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Author Topic: Maybe it's time you upgrade your home fuse.  (Read 1311 times)
RIT
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« on: May 02, 2019, 01:58:15 PM »

I've just started the process of trying to upgrade the DNO provided fuse (60A) to whatever the line can support (80A or maybe 100A). As my supplier will also have to upgrade my meter tails this is all going to take time. My reason for doing this is to start to prepare for EV charging at some point in the future. This will also need my 1970's 6 way, 60A CU upgraded, which will be a project in its own right.

Talking to my DNO it seems that up until a few years ago they were charging for the fuse upgrade, now it is a free site visit and then a free upgrade visit, where they may also replace the service head if they see a need (my energy supplier will be charging for the tails work). It seems that the DNO dropped its fees due to the need to upgrade things to support EVs over time, so much so that they even have a specific job code for EV targeted upgrades to allow long term planning.

Why do I say that you may want to upgrade now, rather than in the future? Well, how do you think the DNOs are going to handle things once such requests multiply in a few years when EVs become mainstream, there is only so much they can do by changing the tapping on the local transformer and all the underground cabling has fixed limits. For my estate where everyone most likely had 60A fuses installed, I very much doubt that the original power cabling was laid with the expectation of such increases and that's before a good few additional properties have been added since.

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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2019, 02:38:08 PM »

I think you've hit a large nail, squarely on the head there. Given the expansion of numbers of EVs and the probable changeover from Gas to Electric heat, the peak electric demand from houses is going to go through the roof. Well before the country can commit to no gas boilers, and no FF powered cars, there will be the need to improve an awful of local grids. Which will be a major project in its own right.

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RIT
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2019, 02:58:37 PM »

I think you've hit a large nail, squarely on the head there. Given the expansion of numbers of EVs and the probable changeover from Gas to Electric heat, the peak electric demand from houses is going to go through the roof. Well before the country can commit to no gas boilers, and no FF powered cars, there will be the need to improve an awful of local grids. Which will be a major project in its own right.


It's not the peak demand as that will be handled by time of use tariffs, but more what diversification rules do DNO's operate under? We can read the rules for the home, but for the network as a whole, its all unknown and I can only guess what the DNO's private views of seeing millions of 3 or 7 kW being deployed across their current residential network. At some point, I can see fuse upgrades being badly 'delayed' until a consensus is formed between NG, DNO's, Ofgem and the government of the day. I can't see this being a quick process and it seems better to plan not to get stuck in the middle.

New(er) estates should not have this problem as I would hope that the correct local infrastructure is put in place to supply the possible future demands. The last time I look around a new home (3 bed, detached) it had a 100A as standard, but my current home is from the 1950s with coal being its designed major energy source. The house I was born in was from the early 1960s and used oil as its major energy source (no idea on its fuse size), The 4-bed house I then grew up in was built in the 1970s and also only had a 60A fuse as gas was the major energy source.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 03:08:14 PM by RIT » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2019, 03:27:15 PM »

I think my neighbours will be cross with me in a few years when they get round to installing an ev charger or pv. I have 2  x 7kw chargers and 10kw of pv, both of which may restrict what else can be installed locally.
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2019, 03:32:58 PM »

When I moved into my house it was fed off a 5kva transformer! I now have 2no  3 phase supplies, one with a 100A fuse and one with a 60A or 80A. Two different suppliers so they had different ideas of what size to fit.
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2019, 04:23:22 PM »

Get in there early.. I was quoted a 2 month lead time just to do a PME conversion survey (not even the work, just the initial survey).
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RIT
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2019, 04:31:22 PM »

Get in there early.. I was quoted a 2 month lead time just to do a PME conversion survey (not even the work, just the initial survey).

So far I've been quoted 2 weeks for the DNO site visit to look at the service head. My supplier for the tails work has so far CC'ed me into internal emails stating the following

Quote
Please endeavour to perform the change on or about the 01/01/1901.

So they are a little behind schedule or I'm going to have to wait until they fixed their computer system.  extrahappy
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2019, 07:25:11 AM »

It's not the peak demand as that will be handled by time of use tariffs, but more what diversification rules do DNO's operate under?

It varies a lot, but typically the local networks were planned for an ADMD (after diversity maximum demand) of something like 1kW per dwelling (excluding developments planned around electric heating). We've done some work looking at the effect on ADMD of heat pumps https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.07.026 , which is a paper I contributed to in partnership with the recently late Colin Gleeson**, and there's various bits of work ongoing in various places (UCL, Reading, etc) on looking at the effect of heat pumps and EVs on ADMD and other grid constraints. In summary, it's all manageable, as long as we plan thoughtfully. The DNOs are evolving from being reactive asset-sweaters into pro-active DSOs with their own research workstreams, so there are reasons for optimism.




