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Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/02/2011 10:05 PM

Hi friends, Nena asked me a solution to let her time share guests work with her in a responsible way on the power usage when visiting.

It will be a kind of reward, given to those who keep the power usage low: AC off when out, lights minimized and more.

She needs small metering devices to be put outside the townhouses' doors. The cheaper the better, with small CT's and ranging 50 or 100 amps 120+120 Volts/60Hz.

No remote monitoring necessary, asap (as simple as possible)

There will be a 100 to be installed. Any hints?

Thank you. D

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#1

Re: sub metering of power usage

09/02/2011 10:57 PM

Install small empty plastic "fake" boxes.................or none at all. Just tell them that electricity is being monitored. Promise the guests a discount for low power usage. Average the total savings, divide that number by the number of occupied units, and you will have your reward number.

Nena may have to start with an arbitrary number.............say $6 off, until she can get some solid numbers. She should also stagger the reward amounts. For example: If people leave a unit particularly clean, they probably watched their power usage...............give them a little more. If the place is trashed, they weren't worried about power usage.................give them none.

No electronics necessary.

Human nature can be a wonderful thing.

People will sit in the dark and burn candles if they think they will get a discount in the end.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: sub metering of power usage

09/02/2011 11:39 PM

Her issue is that now with the high tariff ( $.15 + $.36 fuel surcharges) she collects about $10,000.00 costs per month but her bill is $35,000.00.

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#9
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Re: sub metering of power usage

09/03/2011 11:04 AM

I'm going off topic, and it's none of my business, but something is wrong with this scenario that a power meter is not going to fix.

100 units

Monthly power bill average per unit= $350

Monthly rent per unit= $100

Rewarding the tenants for cutting back on electricity is not going to solve this problem. Hope I'm not out of line, but I think it may be time to raise the rent to at least $500 per month............................or sell them.

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: sub metering of power usage

09/03/2011 11:25 AM

Where are these places?

Is there any good fishing nearby? I want to retire there.

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#13
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Re: sub metering of power usage

09/03/2011 4:14 PM

I think they time shared the units: say $7,000.00 for 20 years (one week per year), plus maintenance fees (?), plus power. The idea is to charge a nominal cost, plus what they use during their vacation. (this to be monitored). The big spenders must pay accordingly, instead of being supported by all the others. Most of the tenants only rent by the week or save 2 years to get 14 days. Apart from that some units are also rented as hotel suites.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: sub metering of power usage

09/03/2011 5:27 PM

What is using the Watts?

I see a palm tree on your Photo so I assume it is mostly consumed by air conditioning? I hope the visitors are not sitting in hot tubs all day or growing hydroponic tomatoes?

If you can't control the usage individually, control the need for consumption. I mean with 30 Grand a month they must have everything on full load and recharge their electric vehicles as well. (Golf carts?)

This doesn't look like a hobby setup and one would need to have a closer look at your buildings. If they are identical units just include a pic so one can see what (Watt) the overall situation looks like?

The money you spend on monitoring could be saved by spending it on preventive measures. Is there maybe a link so that I can get a better idea of what you are dealing with, building, applications wise?

If it is the cost for cooling causing the most consumption I would like to have a closer look at the structures. Otherwise just OT this post. Savings by all could then be taken off the 7 grand fee and that could result in more bookings and a more feasible operation.

Not offering a control unit, sorry, just an attempt to solve this in a holistic way.

Good luck, Ky.

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#15
In reply to #2

Re: sub metering of power usage

09/03/2011 5:38 PM

$10,000.00 costs per month but her bill is $35,000.00.

25 Grandissimoes a moth. I mean she has to have a closer look at this and not try some fancy diagnostic patch work. Are the tenants perceptible to green ideas?

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#16
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Re: sub metering of power usage

09/03/2011 8:34 PM

The tenants are vacationing. They take those few days as best they can. Hot water is already Solar. The townhouses are 20 years old but have been modernized all the time. The main building is a styrofoam structure. Temperatures here are close to 3 digits and over. Humidity is high since this is an island in the Atlantic Ocean. July, August, September and October make AC in the houses necessary. The AC units have already a double (hidden) thermostat to remedy extremely low settings (to a threshold)

Some families jump in the jacuzzi, use the AC and keep the patio door even open, create a full brio light experience - the price is fixed anyway - the energy saving attitude from home didn't travel along with many of them.

That is why they will be asked to pay for the power, used like a good pater familiae or as a big spender coupled to their wallet or credit card.

Especially these months are a heavy load and dividing the total bill by the total of more than 5,000 tenants is not fair. During the other 8 months AC isn't that much of a must.

Everyone on this island is complaining about the AC bills, except me (haha) The buildings of the resort are much more sophisticated than the average Bahamian house.

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#3

Re: sub metering of power usage

09/03/2011 1:38 AM

There is an inexpensive device called "Kill-a-Watt" (or some such spelling). I don't know if it goes up to your amperage range, though.

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#4
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Re: sub metering of power usage

09/03/2011 1:43 AM

Thank you- I'll check it out

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#6
In reply to #3

Re: sub metering of power usage

09/03/2011 10:04 AM

I have one of these. They are only rated for 120V and 15 amps.

It's a great instrument for household use, but I don't think it's what he's looking for.

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#5

Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/03/2011 4:26 AM

A $35,000 electric bill every month?

Just put in electronic power meters like the local power company uses here. They are remote read on demand and can be checked at any time via a remote computer system when set up properly.

At $35,000 a month electricity cost its more than cost effective to get a private system set up to read each unit on demand from a common computer that way every customer can be billed exactly for how much power they used for the time they where there.

