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AMI meters (birectional Meters)


flamegrilled

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Welcome to the club of the fleeced.

It's simple: If you have enough money to be able to have excessive PV production and are not even complaining about the pittance of the feed in credit you receive - then why should council pay for their own meter ? Surly you will have no trouble paying for it ? Council needs your money.

Consider it a donation for a good cause. That's what I did. At least it makes me feel better about it...

 

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Remember that the <600kWh price comes down, so that the total cost for 600kWh (including the +-R450 fee) works out to the same value. If you use 600kWh or more from the grid, the SSEG tariff literally costs the same as domestic or home tariff.

This is a chart I made sometime in the last year, with the various tariffs (probably need to update it for 2019 rates). Ignoring the lifeline tariffs, the other three costs exactly the same once you're above 600kWh. Also keep in mind that Cape Town will phase out the blue line in time (migrate users to the home tariff), and the yellow and red line will in time squeeze closer together.

At my present consumption, it would cost me about R60 more per month to be on SSEG compared to Home tariff. That's before I subtract anything I feed back.

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2 minutes ago, GreenFields said:

Adjusted for the cost of capital invested?

Oh of course not... that's ignoring the cost of the meter.

I suppose my point is people should not concern themselves so much with the R450/month. It's not a flat R450, it becomes less the more you use, and once you get past 600kWh it costs the same, at least on a month to month basis. What is still a major sticking point, and rightly so, is the high cost of installing the meter. If CoCT would subsidise that a bit I'm sure there will be more uptake.

(Cause there's just no way you're going to claw back the 12k you spent on installing the meter).

This is actually a very timely post. I'm moving house early next year, including the PV system. I need to replace the old disk meter on the new place. If the AMI meter is not completely ridiculous, I might do that. Last I heard it's still around 12k or something like that.

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Your figures are based on the old tariff. 

All new installations get a different one now. The daily fixed charge is gone and you have a monthly charge (I think about R180 if I remember correctly) and you pay full tariff for any power used from grid just like any other user on a home user tariff. Of course the pittance you receive for power supplied remains the same. 

However in my case it actually helps - I will not be using much power from the grid and can feed in some three times what I use myself. So in this case the lower fixed change is helpful.

With the old scenario - with about R450 fixed costs - it was designed to keep small producers out of COCT's hair as it was simply not viable unless you really used a lot of power from grid. 

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1 hour ago, PaBz0r said:

Are you forced to install the AMI meter once registered? 

When you apply, you can choose. There is a tick-box for remaining on your current tariff and fitting a grid-limiting device. So basically, you can either move to the SSEG tariff and fit the AMI meter, or remain on your current tariff and fit a grid limiter.

If you don't have a prepaid meter you must replace the meter with a prepaid meter first. This is the bit I now have to do...

Edited by plonkster
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15 hours ago, plonkster said:

grid limiter.

Software or an actual device? 

15 hours ago, The Bulldog said:

If you plan on going on the feed-in tariff yes.

Why I am interested in this is because our estate is metered by a third party. They installed smart meters end of last year/beginning of this year. I am not sure if this is the same AMI meter that is required, will have to open up the box to have a look. 

15 hours ago, The Bulldog said:

I think about R180 if I remember correctly

So regardless if you feed in or not, there will be a fixed cost once you have registered the SSEG?

 

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54 minutes ago, PaBz0r said:

Software or an actual device? 

There will always be software involved and the inverter has to come to the party. All grid limiter solutions are essentially energy meters that send a number to a piece of software running elsewhere, and that software then adjusts the inverter power level in what is called a "closed control loop". This loop aims to get the energy meter down to zero. Of course this is like hitting a moving target, so grid limiters doesn't prevent feed-in, it just limits it to a low number.

There is no "actual device" that can do this without the help of the inverter. I suppose you could build one that disconnects if it sees reverse power, but that kind of thing would be horribly disruptive and will cause instability in your power supply (flickering lights and things like that).

16 hours ago, The Bulldog said:

Your figures are based on the old tariff. 

I see there is no an SSEG2 tariff for systems installed after July 2019. Better update my spreadsheet then 🙂

I see they actually reduced the FIT from 84.95c to 78.79c. But they also lowered the connection fee from R426.30 (for a 30-day month) to 248.32. So there is some give and take going on again.

54 minutes ago, PaBz0r said:

So regardless if you feed in or not, there will be a fixed cost once you have registered the SSEG?

On the home tariff there is already a connection fee of R163.32. This is the tariff that most people with a solar installation will be on (cause domestic is for people with houses worth between 500k and 1 million if you get my drift). So the extra cost of SSEG2 is then R85. So you need to give them 85/0.7879 ~= 108kWh to get your money back. Sounds almost reasonable, in fact that's roughly the amount I cycle my batteries by.

So now my chart looks like this:

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This is if I export absolutely nothing to the city. That green line moves down if I export, and my target would be to get it below the red line. With a 3.5kWp array I'm unsure how doable that is, especially during winter time when production is down. Also, you're not getting back the money for the meter install 🙂

But at least this looks like a step in the right direction. It may well make sense to spend the R85/month rather than cycle your batteries... I don't know yet.

One final thing to note: SSEG2 is clearly a better tariff than SSEG1 for smaller consumers.

Edited by plonkster
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32 minutes ago, plonkster said:

But at least this looks like a step in the right direction

I agree, but still not sufficient to encourage the average Cape Town homeowner to invest in a feed in solar system. This situation is totally unacceptable for a city/country with abundant sunshine, electricity shortages and presently very dirty high CO2 output energy generation infrastructure.