** A couple of words on Colin, if you'll indulge me. He's someone I was very fond of. We could say things to each other that I'd never say to any other colleague at work. We laughed together raucously at outrageous things. He was also exceptionally kind, gentle, and generous. Of the time and energy he had left after his final terminal diagnosis, he did what he could to help his PhD student finish. He was about my age, and like me he came to academia late in his career: he worked in the building trades first, and worked his way through, seeking ever deeper knowledge and rigorous thinking, until he found a new home in universities.   Anyway, the long and the short of this is that I realise and I celebrate how lucky I am to spend so much time with so many brilliant, kind people; and how much I treasure these people, and others like them, for their gentleness, their wisdom, and, in Colin's case, his deeply inappropriate, rude, belly-laugh-inducing humour too.
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2019, 08:55:25 AM »

We use about 6500 kWh of gas and just under 1900 kWh of electric (I say just under because its impossible to measure PV export power atm)

So yes, switching away from gas and towards EVs is most likely impossible. It potentially requires doubling or trebling electricity power - even with bigger cables there won't be enough power stations, especially if we decommission all the gas power stations!!

We are totally addicted to oil for travel.......there maybe trouble ahead.... Grin

-Paul
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2019, 09:12:30 AM »

We use about 6500 kWh of gas and just under 1900 kWh of electric (I say just under because its impossible to measure PV export power atm)

So yes, switching away from gas and towards EVs is most likely impossible. It potentially requires doubling or trebling electricity power - even with bigger cables there won't be enough power stations, especially if we decommission all the gas power stations!!

We are totally addicted to oil for travel.......there maybe trouble ahead.... Grin

-Paul

The actual amount of additional electric I predict will be miniscule. What people forget is all the energy used in converting oil into Petrol and Diesel. We also curtail over capacity of both wind and solar to allow a minimum generation level for gas. This over capacity will get far greater as wind and solar penetration increases. Obviously the surplus could be used in power to gas schemes but its far more efficient for the surplus to be used direct in EV's.
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2019, 10:30:39 AM »

That's a good point John,

EVs could absorb excess renewable energy, at night or a sunny/windy day plugged in at home or work.

I think the National Grid will need dynamic load controls - to increase or decrease consumption automatically to balance generation.

Possibly small 3 cylinder plugin hybrids are a good transition, allowing say 10 years for the UK to switch from oil to electric.

Paul
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2019, 10:53:28 AM »

1kW per dwelling doesn't sound much....

Andrew, your warm hearted tribute to your friend made me smile. Sorry for your loss.
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2019, 11:01:58 AM »

Possibly small 3 cylinder plugin hybrids are a good transition, allowing say 10 years for the UK to switch from oil to electric.

Nah, hybrids are over, really. There just isn't time left for intermediate fossil-fuelled stuff. Hybrids and fracking are both worse-than-useless distractions from the urgent and drastic climate mitigation now needed.

And yes, the switch to EVs is perfectly feasible. We're talking about an increase in average electricity consumption of about 9GW, based on current travel patterns. And as for building the required generation, well, that could happen at just as fast a rate as EV take-up (let's call it 1GW increase per year). That's only additional capacity of 3GW of PV, and either 4 GW of onshore wind or 2 GW of offshore wind, each year. Something we're entirely capable of doing, if we choose it.
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2019, 11:15:12 AM »

azps,

Hybrids would be 'over' if the likes of Toyota weren't running misleading adverts of course.......

Regards

Richard
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dimengineer
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2019, 11:51:09 AM »

I think you've hit a large nail, squarely on the head there. Given the expansion of numbers of EVs and the probable changeover from Gas to Electric heat, the peak electric demand from houses is going to go through the roof. Well before the country can commit to no gas boilers, and no FF powered cars, there will be the need to improve an awful of local grids. Which will be a major project in its own right.



The reason I posted was that in the last couple of months my Mother in Law has had to swap from a Gas Boiler to an Electric boiler. Old boiler, bad location, location no longer compliant with the regs.
So, in place of an 18kW gas boiler, she's now got a 9kW electric boiler. Thats 35A or so. For many people thats whats going to be needed instead of a gas boiler - unless ASHPs come a long way PDQ. GSHP are only viable if you've got a big garden.
That 35A is not going to be for a few minutes - in cold weather it'll be for prolonged periods. Multiply by an estate full of houses, or a block of flats, and it gets interesting.
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