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Lower Your Electric Bill Scam

Old 07-13-2012, 02:09 PM
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Default Lower Your Electric Bill Scam

To anyone like myself who signed up for the lower your electric bill.com offer three to four years ago please read on. I filled out the online form for both my home and business. There was a savings for the 1st couple of months and we were glad to have it and forgot about it. Fast forward to today I find out that the multiplier for the total KWH is a variable rate and this month they charged us $22. for our home and $37. for my business above and beyond what the utility would charge. They said you need to call every 2 months or the rate goes up?????? After an hour of my wife prodding they agreed to do a full accounting for a 3-4 year period and send a check for any charges over what the utility charged. With a little rough math this is about $1,200.! Not a bad find!
Check you utility bill and look for any multiplier for total KWH, ours was .0999 vs the new multiplier which was .079. I used 1750 KWH at my shop so you can see where they are scamming the public.
Check your bill, call, complain and demand a full accounting and reimbursement for any charges over what the utility charges.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:31 PM
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This is the trick of choice for monthly billers. Sign up for a year for x rate. After a year, they don't bother telling you the contract expired just start billing you at a higher rate.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:09 PM
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If you have some electrical background the best thing you can do is get 2 Amprobes and attach them to the 2 lines feeding your panel (not the neutral). Then balance out the average consumption so the draw is equal on both legs.

Additionally, I had both washing machine and dryer plugged into the same receptacle. I ran another line to separate them. Because they are for the most part running at the same time (dryer is gas). So it's best that both motors are running on both sides of the panel to balance out the load.

Also if you can, always purchase 240V appliances if practical. For instance, I recently had to swap out my Nutone central vac 120V and went with a Drainvac 240V unit. The basement A/c hit the crapper so I went for a Friedrich 15K BTU 240V. Had to run new lines for each and breakers in the Square D QO panel. Fortunately I have a background that allows me to work comfortably with electricity so it was no big deal. I would not suggest the average person attempt this but rather hire a professional licensed electrician.

I've lowered my electrical consumption and bill considerably.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:30 PM
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How does it lower your bill by using 240 versus 120?

I get charged by kilowatt hours used not by amps.

You may be able to run more on 240 versus 120, but your bill will be the same as the appliance still uses the same amount of watts in order to work.
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:26 PM
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I get charged by KWH too probably like everyone else. KWH breaks down to amperage per hour mathematically (ohm's law). A 240V device draws across both 120V feeds lowering the load as opposed to a similar device drawing more current across just one 120V line. You are better to have a balanced draw off both 120V lines coming into your home. Some appliances are strictly 120V (i.e.; refrigerators, televisions, lighting, etc.). If you can balance the average daily use of those appliances across both 120V feeds coming into your electrical panel you will lower your electric bill. Hence, a 240V appliance is preferable to a 120V, IMO.

Balancing the load through your panel requires a basic knowledge of electricity and current draw. Not something I recommend to the average homeowner to start playing with.

Then there is also the topic of 3 phase 440V but that's not homeowner stuff.
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Old 07-13-2012, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghetto Lobster View Post
I get charged by KWH too probably like everyone else. KWH breaks down to amperage per hour mathematically (ohm's law). A 240V device draws across both 120V feeds lowering the load as opposed to a similar device drawing more current across just one 120V line. You are better to have a balanced draw off both 120V lines coming into your home. Some appliances are strictly 120V (i.e.; refrigerators, televisions, lighting, etc.). If you can balance the average daily use of those appliances across both 120V feeds coming into your electrical panel you will lower your electric bill. Hence, a 240V appliance is preferable to a 120V, IMO.

Balancing the load through your panel requires a basic knowledge of electricity and current draw. Not something I recommend to the average homeowner to start playing with.

Then there is also the topic of 3 phase 440V but that's not homeowner stuff.
Myth, in single phase applications.
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Old 07-13-2012, 06:48 PM
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Running an appliance on 240v vs 120v will have an insignificant effect on your "POWER" bill. This is because the power company is not stupid and charges everyone for power not current.

P = I x E

If you operate the same appliance on 240 vs 120 the current draw will go down but the power draw will be the same.

Your power meter measures power used on both legs coming in to your house. It doesn't matter if 1 leg has 1000 watts going thru it and the other side has 2000 watts, you will be billed for total consumption just as if 1500 watts went thru each side.

Certain appliances run on 240v to cut down on conductor size needed
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by baypro21 View Post
Running an appliance on 240v vs 120v will have an insignificant effect on your "POWER" bill. This is because the power company is not stupid and charges everyone for power not current.

P = I x E

If you operate the same appliance on 240 vs 120 the current draw will go down but the power draw will be the same.

Your power meter measures power used on both legs coming in to your house. It doesn't matter if 1 leg has 1000 watts going thru it and the other side has 2000 watts, you will be billed for total consumption just as if 1500 watts went thru each side.

Certain appliances run on 240v to cut down on conductor size needed
I'm an EE and understand both sides of what folks are saying. What I don't know is how they measure the power (ie. the little wheel spins based on something). If it spun based on the higher current leg of the 240v inputs, then I could see it saving money if a user balanced the load. If the wheel spins based on true power used, then I'd say it wouldn't matter. So, how does the meter read the power/energy used!
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:12 AM
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Perhaps this will explain my point somewhat better............

Balancing Electrical Loads
Why one leg of an electrical panel should match another for a balanced load.

There are many benefits to balancing the loads of the two legs of power in your electrical panel and here's why. A balanced load in an electrical panel means that the current flowing through one leg is equal to the amount of current flowing through the other "hot" leg. The closer these numbers are, the more balanced the load. When the amperage is split up equally, the neutral current is canceled out. But when the current is placed all on one leg, the neutral must carry the entire load.

