Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Is it safe to delay appliances into the middle of the night?

There has been some discussion recently about the risks involved in running appliances at night unattended.
You can read a  a Which webpage about it.
In the article there is no mention of the value to the wider community of avoiding the peak, irrespective of whether the delay is into the middle of the night or not.
The picture above, which is taken from the webpage, suggests an overloaded dryer, which is obviously a bad and dangerous idea.
I suggest

  • Don't overload appliances
  • Have your appliances checked every year (it's compulsory in certain types of property)
  • Don't use it as an excuse not to delay at all!
  • It's more important to avoid the peak (3 to 8 pm) than to delay into the middle of the night.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Am I managing my electricity consumption well?

This is a chart of my domestic  electricity consumption for a fairly typical mid-winter weekday , Tuesday 9th February 2016.
Technically the chart is net consumption after PV generation, but in mid February my 4kW system will generate negligible energy.

My observations are:

  • I have 6kW of storage heaters which come on at midnight.  I am pleased to see that they only remained on initially for less than an hour. They appear to come on again sporadically through the night when they are on a low setting.
  • I seem to use some electricity at 8-10am for breakfast and probably cups of tea.
  • My consumption is then low until 7-8pm when cooking the evening meal starts
  • At 8pm the time switch on my immersion heater comes on
  • Later in the evening I have a bath and the immersion heater comes on again.
  • I wonder if the clock in the Owl monitor was accurately set - perhaps the consumption around 11-12pm is in fact the storage heaters coming on again. it would also make sense for the breakfast blip to be a bit earlier.
Anyway the main thing that please me is that consumption at the peak time around 3-7pm has been kept low. it would be even better if I could extend this until 8pm, but nobody is perfect. 

Not every day was as "good" as this, but at least I have some idea of what is happening.
The device I use is an Owl USB monitor which costs about £40.

Any comments?
Do you monitor your personal domestic consumption?

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

People in Germany are now being paid to consume electricity The price of power in Germany briefly dropped to minus 130 euros per MWh on 8 May


As reported in the Independent, electricity prices went negative in Germany for the first time on 8th May.

  • They generate a lot of both wind and solar power
  • Demand for electricity has not been managed to match intermittent renewable supply
  • They would rather keep renewables running than switch them off, even if it is more expensive to do so.
What are the lessons for UK?
  • Manage demand to more closely match the cost of intermittent supply
  • Raise awareness of this issue with domestic consumers who have the power to manage their demand patterns far more than they currently do
The prize for doing this is huge - of the order of £50 billion if the alternative is Hinkley C type power stations.