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Reducing the mains voltage to save energy

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by John D v2.0, 27 Oct 2019.

  1. John D v2.0

    John D v2.0

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    https://www.theguardian.com/environ...ut-carbon-bill-electricity-north-west-voltage

    Does it really work in the long term? Light bulbs are mostly led so would adjust to use more current, kettles we would just wait longer, washing machines would use more current for some things and take longer for others.
    Maybe some things would just be less effective and we'd just deal with it without buying bigger ones eg fan heaters?
    Any thoughts?
     
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  3. flameport

    flameport

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    It works in a very tiny number of very specific installations, and even there, better solutions are available.

    For everyone else, it's a total waste of time.
     
  4. JohnD

    JohnD

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    The article is nonsense.

    The author is so ignorant that he actually uses boiling a kettle as an example.

    Which is so impossible that he should be sent back to his previous newspaper job; delivering them.
     
  5. big-all

    big-all

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    if we are generous and assume a 5%saving a £60 saving equates to an electric bill off £1200 a year as i suspect any consumption savings may be half that at 2.5% so lots off people must have electric bills in excess off £2400??
     
  6. ericmark

    ericmark

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    There was years ago a device that monitored voltage and used an auto transformer to maintain a lower voltage yet not allow it to drop too far, in the days of fluorescent lights having wire wound ballasts it likely did save some power, however it had a lower than 100 amp rating so had to switch off with a high load, and they did not last long before switch mode power supplies resulted in them being redundant, seem to remember made in Cheshire near the Welsh border but marketed in the South of England.

    I did do some experiments myself where we were required to light some tunnels on building of Sizewell 'B' and my boss decided better to use 58 watt 110 volt fluorescent, a quick calculation approx 0.5 amp each, 16 amp supply so should run 32 but to be on safe side made 25 unit strings of lights.

    On fitting it was not long and they were it seemed switched off, but then used the clamp on ammeter and found using over 20 amp not 16 amp, so unit on the bench and tests, and it used around 0.75 amp, however although claimed to be 110 volt actually there was a auto transformer lifting volts back up to 230 volt, and the input was 110 - 0 - 127 so easy enough to swap to 127 volt instead of 110 volt, the first 20 in string was OK but last few would fail to strike as last 5 were set to 110 volt input. On testing was down to 15 amp so yes the adjustment of voltage had saved 5 amp at 110 volt so 550 watt.

    So yes it did save power, however today we are not permitted to fit wire wound ballasts any more, so that saving is no longer the case, a 58 watt fluorescent tube today draws around 55 watt, and the output with an electronic ballast is also 10% higher in lumen, plus the high frequency gets rid of the strobe effect with rotating machinery. So a fluorescent tube lamp was considered as around 75 - 85 lumen per watt, and is now around 95 lumen per watt so in the main the same as LED input to output. However since the ballast and tube sold separate often the lumen rating and watts rating is lower and higher than really the case.

    As to boiling a kettle, energy radiators from the walls of the kettle, so the slower it boils the more power it needs, so a 230 volt kettle powered from 230 volt uses less energy to boil than the same 230 volt kettle plugged into a 110 volt supply, in theory with no losses it should take around 4 times longer, in practice it takes around 8 times longer do to losses, and yes I tried it, what I wanted was distilled water to top up batteries, so did not want it to boil too rapid as needed to condense the water again, using a tea urn, normally they were boiling within 1/2 an hour to hour after a refill, mine would take nearly 8 hours before producing distilled water again.

    See this report Wikipedia I will guess some has raked up a 20th Century report and republished it without checking, which shows how little point there is reading the papers.
     
    Last edited: 27 Oct 2019
  7. winston1

    winston1

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    You are all slamming the author of the article, but it says NW Electricity are planning to do this. I find it strange that NW Electricity don't know it won't work.
     
  8. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    As has been said, in almost all senses it is.
    As winston has pointed out, you appear to be overlooking the fact that the published information seems to derive from Electricity North West, not from the author of the newspaper article.

    In terms of your specific point, the ("so ignorant") comment about electric kettles appears to be a quote from Steve Cox, described as the Engineering Director of Electricity North West. If that is the case, we surely have something far more serious to worry about than the (only too common!) mis-understandings of a journalist, don't we?!

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  9. ericmark

    ericmark

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    I think I thought this was an add on unit, rather that the supply authority reducing the voltage. The supply authority can supply 230 volt + 10% - 6% so between 216.2 and 253 volts, micro generation has to be designed to cut out if the volts go above 253 volt or below approx 216 volt the latter is so if power cut they will auto disconnect and I am not sure of exact figure.

    So if voltage goes to high the carbon foot print is increased as they have lost the input from solar panels, so setting supply voltage on the low side could cut carbon foot print but reducing the times when solar panels auto shut down.

    This is nothing to do with using less power as the voltage is dropped but all about gaining more power when the voltage is dropped.
     
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  11. JBR

    JBR

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    I'm no expert, but this idea sounds similar to the EU's rules about reducing vacuum cleaner motor power and toilet cistern capacity.
    If vacuums are not as efficient as a consequence, we just end up vacuuming for longer, using the same amount of electricity.
    As for toilet cisterns, although not particularly wishing to discuss personal matters unnecessarily, I usually need to flush twice or even three times. That's hardly saving water, is it?
     
  12. John D v2.0

    John D v2.0

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    Not that old debate again is it!:rolleyes:
    The ppointint of vacuum cleaners is not to generate a regulated amount of heat though is it?
    If the vacuum cleaner is designed to be efficient rather than use a lot of power then people will finish just as quickly but using less energy.

    Also you need to get a better toilet, avoid the bog in a box ones. We got a duravit which flushes everything out of the bowl on the 4 litres button, let alone the 6 litre flush mandated by UK regulations.
     
  13. JBR

    JBR

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    May I please apologise for stating my opinion on this site.

    EDIT: Er... what's a ppointint?
     
    Last edited: 1 Nov 2019
  14. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    If you did, I would probably be very critical of you, and would probably feel at least a bit offended! ....

    ... other than in extreme circumstances, I don't think that anyone should ever feel the need to apologise for having voiced their opinion about something.

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  15. JBR

    JBR

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    I trust you realise that there was a hint of sarcasm in my post! :D
     
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  16. ericmark

    ericmark

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    My wife has bought two vacuum cleaners in the last few months, one is battery about as good as a chocolate fire guard, the other is 3kW and is far too high powered to use indoors, mainly used to blow leaves away. Since only just bought it seems we are allowed 3 kW how big do you want? Seem to remember one at work was 40 hp so around 50 kW and that one would suck up a house brick and you could drive it at 10 MPH while sweeping.
     
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  17. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Well, I probably thought it was somewhat more than just a 'hint' but that certainly had not escaped my attention :)

    Kind Regards, John
     
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