Edited by Fuenkli
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20 minutes ago, PaBz0r said:

Will see what happens next year..

If I recall the issue was that procedures were not sufficiently followed. So yes, hopefully next year.

I have no objection to a connection fee. Anyone with a few brain cells knows that maintaining the grid infrastructure has costs that remain similar regardless of how much power you use, just like your car has constant insurance costs and an annual service regardless of how far you travel. A grid connection fee seems like a fair compromise to me... but many consumers disagree of course 🙂

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1 hour ago, plonkster said:

If I recall the issue was that procedures were not sufficiently followed. So yes, hopefully next year.

Yeap and the argument was also related to exceeding the increase, as the addition of the connection fee would of caused a dramatic increase for lower consumers. They wangled the figures a bit further and got it to some acceptable level, but then the procedural issues came into play. They had something like R50 on the table at the end.

1 hour ago, plonkster said:

Anyone with a few brain cells knows that maintaining the grid infrastructure has costs that remain similar regardless of how much power you use

Spot on. Obviously we don't have to like it, but it is one of those things.

 

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It is also worth noting that, even if you get approval to export energy back to the grid, the following rules still apply (for the City of Cape Town):

  1. You have to remain a net-consumer of electricity over a rolling period of 12 months (i.e. you cannot export more kWh than you use in one year).
  2. If, over a month or so, you export lots of more power than you use, any "credit" will carry over to the next month (but will never be paid back to you, because of point #1).

This makes it hard to justify the installation cost of an AMI meter. 

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On 2019/11/19 at 4:58 PM, plonkster said:

When you apply, you can choose. There is a tick-box for remaining on your current tariff and fitting a grid-limiting device. So basically, you can either move to the SSEG tariff and fit the AMI meter, or remain on your current tariff and fit a grid limiter.

If you don't have a prepaid meter you must replace the meter with a prepaid meter first. This is the bit I now have to do...

Not the case.

Only applies if you are on SSEG1 tariff - then you can choose if you want to be on SSEG1 or SSEG2.

New installations get the SSEG2 tariff - no matter what boxes you tick.

 

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33 minutes ago, The Bulldog said:

New installations get the SSEG2 tariff - no matter what boxes you tick.

This only applies if you want to export power back into the grid. 

You still have the option of staying on the Home User tariff and keeping your existing prepaid meter (non-AMI type) - as long as you choose not to export power to the grid. I have recently had this option approved by CoCT.

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There's a similar situation in Jhb. If you want to resell to the grid you have to register, have the necessary meter installed (at your cost) and pay a monthly flat fee for admin on your account. Then they pay you back less than 1/2 the cost to you  from them of a kw/h.

I looked into this. Forget the meter (which is once off), with the monthly admin charges I would have to have a Koeberg on my roof to even break even. 

It seems to me that COJ have done this so that they can say they have created an opportunity for resellers, but also have done their sums so as to make it a losing proposition for a householder. I presume this is because they don't see electricity as a service they provide at a cost, but as an actual revenue source and they don't wish to compromise that at all.

But looking at things from the reverse perspective, I set my system to not export, I stay on prepaid tariff but their income from me drops markedly because I now generate about 95% of my own power. If I did go onto their SSEG tariff, they would score, but because they've made it so unattractive I stay on pre-paid (my credit is still running down, but very, very slowly) and so they make less out of me than if I were reselling.

They've created a classic "everybody loses" scenario, unless they pass a law that forces anybody with a grid tied or hybrid system to register for the SSEG tariff. In which case they will kill alternate power in Joburg because only people so rich that the losses won't bother them will bother with it. 

So they'll hit those that have solar power now, and then nobody else is going to bother.

Eish.

Edited by Bobster
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4 hours ago, NigelL said:

This only applies if you want to export power back into the grid. 

Oh ffs... the problem is I am busy and I don't always have time to go and reread the documents... but okay...

... stomps off to go download the sseg application form...

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Looks like we're okay for now.

🙂

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21 hours ago, NigelL said:

This only applies if you want to export power back into the grid. 

You still have the option of staying on the Home User tariff and keeping your existing prepaid meter (non-AMI type) - as long as you choose not to export power to the grid. I have recently had this option approved by CoCT.

Yes. That is precisely what I want to do. I can produce over 70KWh per day - I need around 25 Kwh for my own use.

My application is all approved and signed off. I am patiently waiting now for three weeks for COCT to perform the simple task of quoting for the AMI meter. If was promised to take no more than a week. 

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AMI quote just arrived. About 15 grand.

To add to this: Also arrived has the monthly municipal electricity bill. The meter has not been read for two years (always estimates). I did not mind as the estimates where fairly close (the house has had a solar system for years so usage is very low). Today the estimated amount is just under 4000Kwh for the month. About 40x actual. Looks like Eskom needs a bailout and I'm it....

 

 

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4 minutes ago, The Bulldog said:

AMI quote just arrived. About 15 grand.

That's a tad steep. Do you happen to know the cost of just switching to a normal prepaid meter?

I heard from a mutual acquaintance of ours that you used to live in the street where I'm moving to (up in Heldervue, named after an exotic wildflower) 🙂

Edited by plonkster
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1 hour ago, plonkster said:

Do you happen to know the cost of just switching to a normal prepaid meter?

The CoCT replaced the old meter with a prepaid meter in my friends house in Durbanville free of charge. Apparently they are very keen to get rid of the old meters. 

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