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With lousy power - Phil's Rambling Rants
September 6th, 2006
07:45 am

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With lousy power
... comes great power bills.

Electric rates have supposedly been frozen in Illinois since 1997, but somehow my power bill keeps going up.

Now the rate freeze law is due to expire.  A reverse auction is now in the news, where power generators compete to offer the lowest price to the company we buy power from.  I shudder to anticipate what my power bill will be like in the coming years.

Is anyone selling technology that would let me generate my own power without being mechanically inclined enough to build it myself?  If not, why not?

Note to self: now that we have an income again, start thinking again about getting a propane powered emergency generator.  We expect that the reliability of electric service will be dropping even as the prices go up.  A propane generator won't (or at least I fervently hope it won't) be cheaper than grid power, but I expect a backup supply will be necessary in a few years.  I don't have a good relationship with small gasoline engines, so I don't want to mess with a portable even though they're cheaper.

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From:filkerdave
Date:September 6th, 2006 12:48 pm (UTC)
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There are solar and wind-powered solutions for home use, yes. The ROI is still pretty far out (IIRC, something like the 15-20 year range at current prices)
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From:peteralway
Date:September 6th, 2006 01:17 pm (UTC)
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If you ever make it to one of tnatj's house filks, you'll have to talk to my brother about it. Not tnatj, my filky brother, and not Bob, my rocket brother, but Dan, my alternative energy brother, who does occasionally stop by.
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From:beige_alert
Date:September 6th, 2006 03:03 pm (UTC)
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The first thing is to use less power in the first place. Certainly that's the first thing if you want to generate your own power. The price of solar capacity is a lot higher than the price of a really efficient refrigerator that won't need so much capacity.

You shouldn't have incandescent bulbs that get any significant use. Get a Kill-A-Watt meter and see how much the household gadgets are wasting. I found out my computer scanner used over 10 watts just sitting there not scanning, which is what it does 99.99% of the time. That sucker is unplugged now. And so on. If you get into it, it becomes a game. Read the electric meter every few days and see how you are doing :) I have a spreadsheet full of data....
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