Your utility company meter measures power demand in peaks. That way, the utility company knows just how much power you may use on a high demand day, say when it's really hot and you have many air conditioners and fans running. They are responsible for supplying you your peak demand of power. As your power demand increases, so does your electrical rate. So if you are running two 120-volt window air conditioners that draw 10 amps each and they are on the same leg of power, your demand is 20 amps on a leg. But if you place them on separate legs of power, now your demand is only 1 amps, get it?

This balancing of loads can be achieved by removing the electrical panel cover, carefully placing an amp probe over each of the "hot" legs, and recording the amperage draw while the panel is loaded heavily. This means turn on air conditioners, heaters, freezers, refrigerators, TV's, etc... that are normally running throughout the day and night. See if the loads on the legs are close to the same amount, or if they are completely different. If they are very different values, we call this unbalanced loads. This condition will cost you more on your utility bill.

Unbalanced loads can heat up one of the legs due to overloading while leaving the other just fine. This occurs when using single-pole breakers that load only one or the other of the two legs of power. The two phases each supply 120 volts of power, but in the case of 240-volt, double-pole breakers, both legs of power are used, which automatically split the demand current and balance the load required. That's why it is more efficient to install a 240-volt air conditioners that draws 14 amps (7 amps per leg) versus a 120-volt air conditioner that draws 14 amps on just one leg.

The key to balancing loads is to find two appliances or devices that normally run at the same time often in the home. This may be a refrigerator and freezer. Maybe a coffee pot and toaster will be used in the mornings for making breakfast? How about a microwave and a dishwasher? Then you may be drying your hair and someone else curling theirs. The combination are endless I suppose. I think you see the connections, right? Utilize common sense and learn your user habits to balance the loads in your home, save money, and this in turn will lower your demand factor, lessening your carbon footprint. Remember, opposite phases, equal current draw, big savings!

One more thing about balancing electrical loads, you may not always be able to more electrical wires from one phase to the other to accomplish this balance, at least without rewiring some circuits if they are sharing a neutral with another circuit. Let's say you have an NM wire with two hots, a neutral, and a ground wire. Each of the hot wires goes on a different phase so the neutral wire is balanced. If both were to be moved to one phase, this would cause an unbalance in the wire, which we don't want. Appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, and freezers can be pulled out and rewired if need be to balance the loads. In older homes I know this may be a pain making the corrections, but the savings may be worth the time, effort and expense. In a new home that you are building, check out the loads of the appliances that you will be installing before the wiring is done and have the electrician load it properly for you to a balanced state. You will thank me later when the utility bill comes in the mail.
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:28 AM
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So if you are running two 120-volt window air conditioners that draw 10 amps each and they are on the same leg of power, your demand is 20 amps on a leg. But if you place them on separate legs of power, now your demand is only 1 amps, get it?


The above is one of the dumbest things I've read online in quite awhile.

Using the above logic I need to buy another identical oven and hook it up to the other side of my panel and turn it on whenever we are cooking with the main one to basically use the oven for free.

The little wheel in power meters have 2 coils. One reacts to voltage and the other reacts to current. Using Ohm's law power is calculated.

Oh, and the meters keep track of peak power but are not peak power meters, they are instantaneous meters.

Everyone needs to go out and buy 2nd water heaters, ovens, and AC units and wire them on opposite sides of the panel to get over on the power company.
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:36 AM
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I've reread that and feel nobody is that dumb. It was a mis type, correct? Should it have said if 2 AC's drawing 10 amps each are wired to separate legs then the draw would be "10" not 1 amp?

If so then I agree the draw will be 10 amps thru each leg and you will have balanced power going thru your panel. This however does not make you pay less since 10 + 10 still = 20 amps total draw and you are not fooling that meter.
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by baypro21 View Post
So if you are running two 120-volt window air conditioners that draw 10 amps each and they are on the same leg of power, your demand is 20 amps on a leg. But if you place them on separate legs of power, now your demand is only 1 amps, get it?


No sir, it would be 10 amps per leg. No need to buy another oven, refrigerator, etc. That's simply absurd.
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Ghetto Lobster View Post
No sir, it would be 10 amps per leg. No need to buy another oven, refrigerator, etc. That's simply absurd.

So you agree that 10amps per leg costs the same as 20 amps thru 1 leg? Then why balance the load?
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:02 AM
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While it is a good idea to have a generally balanced load center, it will do nothing to reduce your consumption.
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:10 AM
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What a rush, as this thread went screaming over my head...

Carry on.
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Crabpot Man View Post
While it is a good idea to have a generally balanced load center, it will do nothing to reduce your consumption.


ding, ding, ding
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by dpowell View Post
What a rush, as this thread went screaming over my head...

Carry on.

Look up Faraday and check this out if you are really bored.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_meter
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:16 AM
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Are y'all bored?
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:18 AM
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No, just waiting to leave for my t time. I'm pissed though, I should be at the coast fishing this weekend but my son is using the house with friends and no parents allowed.
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:24 AM
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I haven't had a drink in months but I'm about to start again.

Power companies have many plans; some bill on straight KWH consumption, some bill different rates during high demand periods (generally an industrial application) and some bill (offer discounts) for load reducing during peak times. Some plans (for a lower rate) will even allow the power company to restrict your use of certain devices during peak times.

The net of it is - all this poppeycock of 240/220 vs 120 is solely dependent on your power plan. But I have to tell you....1 KWH is 1 KWH, even with the new math.
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