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Soaring Energy Costs

1462 Views 38 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Jrgunn5150
So we get this notice in the mail the other day from DTE about how we now get to have choice in saving on the new rate increases. It really isn't a choice the way I see it. Maybe it is if you want to use candles to light your home during peak hours. Which are between 3 and 7 when kids get home from school and families are getting home from a day at work to come home and turn everything on in the house that uses electricity.

Dynamic Peak Pricing | Products | DTE Energy

Get ready for some big increases.
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I am SO thankful to be building a super tight, small, energy-efficient house with a passive solar design (mini-split/heat pump heating/cooling). Our electric bills over the last 3 months have been $54, $56, and $39 respectively. $22 of each of those amounts is basic connection fees, taxes, etc. We were shooting for low monthly overhead (and minimizing how much "the man" sticks it to us), and we're hitting that goal.

Granted, we're in East Tennessee, but we definitely get cold winter temps down here.

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dollar down icon
Off-Peak Rate
11 cents per kWh

M - F: 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Weekends and holidays*

home savings icon
Mid-Peak Rate
16 cents per kWh

M - F: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

dollar up icon
On-Peak Rate
23 cents per kWh

Monday - Friday

3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

electric emergency icon
Critical Peak
$1.02 cents per kWh

Rare weekdays**

3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Holy cow! Our energy rate here in East Tennessee is $0.07/kWh...something that was a deciding factor on our move decision (at the time, Michigan was around $0.16/kWh).

Also don't discount solar. I am not talking about panels I am talking about collectors. For instance using dark colored gravel or rocks can greatly reduce snow buildup around your home. If you have a seldom used room in your home that regularly sees a good amount of light making a indoor rock garden with dark colored rocks is a great way to make a indoor solar collector. Even placing pots filled with dark stones on the window sill can act as a mini solar collector.

The more area for the sun to hit the rocks the more the heat the collector will store. When the sun goes down these collectors will radiate that heat back out into your home. Now in most cases the difference is only a few degrees over around 1 to 4 hours. But that is still heat savings for very little actual work.
This is really cool stuff. For people interested in what cerial mentioned, search on "Passive Haus" or "Passive House", and "thermal mass". Our concrete slab is doing exactly what he's talking about, as our south-facing wall has three sliding glass doors. The sun shines in and heats the slab in the winter, but in the summer the sun angle is high, so it doesn't shine in.

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A relatively simple thing folks could do to ease the pain, if they were a little more open minded, is run server batteries or the like on peak hours, and simply charge them off the grid on off peak hours.

Even more, just put the freezers and whatnot on timers, they really only need to run a few times a day.

I've said it many times before and will likely say it many times again, people need to be thinking about how to be self sufficient and making what moves they can to do so.
Good idea! It's one I have been looking at myself. There are a lot of battery option; the EG4 has gotten pretty good reviews from solar guru Will Prowse, even though they can be charged via the grid and not just with a solar array.

Shop All - Batteries - Page 1 - Signature Solar

EDIT: I'm looking at this from a preparedness standpoint moreso than a peak energy avoidance standpoint.
Solar panels are kind of useless in Michigan, at least, not as useful as they could be. Our position on the globe limits how much power you can make. If you have the space and skillset to set it up, getting your own system put together isn't too bad though. a 12-14kwh system with about 12-24 hours worth of battery ranges around 30-40k if you have it done by a company, maybe more now. I said, no f'ing way. You can get the hardware to do it for under 10k. I haven't had the ambition to move on it, but I'm getting closer.
I believe your pricing is off...not sure how long ago you looked into things. A system that size would have run us in excess of $25K as a DIY job. I looked into it about 4-5 months ago.
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My 14 kw system was, at the absolute outside high end range, 10k. But really more like 8.

And I didn't have to ask permission, so that's nice lol.
When did you buy/build your system, and is it capable of handling 240v? How many days of autonomy do you have?
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