The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Smallholding => Equipment => Topic started by: Red on May 27, 2011, 07:14:02 pm

Title: Electricity Supply advice needed
Post by: Red on May 27, 2011, 07:14:02 pm
We are trying to sort out an electricty supply to our smallholding, we have power lines overhead and a breaker union - so far we have been led to believe that we can only get the connection done via YEDL or Yorkshire Electricity - were in the west / north yorkshire border ... the quotes are just mad and one has doubled in the space of 6 months! and their timescales for installation are up to 4 months ... does anyone know if we have to use these companies? is there anyone else that someone can recomend? and any general advice gladly recieved ...

thanks red ??? ??? ???
Title: Re: Electricity Supply advice needed
Post by: waterhouse on May 27, 2011, 11:43:12 pm
Its a monopoly and the power companies don't see a need to compete.

Sometimes the costs they charge are so stupid that it's worth looking at the costs of a s/h diesel generator and a battery/inverter pack. Depends how much power you're going to need.
Title: Re: Electricity Supply advice needed
Post by: Norfolk Newby on May 28, 2011, 09:32:03 am
Farms and small holdings are regarded as businesses and you have to go on a business tariff. This means - probably - paying a fairly large amount each month based on the peak load to require (kilowatts). This is to ensure that the supply is big enough to cope. In effect you are renting this supply equipment. Then you pay for the amount of electricity used as normal.

This means you can have a fairly hefty bill all the time even if you only use electricity once or twice a year. For example in a drier in the Autumn for wheat or hay.

With the large connection charge, a generator might be better. You can hire one if the used is only for a limited period - say a week - and this can be cheaper. If you need electricity fairly often, consider a diesel powered generator. Then you can use red diesel which means the consumption is less than with a petrol engine and the fuel is cheaper.
Title: Re: Electricity Supply advice needed
Post by: waterhouse on May 28, 2011, 11:04:23 am
If its mostly lighting you need rather than power and you go the generator route then running the generator only occasionally and using batteries and an inverter will lower the running costs dramatically.
Title: Re: Electricity Supply advice needed
Post by: Red on May 29, 2011, 08:01:55 pm
Thanks for this advice - it is a nightmare trying to get a quote from independent companies as we are too small for them ... we've thought about generators but we will have 5 boats which will need electric on a regular basis ... so its looking more like raiding the bank ... thanks for the advice  ;D
Title: Re: Electricity Supply advice needed
Post by: Plantoid on May 30, 2011, 12:56:11 am
Perhaps cost solar panels and wind genny's  pumping power into a decent battery bank say 20x 12 volt x 100 amp  ledger batteries and a quality inverter to bung it back to 240 where needed.  You say four boats.. couple them to their systems ??

Change your lights to 12volts  LED's same with TV and as much other gear you can inc the fridge .

 If you run a genny get the biggest and best you can afford three or more cylinder jobby's being best .
 You might need an uninterupted power supply ( aka power back up unit ) for your computer for the batteries in it will smooth out any spikes or cyclic variations of your supply .

A simple single cylinder diesel will eventually shake itself or the alternator to bits for they run at fairly high speeds if the alternator is directly connected to the engine rather than a pulley belt drive  .
You will usually  need  to regularly decoke the exhaust silencer if it is a diesel   and have to have set run hours servicings , so a working hour meter is a must.
 You will also have to consider the  sound produced & how to quieten it when the genny is running. A well  built concrete block house sound proofed lined geny shed & roof on six inch reinforced floor slab is a start  but be aware of vibrations  in the ground being felt elsewhere especially in dry weather when thing become a lot more sonarous.

I used to be a mechanical / electricial engineer and had a large fleet of genny's etc to keep running  quite a lot of my customers were small holders runnig twin cly Listers pushing anything from  4  to 10  kva alternators .

One thing I did find of benefit to my customers was to convince them to use " Slick "  engine additives to teflon coat the internal moving parts of the engines to reduce friction and thus fuel costs.

Perhaps also consider the type of start up ,  electric start is good when you have a bad back and if the genny is running the house  a light switch start up in side the home is good ...flick the switch and the genny starts ..brill when it is minus 14 oc outside , blowing a hoolie , pitch black or lashing it down with rain.
Title: Re: Electricity Supply advice needed
Post by: waterhouse on May 30, 2011, 10:58:58 am
This is what I like about this forum: there's always someone who's done it.
Title: Re: Electricity Supply advice needed
Post by: Red on May 31, 2011, 08:25:36 pm
Thanks that is great advice! We are now doing serious research into the genny idea and after speaking to 15 independant contractors for the electric connection, 7 suggested genny route as the YEDL has the monopoly on all jobs!!! any more advise gladly recieved ... thanks ! ???
Title: Re: Electricity Supply advice needed
Post by: Red on July 07, 2011, 09:48:45 pm
Finially got this sorted out - after several quotes for gennies and looking into running costs is actually roughly the same cost at the electric instalation ... just waiting for an instalation date now - thanks for all of the advice  :wave:
Title: Re: Electricity Supply advice needed
Post by: tobytoby on July 08, 2011, 11:28:47 am
You should ask initially for a cost breakdown, for the tracking & connections. If you ask them for the spec for cable depths, you could dig the track, lay cable/warning tape & backfill, and get the power company to do the connections.
I am currently getting charged £670 to connect up 1 lighting column in Cumbria, they have a monopoly but there is nothing stopping you in completing some works yourself. One major issue in price rises is the cost of copper for the cabling.
Title: Re: Electricity Supply advice needed
Post by: Red on July 08, 2011, 08:26:02 pm
Hi Tobytoby - thanks for the advice - we need the cables to run over 300 meters and need 2 meter boxes - we;ve managed to get the cost down by digging the trench ourselves otherwise there is no way we would be able to afford it! it has certainly made me more aware of how much electrcity we use for things that we really do not need like leaving the odd light on ... oh yes as has we are a registered business even though we really don't make any money as yet we have to go on business rates!!!