Brace for another SMECO rate hike

In the latest newsletter delivered with our electric bill is an article advising that SMECO expects to request another rate hike at the end of April to take effect in July 2022. Ugh! Not surprising considering the price of fuels these days, but it is annoying that we were only energy independent for a very short time before things took a sharp downward turn on January 20, 2021.
 

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blacklabman

Well-Known Member
You may not.

I think the distribution charge is to cover the cost and maintenance of the grid. I've haven't paid only wattage usage charge since my solar panels were installed almost two years age, but I pay for the grid because I use wattage when the "sun don't shine".
 

Clem72

Well-Known Member
If I may ...

It's about that time they start reducing that "distribution charge" to counter the increases in the power rates.
Distribution charge could be cut in half if SMECO would enter the modern age and bury the power lines. But that would end up with them laying off a majority of their work crews due to lack of work, and since they are a COOP there is no real profit motive like a corporation would have driving them to make the most economical decision.

And don't feed me a line of bs that it's more expensive. There is no way it costs more to put a plastic pipe in the ground than it does to replace a pole.
 

Clem72

Well-Known Member

Irrelevant. First of all, it's not nearly impossible as premised in that video, a great deal of this country has been on buried cable for decades. My entire town had it in the 60s. Second, it doesn't matter if it costs more because it happens so infrequently.

They have to repair one or more lines servicing my area in Leonardtown on at least a weekly basis. If it storms, there will be several breaks, every time.

The only time I was affected by a power outage due to a "break" when I lived in California, AZ, and Texas was when lighting hit the service box for our subdivision.

I went the entire 8+ years I lived in AZ without a single power outage, at all. No one needed to own/maintain a generator. Here in SOMD it's like the damn philippines, need to have backup power everywhere because you can't rely on the grid for anything critical.
 

Paul Wu

New Member
Irrelevant.
So, the topic of this thread it about SMECO's rate increase, yet your solution is to raise the cost per mile for a 64kV line from $285,000 per mile to $1.5 million per mile ? That math isn't very good.
Not all lines are 64,000 volts. The higher voltage lines go from $390k per mile to $2 million per mile. Lower voltage lines such as 7kV to 20kV won't be quite $1.5 million per mile, but, you still have a considerable higher base cost for installation and maintenance.
Who pays for that ?
 

Kyle

Ultra-MAGA
PREMO Member
Some of those transmission lines to much higher than 64k and in-ground goes from problematic to impossible.

There are 130k & 230k lines around here and 500k lines up and down the coast.
 

OccamsRazor

Well-Known Member
So, the topic of this thread it about SMECO's rate increase, yet your solution is to raise the cost per mile for a 64kV line from $285,000 per mile to $1.5 million per mile ? That math isn't very good.
Not all lines are 64,000 volts. The higher voltage lines go from $390k per mile to $2 million per mile. Lower voltage lines such as 7kV to 20kV won't be quite $1.5 million per mile, but, you still have a considerable higher base cost for installation and maintenance.
Who pays for that ?
That's a WHOLE LOT of numbers. Can I assume that you mean to say it is more expensive to bury the existing overhead lines? If so, wouldn't the cost be recouped in the perspective upcoming years on maintenance-free service compared to the multiple service calls every year now?
 

Sneakers

Just sneakin' around....
If so, wouldn't the cost be recouped in the perspective upcoming years on maintenance-free service compared to the multiple service calls every year now?
I have to think the pencil pushers have already done all this math over and over, and if it were cost saving, they would have done it already. That's why new communities have underground, it's planned in from the start.

A lot more than just wires. Underground bunker for transformers/maint hardware, right-of-way purchases, homeowners that don't want their front yard ripped up....
 

Sneakers

Just sneakin' around....
Whenever I think of underground high tension power cables, I immediately have visions of manholes blowing off like in NYC.
 

Clem72

Well-Known Member
I have to think the pencil pushers have already done all this math over and over, and if it were cost saving, they would have done it already. That's why new communities have underground, it's planned in from the start.

A lot more than just wires. Underground bunker for transformers/maint hardware, right-of-way purchases, homeowners that don't want their front yard ripped up....

That's exactly wrong. SMECO is a 501(c)(12) tax-free not for profit organization. Their #1 priority year over year is maintaining income levels and keeping their buddies employed, they don't care if it would be 50% cheaper to operate with buried cable, they DO care that a good number of their friends and family employed as linemen would be out of a job.

Do your local government folks care if the city/county is running as efficient as possible? Or do they care if they are employed tomorrow and continue to make as much or more money than they did the year before.

SMECO runs more like a local government office than like a for profit corporation.
 

Sneakers

Just sneakin' around....
That's exactly wrong. SMECO is a 501(c)(12) tax-free not for profit organization. Their #1 priority year over year is maintaining income levels and keeping their buddies employed, they don't care if it would be 50% cheaper to operate with buried cable, they DO care that a good number of their friends and family employed as linemen would be out of a job.

Do your local government folks care if the city/county is running as efficient as possible? Or do they care if they are employed tomorrow and continue to make as much or more money than they did the year before.

SMECO runs more like a local government office than like a for profit corporation.
Holy carp.....
 

Paul Wu

New Member
That's exactly wrong. SMECO is a 501(c)(12) tax-free not for profit organization. Their #1 priority year over year is maintaining income levels and keeping their buddies employed, they don't care if it would be 50% cheaper to operate with buried cable, they DO care that a good number of their friends and family employed as linemen would be out of a job.

Do your local government folks care if the city/county is running as efficient as possible? Or do they care if they are employed tomorrow and continue to make as much or more money than they did the year before.

SMECO runs more like a local government office than like a for profit corporation.
Well Clem, why not use your electrical engineering skills for something good. You seem to think you have all the answers to solve all our energy needs here.

https://www.smeco.coop/careers/job-listings

Your comment about local government has nothing to do with this discussion. Perhaps you should try to keep things in line with the topic.
 

Clem72

Well-Known Member
Well Clem, why not use your electrical engineering skills for something good. You seem to think you have all the answers to solve all our energy needs here.

https://www.smeco.coop/careers/job-listings

Your comment about local government has nothing to do with this discussion. Perhaps you should try to keep things in line with the topic.

I'm retired, I don't ever plan to do anything more strenuous in the future than greet people coming into walmart.

And I don't know if that was snark or not, but I was an electrical engineer. And not the type we have today that only have a degree. When I was first hired you needed the be NSPE licensed.
 

Clem72

Well-Known Member
And you don't understand why SMECO just doesn't go out and bury everything ? Wow. That's sad.

It's not sad, it's accurate. There's a reason why most places that have a commercial business running the power company bury their cable, and why podunk "co-ops" do not.

Oh yeah, and it's also the damn law in Maryland for any new installation since 1968..... That's right, they figured out more than 50 years ago which option is better.
 

Paul Wu

New Member
It's not sad, it's accurate.

You complain about high bills now, but think it's a good idea for them to spend a few hundred million to bury everything in Southern MD.
In the long run, adding extensive costs for maintenance and repair. Which, will end up being passed on to us in one way or another.
And, you boast your elite engineering background only to fail at grasping the idea and extensive costs involved with this idea which any competent electrical engineer would easily understand.
Um, ok.
 
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