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Discussion Starter #1
OK, so I just bought a Volt over the weekend. I love, love love the car so far and am now digging into the meat on charging, rate plans, etc. We are currently charging at 12A and I am looking at putting in a Level 2 charger. Mostly for the convenience of the 4 hour charges on weekends, etc.

Since we may have to put a new panel in for the Level 2 charger (our panel might be too full); if I have to spend the money anyway, I am thinking about doing the So Cal Edison separate meter EV plan. Based on the website, I could charge at 11c/kwH from 9PM to noon each day then 26/37 during the day winter/summer. That doesn't sound so bad to me, especially since the car will be the only thing on that meter. (FYI: We are usually into Tier 4 rates every month even before buying the Volt, so right now I will be paying the Tier 4 rate towards the end of the month to charge the car - ugh)

So, has anyone here done the meter thing from SCE? Any gotchas on that? Do I really get 11c a kWh with no Tiers or anything?
 

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I am not on Edison but I do have a separate TOU meter on LADWP. It does save me some money in the months I drive a lot. In the months where I don't drive as much I would probably be better off with one meter. (The meter service fees are about $11 per month.) But it also depends on what tier you are in.

If you are charging on 12 amps... I strongly recommend reading this FAQ. There is some important safety info in there: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?48937-120V-Charging-FAQ
 

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I'm on SCE TOU without the separate meter. I also have net metering with solar, which works to my advantage. There was a post a few months ago that the cost of an additional meter is hard to justify.
 

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Installing a dual meter setup is more an infrastructure upgrade to your house rather than something to save money.

I installed the second meter. It involves a "pull box" between the power company and your existing meter, where wires then branch out to your existing power AND the second meter box. (Why the power co can't just join onto the existing incoming wires is a mystery. They piggy-back lots of wires inside their transformer boxes.)

Anyway, installing the pull-box, doing the connecting, and installing the second box plus a sub-panel in my garage cost me $3000. If locations and distances are just right, you might do it for $1000 to $1500.

Here's the thread with my description: PG&E Dual Meter Installation

Also "trainorders" in this forum has done the same to his house. Only he had a lower-amperage house system, so I am sure cost less. He has a website where he describes it. See this post: SCE - electric rate (click on his "Meter Installation Info")
 

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Also "trainorders" in this forum has done the same to his house. Only he had a lower-amperage house system, so I am sure cost less. He has a website where he describes it. See this post: SCE - electric rate (click on his "Meter Installation Info")
Thanks for the nice words. These days I am recommending people put the money they would have put towards the meter installation and instead put it towards a solar system. Still, the second meter is a good long term investment towards your home's infrastructure. My fear is that eventually as EV's become more acceptable SCE and PGE might allow a submeter like other utilities do which will make the installation cheaper.

Also, my installation is a little outdated as now SCE is not allowing my cheapo service panel anymore. You need to put something with a master disconnect. When our Honda Fit EV lease is up in another 18 months I am going to upgrade my meter with a new service panel that can handle higher amperage. I was not thinking long term beyond my Volt when I put this meter in.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow, $3k? We definitely wouldn't do it for that kind of money. I do have the advantage that the electrical panel and meter are on the exterior wall of the garage, so I am hoping to not have that complicated of an install.

I'd buy solar, but that's $40k (and I live in an area where leased solar REDUCES the resale of your home according to my realtor, so I would have to buy the system.) That puts solar out of the question entirely.

So it sounds like the meter install is much more complicated than I had hoped. I have the electrician coming Friday for the estimates, so we will see the difference in install costs.

I just hate to pay 32c a kWh to charge my car, but it might not be worth it to change that.
 

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SolarCity (A company owned by Elon Musk) will lease you a Solar system for 0% down that will supply 100% of your power. (You are off grid.) You agree to a pre-negotiated monthly rate that is significantly lower than your current electric bill. They install and maintain the equipment. You pay nothing up front.

See: http://www.solarcity.com
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the info. I have talked to Solar City and about 4 other solar companies. Leasing solar does not make sense for our situation, unfortunately. We don't save enough per month to justify the risk of signing a 20 year agreement with someone. If I go solar, I will purchase the panels, and right now, the costs haven't come down enough for that yet.

The kicker is if we had moved here just 6 months later, we would have ended up with solar on our house. All new construction homes are being built with solar included now, we bought in the last development before they started that.

SolarCity (A company owned by Elon Musk) will lease you a Solar system for 0% down that will supply 100% of your power. (You are off grid.) You agree to a pre-negotiated monthly rate that is significantly lower than your current electric bill. They install and maintain the equipment. You pay nothing up front.

