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An Electrical Question for the Experts

Posted by TomR on June 12th, 2000 11:05 PM

My home has 2 electrical meters. One is the normal one, rated at 200a, and the other is what my utility company refers to as an off-peak meter, rated at 100a. Each meter has an associated breaker panel. The off-peak meter has a timer, and from 1:30 to 7:30 each weekday, from April to October, it is shut off. Nothing hooked up to itís panel gets any juice during that time. For the rest of the year, the off-peak meter shuts down from 1:30 to 4:30 each week day. It does not shut down on weekends and holidays.

Items on the off-peak meter are much cheaper to run than on the normal meter. However, besides the limited operating time, only 240v two-phase items are allowed. Currently, we only have the water heater hooked up.

There are many items I would like to put on this service to save money, including the C/A, pool pump, dryer, and even the stove and heat. However, many of these items might be needed even during the off-peak times. I am looking for a way to have these items on the off-peak, but have them automatically switch to the "normal" side when off-peak is not available.

I know during the Y2K scare, hardware stores were selling similar devices for generators, but they were manually controlled devices, and required a very large plug for the generator. I know computer systems can employ UPS (Universal Power source) which use battery backups to allow for safe shut-down of systems, but I do not think I need a backup battery to span the momentary time between power sources as they are switching. My ideal system would detect the shutdown of the off-peak service, automatically switch to the normal side, and then back to off-peak when it comes back on line. It should also not cost more than my house. Any ideas?

Thanks for reading.

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