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#7
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Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/03/2011 10:31 AM

Yes, $35,000.00 per month, during the hottest months. A year ago it was "only" 15,000.00. I installed a system in dock cabinets to register the power used by each boat. But those DIN RAIL units still cost $300,00 plus each, plus 2 CT's. We just need a numerator. (good visible counter) with 2 CT's. (120V + 120V/60Hz)

Thank you. D

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#11
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Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/03/2011 11:21 AM

Need something like it. Only small and cheap kWh use indicator. No communication with PC needed. GA anyway

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#17
In reply to #5

Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/03/2011 11:45 PM

I have to agree with tcmtech.

Have you looked at energy control systems that hotels use? Equipment can often be remotely controlled and activated/deactivated. Seems like jacuzzi's could be controlled similarly as the AC units.

Failing that, how about timers on more of the light fixtures that turn them off after x minutes? And "nagging" alarm units on those "open" doors ... similar to the seatbelt alarm in your car. Something that starts making noise after a door's been open a minute.

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#18
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Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/04/2011 12:45 AM

I agree with tcmtech too and with you too and most of the comments make reasonable sense. I have seen dock stations where boats dock in marinas with simple kWh meters. That is what we are looking for >Cheap and Reliable<.

In this resort all the dock stations have an electronic kWh meter, linked in daisy chain RS.... It is very comfortable for billing.

For the townhouses the manager wants to go with the client - bring the luggage and explain the policy mouth to mouth (hm.. don't get this wrong) maybe mouth to ear is more appropriate here.

This is what the psychologist prescribes. And who am I? I just play the piano very bad.

Here is no high tech, everyone knows coconuts.

I am trying to find Ellen Tao, she starts working tomorrow night. She works for a company that sells a good product? Only there are 43 (Ellen Tao)s.

Thanks for your input. D.

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#20
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Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/04/2011 1:04 AM

there are big piles of used KWH meters after smart meters were installed

http://www.meci.com/index.php/electrical/electric-meters/landis-and-gyr-watthour-electric-meter-4-digits-200amp.html

the base will run $50

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#22
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Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/04/2011 1:31 AM

Garth, do you think they have CT types too?

or is there a way to get these running with a trick?

The look is great, but the installation needs to be about 50 feet away from the breaker panel. The main breaker however is only 50 or 60 Amps. Finding mini CT's will be not a big problem I guess.

Thank you, D.

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#23
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Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/04/2011 1:41 AM
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#24
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Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/04/2011 1:44 AM
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#25
In reply to #22

Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/04/2011 9:51 PM

Those units have the CT built in! they are WattHour Electric Meters

Just combine with the $30 base but you have to run the 240 through the meter. Probably best to mount the meter just before the panel in each unit. Then read on arrival and departure. You may be surprised at the change between each departure and the next arrival when you expected draw to be zero.

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#27
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Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/05/2011 3:07 AM

Can the CT's only remain in the line? And we run the rest of the required wires (thinner as the feed lines)about 5o feet to the outside next to the door?

This is just private metering. The Power Company has its own 3 meters after the transformers.

I understand it has to do with taking apart the original setup in the meter, but we can put some extra work in it. Or does the meter stops working?

Have you or someone else experience with this possible modification?

I have never worked on these round glass models.

Thank you. D.

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#29
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Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/05/2011 6:03 AM

Very unlikely. They are only $30, take one apart and see. What have you got to loose? $30? My guess is it is not an actual CT but a shunt resistor and the signal will be too noisy for even 20% accuracy after running 50ft...assuming you can remove them from the meter at all. Another possibility is that the CT's are actually stators that use the disk as a rotor and you would have to run 4x10AWG wire the 50ft. If they are actually CT's you might be able to do what you want.

If you do take one apart, take some pictures and post them on here so we can see the inside. I don't have the time to do it my self or I would just to see what is inside

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#30
In reply to #27

Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/05/2011 9:34 AM

I don't think you'll have much luck taking mechanical meters apart to use them remote

sounds like the units are daisy chained together. this would increase the amount of big wire if you must have all the meters centrally located

having the meter on each unit, would be an advantage allowing customers to see their usage. there must be a pre & post occupancy inspection anyway....

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#8

Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/03/2011 10:47 AM

Here are some digital AC ammeters with CTs; just one example catalog among many.

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#10
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Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/03/2011 11:17 AM

Thanks for the link, Tornado, very useful for the future, I appreciate it.

Though I don't find kWh counters there. They have a lot of stuff. Worth a GA

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#19

Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/04/2011 12:57 AM

Does this work any better; or is it what you already have?

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#21
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Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/04/2011 1:16 AM

Nice product, thank you.

What I used in the marina is the EKM METERING with RS485 interface. It comes for a DIN rail, but the LCD display doesn't like sunlight. It also needs a separate box to put it in. About the same price class. EKM has also 2 through holes for direct on wire metering. I need CT's to bring the display close to the outside door. They provide it also.

Need something under $100.00 if possible.

A GA anyway, D.

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#26

Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/05/2011 1:25 AM

Hi,

For Remote Monitoring the 96X96MM cut out size Power analyser is available with RS 485 interface port and you can get entire electrical parameters and you can take the parameters, whatever necessary and through port you can get the details in your Mobile or through net.

For dimming the lighting you can use DALI system.

If you require any further information, please tell me. visit my website www.foretecengineers.com. These are all user friendly and you can generate the report every month through the software.

regards

Ravi-coimbatore

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#28
In reply to #26

Re: Sub Metering of Power Usage

09/05/2011 3:17 AM

Any specific road to follow in this website?

Details product and price frame?

We really need a simple solution and CHEAP.

Thanks

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