See: http://www.solarcity.com
 

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I'm on SCE TOU without the separate meter. I also have net metering with solar, which works to my advantage. There was a post a few months ago that the cost of an additional meter is hard to justify.
I'm also on SCE TOU without a separate meter, but no solar. When I switched to TOU there was no charge for doing so. It works great for me because no one is home during the day and I have no AC. I charge the Volt on "Super Off Peak" for $0.10/kWh. But I think that the give back is that they reduce the window before you get in to the higher tiers during "Peak". So, if you are running AC all day in the AV, it may not pencil out. it is another option, but you have to do the math to make sure you don't shoot yourself in the foot.
 

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The sub-meter that trainorders mentioned would definitely make EV charging much easier to install and separate from the residential electric bill: Charge the EV through the regular panel, but put a meter on THAT circuit only, perhaps in the garage. Subtract the power used thru the sub-meter and bill it separately. Doing that would be far easier.

I am enjoying my setup, though. It now charges both the Volt and the Spark EV. I added a circuit to the garage sub-panel across the garage ceiling, with the EMW JuiceBox plugged into the outlet, charging the Spark. Right now my rate is around 9 cents a kwh on PG&E's grandfathered EV/separate meter rate.

Az_Rael, talk to another real estate agent, to make sure the first wasn't just showing an anti-solar attitude. Find out if owned-solar doesn't increase the value some. There is also a purchase option where you finance the solar, and the payments might be very near the savings on your power bill. With the right-sized solar, TOU (time-of-use) electric rates that only EV owners can get, you might be surprised how it pencils out.

...all this reminds me: I need to get up on the roof and top the trees that have grown and are starting to shade my solar panels. Two-story house, 20-year-old trees :-/
 

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new meter saving me over $100 a month

Before adding a second meter to our home all my charging was on tier 3 or higher. A second meter came with it's own base line so the charging of the Volt is tier one time of use at .04 cents. Monthly Bill for that meter ranges from $18 to $20. And I average over 1,000 miles per month. Two cents a mile and no oil changes. I figure tires cost another 2 cents a mile so should add the services every 15,000 miles but that would not be that much. Is it possible this car is costing about 5 cents a mile to drive before insurance?

Roy volt#1019
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
That is awesome info about the meter. We would probably benefit just as much since we are Tier 4 regularly even before the car. I am already seeing the nightly spikes on my usage from charging on SCEs website.

As far as solar goes, I think owned solar definitely increases home values here, it was the leased units that were an issue for the realtor. Which I totally get. I would never take over someone's solar lease when buying a home, I would want them to purchase the system as part of the home sale. The real problem we have when looking at solar is the fact we may only be in this house for another 3 years. I can probably justify spending a couple grand on adding EV charging capability/meter even if I sell in a few years, but solar is much harder math for me. The AV is pretty conservative and much less green/carbon conscious compared to Northern California, so I don't know how much the solar would actually add to the house. I have several coworkers who have stated they would consider a solar system akin to new thermal windows or better insulation: nice to have, but not worth a large premium on the house price. My work environment (engineers in the defense industry) probably doesn't reflect the AV as a whole, but it does make me nervous about shelling out for panels when I might have to sell in less than 5 years.

Edit: actually the best way to lower your power bill in the AV is to install a swamp cooler. Very non techie and non cool, but people report lowering their summer bills by up to 80% since the desert atmosphere is so conducive to it. My engineering nature won't allow me to put solar in when I know there is a much cheaper solution that will pay off way faster.
 

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...The real problem we have when looking at solar is the fact we may only be in this house for another 3 years. ...The AV is pretty conservative and much less green/carbon conscious compared to Northern California, so I don't know how much the solar would actually add to the house. I have several coworkers who have stated they would consider a solar system akin to new thermal windows or better insulation: nice to have, but not worth a large premium on the house price. My work environment (engineers in the defense industry) probably doesn't reflect the AV as a whole, but it does make me nervous about shelling out for panels when I might have to sell in less than 5 years.
Well, your conservative coworkers' view is one source, but here are several others regarding the resale home values with solar:
Study Shows Rooftop Solar Adds Thousands To Home Resale Values
How Much Does Solar Increase the Value of Your Home?
Is my home worth more with solar energy?

Palmdale is solar heaven, isn't it? Do you have ANY cloudy days in a given year?? :) (For those who don't know, it's out in the Mojave Desert.) I would call several solar installers and have them run the numbers for you. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much it would reduce your power bills. Use that, and add in resale value after 3 - 5 years, and see if it doesn't make sense.

The realtors in your area may not value the solar as much as incoming buyers, so if you need to sell, I would do this: Have one or more realtors tell you the price they think you should list. Ask them how much the solar installation increases its value. IF they discount the solar, jack your listing price up according to the above studies. You can always list higher and come down. But if it goes on the market below value, and someone snaps it up in 24 hours, you cannot back out.

