weekends I'll run a load during the day.

DW are a different matter. My Bosch, along with other makes, does not activate the on-board heater during the first rinse. Accordingly, this cycle occurs at whatever the ambient temperature of your hot water line happens to be, and I don't have a hot water recirculator. So I always prime the hot water line at the sink before starting the DW. While the results are great, this method precludes use of any delay timer (my Bosch 300 is from 2001 and lacks delay wash).

@Tim: we are allowed to switch plans once a year, including opting out and using the standard plan with no time of use restrictions. The consumer is to some extent in the driver's seat here, because 30+% of electricity used here is solar.

Post# 990198 , Reply# 14   4/10/2018 at 12:39 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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We are all electric and for the first 22 years we lived here we had TOU service, Mon thru Fri. the peak rate,or highest rate was in effect from 12pm thru 7pm, Mon. thru Fri., all other times, including weekends were off peak, or the lowest rate.

Then about 2 years ago they installed a SMART meter and the new TOU plans were crazy. Different time frames and rates through out the day. Not compatible with our usage patterns, or convienent in any way. At least with the old TOU plan we only had to be careful from 12pm to 7pm, Mon-Fri. So we went on the standard rate plan, with the same rate 24/7. Surprisingly, the bill only increased about $10, or less per mo., something we are perfectly OK with.

We are just careful with our use. And we now use the hydronic electric baseboard heaters, instead of the pellet insert. And factoring in the cost of pellets and fire starters, we only spend about $10 to $20 more per mo.during the cold months, and we’ve never been more comfortable and warm during the winter months in the past 24 yrs. we’ve live here.

We have No Burn Days here courtesy of the Bay Area Air Quality Control district on days when the air pollution is bad. During those days we froze our asses off from 12pm-7pm, because I refused to use the electric heat at the peak rate when we unable to use the pellet insert. Now, No Burn or not we are comfortable and warm. We will stay with the standard rate plan service.

And I really like the SMART meter, because I can go online 24/7 and monitor our usage, so there are no surprises when the bill is due.


Post# 990228 , Reply# 15   4/10/2018 at 16:34 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

My municipal utility doesn't offer smart meters, but Duke Energy serves the surrounding area, and they've had them for a few years. One of my friends lives in a house that has the meter in the basement, and the reader always had to go down there until the smart meter was installed.

One of my cousins in Mississippi has some kind of set up that will disconnect the heat pump (and air handler) from the utility power when they send a signal, and automatically start the diesel genset, and transfer that load to the backup power after a few minutes. When the utility sends another signal, it transfers back to normal power, and the generator shuts down in a few minutes. There are several boxes associated with this, including two transfer switches for the genset.

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