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Old 25-07-2007, 06:12   #1
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Excessive Shore Power Usage

What could cause Excessive Shore Power Usage?
My Last months electric bill was 5 times higher than normal.
Any ideas on how to pinpoint this?
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Old 25-07-2007, 06:37   #2
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Did the price per KW go up 5 times or did you consume 5 times as much as normal?
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Old 25-07-2007, 06:37   #3
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Someone else plugged in to your meter?
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Old 25-07-2007, 06:41   #4
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chuck711, Did you check to see if your meter was read correctly? Was your previous month's bill an estimated bill? Was the weather hotter than normal? Have you installed any additional equipment? If all those questions are no, than I would start turning off 120 volt equipment and check the meter to see how fast it spins. Then I would turn on the equipment one item at a time and check the meter after each turned item.
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Old 25-07-2007, 06:47   #5
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Electric bills are notoriously unreliable as indicators of electrical power usage in marinas. Often, they depend on someone to read the meter correctly....an iffy proposition these days when many folks can't even read the newspaper.

We had electric bills which were very erratic in our marina. Everyone complained. Problems were several: inaccurate readings, inaccurate recording, inaccurate billing, rate changes by electric company which were insanely based and, to boot, even a change of electric company part way through the year.

Suggest you consult with your marina, your neighbors, and await further billings rather than worry about any real changes in your consumption.

Bill
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Old 25-07-2007, 09:42   #6
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No I checked the meter myself and either the meter is bad or there is a heavy draw. I no longer live aboard so I now disconnected the shore power cord.
wanting to troubleshoot the system to find out the problem.
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Old 25-07-2007, 11:40   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck711
No I checked the meter myself and either the meter is bad or there is a heavy draw. I no longer live aboard so I now disconnected the shore power cord.
wanting to troubleshoot the system to find out the problem.
Do you have an old Galvanic Isolator installed? If so... check to see if it is smoking hot...

Other than that: refrigerator, Air Conditioner, electric water heater.
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Old 25-07-2007, 12:52   #8
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For about $30 you can but a gizmo called a "KillaWatt" which is basically a digital recording power meter. You plug it into an outlet (standard 3-prong, you may need to adapt) and then plug anything else into it. It then shows--and totals--the amount of power being consumed through it.

This is a fast way reality check how many watts you are really pulling, up to the device's limits, and get daily/weekly totals. Could be you had something big (AC? electric water heater?) on, could be the estimated meter readings caught up by a real one, could be someone else plugging into your power. Marina's have been known to have things hooked up wrong.

If you unplug everything and go look at the meter--wherever it is--and it is spinning, then someone else is using "your" power.

Meter problems are not uncommon, usually the local electric co. is very willing to send someone out to check--and replace the meter if need be. Politiics and marina owners being what they are...it probably pays to check yourself, first.
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Old 25-07-2007, 15:31   #9
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Since I read the meters at our 26 slip marina there are some things you discover about boats and electricity use.

1. It's only a few folks that use most of the power. We had one idiot that ran his A/C 24 x 7 all summer. He ran up a $400 electric bill but worse he had so much condensation inside the boat he rotted out major sections of the interior and trashed all his batteries. Dumb folks usually get dumber over time.

2. A bad charger will over charge your batteries really well and keep on charging them using way more electricity than you think is possible and way more than is required. This leaves you trashed batteries and a big electrical bill. You don't have to actually use the electricity for a useful purpose to run it through the meter but it costs you just the same. This would be a good thing to check out as this has happened to several folks that swore they never used that much electricity here. That would work out to 3 boats in 26 slips over 4 years. These numbers are higher than you might think.

3. The meters work - most all the time. It's the first thing people say - "The meter must be broken!". When they go bad they usually stop reading rather than read high. A busted meter will usually be in your favor but it is possible. I've never seen one after having them checked out.

My best advice is never plug your boat into an electrical socket unless you need it for something you will be present for. Keeping the boat plugged in all the time is asking for trouble and the root to most things that go bad. It increases you risk of lightning damage since the electrical system can be inducted right up your power cord. 80% of all boat fires are caused by electricity.

Not paying the electric bill because you think the meter is wrong won't win you any friends. If you did this at your home the electric utility would shut you off. You generally have to file a dispute and pay the bill then work out the problem to get a refund. BTW, at the dock the power company does not own the meter most of the time. They only read the mains that feed the dock. Unless they send you the bill then you have to deal with the marina directly.
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Old 25-07-2007, 19:12   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais
We had one idiot that ran his A/C 24 x 7 all summer. He ran up a $400 electric bill but worse he had so much condensation inside the boat he rotted out major sections of the interior and trashed all his batteries.
That doesn't make sense to me. A/C should dehumidify the boat. At least that's what it does on mine.

Mark
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Old 25-07-2007, 19:50   #11
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DUMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais
1. It's only a few folks that use most of the power. We had one idiot that ran his A/C 24 x 7 all summer. He ran up a $400 electric bill but worse he had so much condensation inside the boat he rotted out major sections of the interior and trashed all his batteries. Dumb folks usually get dumber over time.

.
Ah, maybe in Virginia it doesn't get as HOT or as HUMID as it does in FLORIDA where "Grid" is presently on the hard for hurricane season, but when we afford ourselves the luxury of a marina, we run A/C 24/7 too. Dumb? no, just HOT. THAT is why we put in the A/C in the first place.

Running a thermostat controlled A/C when boat is stored, should NOT build up moisture in the boat, rather it acts as a DEHUMIDIFIER if I'm not mistaken. The condensate from the refrigerant coils drips down through a special through hull fitting on the A/C unit itself, above waterline. Setting it for 85 degrees when we leave the boat dries the interior air when it is running so that at night when the ambient temperature cools down, there is LESS water vapor in the air to condense on stuff. What am I missing here? Biggest month's usage was never more than $35 for winter 06-07 during storage...
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Old 26-07-2007, 22:46   #12
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Bingo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors
Electric bills are notoriously unreliable as indicators of electrical power usage in marinas. Often, they depend on someone to read the meter correctly....an iffy proposition these days when many folks can't even read the newspaper.

We had electric bills which were very erratic in our marina. Everyone complained. Problems were several: inaccurate readings, inaccurate recording, inaccurate billing, rate changes by electric company which were insanely based and, to boot, even a change of electric company part way through the year.

Suggest you consult with your marina, your neighbors, and await further billings rather than worry about any real changes in your consumption.

Bill
There have been marinas around here that try to "mark-up" the electrical use....I believe it is against the law here in Maryland (who's state motto is If you enjoy it, we can tax it)
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Old 27-07-2007, 06:10   #13
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pirate Motto

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Engineer
There have been marinas around here that try to "mark-up" the electrical use....I believe it is against the law here in Maryland (who's state motto is If you enjoy it, we can tax it)

I believe the Maryland Motto is:

Illegitimi non Carborundum.





ps Maryland doesn't have the corner on taxing anything that is fun. Ask any other boater!
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