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About djbobbins

  • Rank
    Senior Member, Raffle Sponsor 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Personal Information

  • Location:
    Warwick / Dusseldorf
  • Interests
    Forestry, football (Man City), home brewed beer / wine
  • Occupation
    Energy sector

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  1. We have got a few pumpkin plants, they had some mildew a few weeks back but SWMBO bought some copper treatment and they’ve picked up since then. Two plants are doing really well, the other three or four still catching up. We built a frame out of three tripods of 1” timber with about 8 foot of 3/4” copper pipe across the top - the idea is that the plants will grow up the frame (it’s working up to now) and the copper will be strong enough to carry the weight of pumpkins in some kind of sling. She got the idea from Monty Don, apparently (not sure he used leftover copper pipe though!)
  2. You are misinterpreting what I said. I said, clearly, that the energy companies are obligated to install smart meters. That is the wording of the headline from Ofgem. Actually, in the detail, the obligation is to apply all reasonable endeavours to do the smart meter rollout. That is not the same as customers being obligated to have a smart meter, but for previous advanced meter rollouts where companies got fined several million pounds for not doing enough (according to Ofgem) then it explains why the companies are pushing.
  3. I quote from Ofgem, the energy regulator: “Energy suppliers are currently obligated to deliver the rollout of smart meters.” https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/docs/2018/10/10.2018_open_letter_ofgems_advanced_meter_rollout_investigations_and_the_smart_meter_rollout.pdf And if you want a list of the various licence obligations for different aspects of Smart metering: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/docs/2019/02/licence_guide_smart_metering_0.pdf
  4. Be careful with the idea of importing at low wholesale price and exporting later. Unless your billing set-up is done properly, you could well end up getting charged add-on costs for the gross import, but not getting them credited on the export. As they are about 5p/kWh it’ll take quite big swings in the wholesale price to cover that off.
  5. The diesel gensets bit is definitely true - in fact, earlier this year in the U.K. some generators were getting paid £4,000/MWh e.g. £4/kWh, so any suppliers who had under forecast their customer demand and ended up buying will be exposed to that as their marginal cost: System Prices spike due to ‘Beast from the East 2’ - Elexon BSC WWW.ELEXON.CO.UK I was guesstimating on the costs of running the washing machine in “normal” electricity prices vs peak, but it looks like I was pretty close on the “normal”: Energy consumption of household appliances WWW.SHELLENERGY.CO.UK Learn how much electricity consumption an average household uses. From the energy used to run a washing machine to how much it costs to boil a kettle. The actual cost of running a washing machine would depend on how spiky the prices got and how much the suppliers might pass that through to customers. But if marginal system price of £4/kWh was passed to customers, then actually 2.5kWh or so would actually be a tenner to run the washing machine, for a single wash. In Texas this January (different market and regulation setup, the regulator set the price to $9,000/MWh for about a week. Some US customers do have their price tied to real-time wholesale; it must have been a chastening experience when the bills landed. (Admittedly, the Texas grid went to crap in January so many people were actually without electricity, so might not have bill shock).
  6. Which bit - the diesel gensets or the customer variable tariffs?
  7. No hail storms this summer, yet, fortunately. Are they not a bit dark-skinned to be golden delicious?
  8. Oh, and these aren’t apples but I hope they crop well!!
  9. Slightly off topic - anyone any good at identifying apples? We have got three trees in the garden of the house we moved into in February, so I’m curious to know what to expect. I think two are cooking apples but these look like an eater - just not sure what?
  10. This technically isn’t how the industry works. In many cases, the companies who sell the electricity to customers don’t actually generate it themselves. And even if they do, there’s a wholesale electricity market with a different price every single half hour - so generators respond to prices (the cheapest ones to run, or those with subsidies, run most - the expensive ones, such as diesel genders, do a lot less hours). Traditionally, every domestic customer is allocated into one of seven classes, each of which has a default demand shape applied. So the supplier will estimate your consumption, apply the relevant shape and buy electricity to meet that shape. When your meter gets read once a year, they revisit the estimated numbers and the whole industry pays imbalance charges, for about 18 months after the time of consumption. That being said, the effect you describe is what could (and arguably should) happen. If people all whack everything on when they get home at 6pm in December, the system demand goes through the roof. So the really expensive diesel gensets get fired up, which cost maybe £1000/MWh (i.e. £1/kWh) to run. On top of that l, there is the cost of running the network, paying subsidies to renewables etc. So if the smart meter has a price signal that makes people think “hmm, do I put the washing machine one now when it will cost £4.50 in electricity, or do I wait until 11pm when it’ll be 60p?” it will take some getting used to, but is not a bad thing overall in my opinion. Because the marginal plant needed to run at 11pm is probably going to be more efficient and thus cheaper, the overall cost of meeting electricity demand is reduced by shifting use away from the peak times. The easiest comparison I can think of is fuel on the motorway services. The services have fuel for when people who are desperate, or too rich to care, need to buy it. Us mere mortals generally think ahead that if the tank is half full and we’re about to do 300 miles down the M1, we’ll fill up somewhere first.
  11. Actually, it depends - it’s the suppliers who are obligated to install the meters. They may then get external money in to do that. Alternatively, if you move supplier (e.g. from E.ON to Octopus) the meter that E.ON installed remains owned by them. The government and Ofgem screwed up on this one - they should have set it up so that the distribution companies were mandated to install smart meters, as an add-on to owning and operating the wires into each property. The DNOs could have done them street by street, which would have made the roll-out a lot quicker, cheaper overall and would have solved the problem about a legacy supplier needing to bill a new supplier for the smart metering service that is left behind when the customer switches.
  12. I work in the energy industry (have done for 17 years) and fully expect more variable tariffs to come in. As has already been shown above, some people will change their behaviour based on usage even if tariffs are flat, some will not. I think there will be higher charges in the winter evenings but lower costs in summer and overnights - so what it will do is incentivise people to do things that aren’t time essential (washing machine, immersion heater, running heat pumps in future, charging a car) when prices are lower, rather than just whacking everything on at 6pm. This should also help with the cost of infrastructure - i.e. by encouraging people not to use lots of electricity at the same time, it should spread out usage and therefore mean there’s less need to build additional generation capacity or reinforce networks.
  13. djbobbins