And that reminds me of a Palmdale realtor experience 10-15 years ago: My late mom had 10 acres of desert/sagebrush land out there. We had a realtor list it, he put the value at 30k. Surprise! he had a buyer in 24 hours. We did a little checking and found that similar properties were going for twice that. We cancelled the deal, the realtor squawked that he wanted his commission. We responded that we would report him to the Board of Realtors for acting counter to our best interests. We never heard from him again.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I will check out the solar options. They may have improved since we went through this exercise a few years ago. Ironically, adding an EV might jack up our power costs enough to justify it (we were always right on the edge before)

The electrician came by today and got us some numbers. My plan is to buy a clipper creek LCS-25 charger with the twist-lock plug on it (so we can take it with us when we move). To run (1) 240V plug to our existing circuit breaker is $535 and $735 to run (2) plugs (future proofing for a potential 2nd EV). Luckily our existing breaker box does have the space for that. Job will take 3-4 hours. I wasn't there for the estimate, so I don't have details of what amperage circuits he was going to put in, just the basic numbers.

The price for the 2nd panel for the SCE meter is $2000 on the electrician's end plus the possibly cost of an engineer depending on what SCE says when they evaluate it. He said he has only had 2 customers go that route in the past, so they don't have a huge amount of experience with it. It sounds like a waaay more complicated process as we have to get SCE out to look at it, etc.

So now to do some math. I see why most people don't go the meter route - especially after seeing the install process some of the other posters have gone through.


Edit: Did some simplified math. It will cost us $1612 per year to charge the Volt daily on our current meter and rate plan. It will cost $554 per year to charge on the extra meter plan, making the added install costs pay off in electricity savings in a little over a year. Might be worth doing.
 

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I'm on SCE TOU without the separate meter. I also have net metering with solar, which works to my advantage. There was a post a few months ago that the cost of an additional meter is hard to justify.
I am getting solar quoted out. My 100amp panel needs to be upgraded anyways. If I can upgrade my panel and get dual meters with my solar install, I would benefit from the 30% fed tax credit. But I may just spend the money on extra panels and skip the 2nd meter.
 

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I am getting solar quoted out. My 100amp panel needs to be upgraded anyways. If I can upgrade my panel and get dual meters with my solar install, I would benefit from the 30% fed tax credit. But I may just spend the money on extra panels and skip the 2nd meter.
That's a really good idea!!! To replace the old panel, the electrician has to take your old panel off the wall and put up a new panel, and then connect all the circuits running into the house onto circuit breakers in the new panel. For a minor additional expense, and no extra work for the electrician, you should be able to have the dual-socket panel installed.

Then, even at a later date, you can have the second-meter circuit run into your garage and charge using the second meter at that lower rate.

I personally think it is yet another silly requirement of the NEC to force people to upgrade their panel when they add solar. They do the calculations as if the solar system is drawing more power out of the panel, rather than adding it in. I suppose if the solar were connected right at the top of the bus bars, nearest the incoming power end, the solar plus the max from the grid could overload the panel.

However, if they would just require the solar be connected at the opposite end of the bus bars, there is no way the home use pulling the max amps from the grid, plus the max from solar could overload any part of the bus bars in the panel.

My own solar was set up on the old panel without the panel upgrade requirement, but they changed the regs after that, so I probably would have needed to upgrade the panel, too.
 

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You should get updated quotes on a solar installation. I had been holding off for several years as the prices were too steep but have come down dramatically over the past year. I just put in a 7.5kw system that will cover about 90% of my annual usage. A year ago pricing was over $40,000. My most recent quotes were as low as $28,000.
With a grid tied system you don't have to have a system large enough to cover your entire annual usage just large enough to keep you in tier 1 rates.
 

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With a grid tied system you don't have to have a system large enough to cover your entire annual usage just large enough to keep you in tier 1 rates.
Exactly what we did and my bill has been around $5 per month since March, but I imagine it will be around $60 for this month since we had to use the a/c so much. We actually crossed into tier 2 for the first time this month :(
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You should get updated quotes on a solar installation. I had been holding off for several years as the prices were too steep but have come down dramatically over the past year. I just put in a 7.5kw system that will cover about 90% of my annual usage. A year ago pricing was over $40,000. My most recent quotes were as low as $28,000.
With a grid tied system you don't have to have a system large enough to cover your entire annual usage just large enough to keep you in tier 1 rates.
That is good info, thanks! I didn't realize prices were falling that dramatically. I expect that if the federal tax credit ever runs out, the solar prices will dive in price, to the current after credit rates because no one will pay the higher ones. Same thing goes for the EV tax credit. I am always suspicious that the manufacturers price their items knowing the tax credit exists. Once its gone, they have to lower prices to actually compete. That kinda happened with the Prius - those can be had for regular car prices now, whereas when they first came out they had a significant premium (that was offset by the credit, but still - Toyota benefits, you did not). But thats a conspiracy theory for later and not the subject of this thread. LOL
 
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