    Boo - I tried to post a link to a Facebook video clip that made me chortle, but can’t get it to work…
  14. We had a couple of Morphy Richards and Russell Hobbs ones, both of which failed - it seems to be impossible to get the fill-level indicator to stay watertight. You’d think that would be a priority on an electrical appliance designed for heating water. For the last one, it failed within the 2 year warranty period so I took it back to Argos and got a full refund. I’ve plumped for a (still Chinese made) John Lewis brand one instead now. I reckon that if it starts leaking within two years it’ll be back for a refund or new-for-used replacement within their warranty. And if it lasts longer than 2 years it will have cost me about a penny per boil for the wear and tear (excluding the electricity and water, obviously). John Lewis & Partners Simplicity Electric Kettle, Stainless Steel WWW.JOHNLEWIS.COM Buy Stainless Steel John Lewis & Partners Simplicity Electric Kettle from our Kettles range at John Lewis & Partners. Free Delivery on orders over £50.
  15. Not sure which variant it was but I had two in the garden when we moved into previous house, both about 40’ tall and 12” dbh at allegedly circa 20 years old, despite having been pollarded at least once. The house was showing signs of heave so I got rid pretty quickly (one tree in particular was about 15’ away from front corner of mine and next door house) - so I can see why your man would want those out. I gave some bits away for turning and the recipient was very happy. For other uses apart from firewood (yes, it’s a pig to split) I’d be wary about the amount of radial cracking and general twisting, unfortunately, although apparently it’s reasonably long lasting outdoors so can be used for making garden furniture, pergolas etc.


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