Electricity Cost kWh TOU Time-of-Use Real Time Price Peak off-Peak pricing

(Rex Irby) #1

Electricity Cost kWh TOU Time-of-Use Real Time Price Peak off-Peak pricing - I have a found a smidgen and member “jandros” is a TOU priced customer. Most utilities are controlled by a MISO - like PJM in the midwest to east cost. These MISOs do not allow free streaming of their 5 min locational marginal pricing (LMP) electrical pricing and thus web Scraping is the only current method of getting these very important numbers since all we talk about runs on electricity.
PJM is here:
=inputXML(“http://oasis.pjm.com/system.htm","//center[7]/table[1]/tr[7]/td[3]”) – this pulls COMED Zone PML 5 Min Weighted average from the web table on this web site URL.

Researching if the SmartThings hub has ability to incorporate the above items so that I can maximize my HVAC dollars. My current HVAC thermostat is already web based and has an open API that i can send web based REST url commands to adjust the calls to the HVAC. The savings in this arena alone are anywhere from 500-2,000 per year for most users of this product.

(Eric) #2

what’s a smidgen in your context?

ST users have already integrated several thermostats but I’ve only used the one with LAN interface to Filtrete 3M50, which is similar to Radio Thermostat CT80. and CT30. What’s your Tstat?

So how do you do the web scraping in SmartThings smartapp, I don’t know but I’d expect that to be possible. Then you can use the pricing result to initiate Tstat action “routines” to reset setpoints (existing feature) for precooling, preheating, peakshaving, unoccupied, occupied.

I’m interested so I’ll be watching, so please update.

(Rex Irby) #3

“Smidgen” = I have done searches on the following with little or no results:

  1. “electric pricing”
  2. “real time” “real time pricing”
  3. TOU - nothing “time-of-use” 1 member but nothing I am looking for
  4. “Peak” and off-peak - the largest of items to scan through but no one talking about actual pricing to make dynamic decisions - likely because peak and off-peak are hard coded windows of time defined by their respective tariffs.

Mine is a Bayweb internet thermostat - www.bayweb.com - cloud based management with 3 dry contact sensors that can be added as well as X10 motion detectors - mine are no longer in use. 1 dry contact for me goes to a float contact in the sump pump well to notify of a failed pump action.

Web scraping is a way to get information off a web site and then get the changes - my need is PJM changes this price of electricity every 5 minutes for the LMP cost per 1,000 kwh. To get a streaming data service from them (PJM) means you have to be a commercial entity in the business of electricity generation and distribution. All electricity across America changes in price every 5 minutes no matter where you live, most people are not aware of the open markets that exist and how volatile they can become. Real time price customer usually save quite a bunch if they can keep their “capacity charge” under the fixed rate average. Another charge that every body pays for in their fixed rates but do not know they are paying for it in the price. Average capacity charge for a single meter residential customer is in the $20-$25 range per month, - I pay $1.60/month.

I also have a new electic SmartMeter that is ZigBee and SmartThings is not approved on ComEd’s hardware list. I sent an email to ComEd requesting status and clearance on a SmarthThings hub that would connect Zigbee and potentially be able too get a dashboard going with consumption by day, hour and real time. Current ComEd website takes about 24 hours to get the live data published for consumption. Not very live and no real time pricing is available or overlaid on you consumption charts??

Thanks for the response and further dialog!! I hope I answered your questions - Rex

(Eric) #4

I was also disappointed in the hourly and late reporting of my utility “smart” meter (BGE). Not at all useful for understanding live equipment status.

When I checked your live rate chart yesterday, I was startled to see 0.15 - 0.30+ (per KWH I assume). I guess I’d have to look at 3am to see the low rates! This service really needs a standardized stream/feed - they offer the RTP to retail customers and no automated way to handle the rates - that’s obnoxious. Everyone probably has to produce their own input rate statistics too - duplicating work for everyone. Typical hide-the-weiner.practice.

Smart meters were/are another corporate welfare plan - not for us.

(Rex Irby) #5

BGE Baltimore Gas and Electric is in the PJM MISO - not sure if you knew this. The price BGE pays for your electricity is on the chart you looked at yesterday but instead of COMED yours would be one above at BGE - as I type you are at 77.5 for 5 min LMP. that is .0775 per kWH for Fuel charge, a subset of total Energy Supply Charge (ESC) or in your tariff its called Energy Supply Rate

Here is the website that a "smidgen of us use in Chicago for real time price:

Looking at your tariff pdf at https://www.bge.com/myaccount/billsrates/ratestariffs/electricservice/Electric%20Rates%20Information%20Documents/POLR_Rates_PTC_MiscCharges.pdf

On-Peak TOU through September 2015 is $0.11701
Inter-Peak TOU through September 2015 is $0.8236
Off-Peak TOU through September 2015 is $0.8002

Not sure what your distribution charges are and other charges - my guess is capacity charges are embedded in the above numbers since they are a bit high compared to real tie pricing but inline with fixed rate customers in Chicago.

I average about a total drive-out cost (ESC + Transmission + Distribution +Taxes) per kwh of 10.5 cents
Fixed rate customers pay an average of 15-16 cents per kWh.

Remember these are 5 min prices and thus get averaged to a chargeable final hourly rate here in Chicago for the 3,500-4,000 real time customers versus 3.6 million fixed price customers. Sundays total day average was a nice low 2.1 cents/kWh (Final price on the bill would be 6.1 Delivery + 1.6 Taxes = 9.8 ) Therefore Sunday came in lower than the average as you would expect. The brutal times are 3-6 pm Weekdays, local time. The chart we have been looking at is EST.


I use a Brultech System to monitor usage in the house. It stores everything in a database that you can export to excel.

You can give it the cost of power for a period of time and it will chart your data.


I posted info on the system I use and it got banned as spam. So foolish. It claims it will be reviewed and after a few days after review it might post.

Why spend the time to contribute when this happens. When and if it does post no one will call it spam. It is a bar graph of my usage and a pie chart that shows usage in my house with cost of energy.

I hate forums like this. Just foolish

(Matt Hartig) #8

Have you thought about using day ahead pricing instead of 5 minute? While it may not be accurate as real time pricing, the analysis done to determine those prices is extremely impressive and I’m willing to argue accurate enough for many of the smartthings applications we might use it for. I believe they get posted near the end of the work day, so you would only have to pull the data once as well.

ComEd Posts their day ahead prices here:


Unfortunately I hate to say it but I don’t see individual rate payers getting “utility sponsored” local access to SmartMeter’s anytime soon mainly because of the security risks.

Also, I hate to nitpick but when referring to “MISO” in your above posts the better term would be RTO (Regional Transmission Organization). MISO (Midcontinent Independent Service Operator) is an RTO whose territory covers much of the upper Midwest.

(Rex Irby) #9

Matt Hartig -
You are correct on the MISO versus RTO - I spoke inaccurately - I get my terms backwards sometimes!!

Judgless - BrulTech appears to be pretty stagnant on their website - Google “power meter” and They are on July fourth break 2011. Found one item for sale Ebay UK for over $600? I have a Current Cost Envi out of UK and thy are a bit stagnant as well but still works on its original battery 5 years now but only cost me $120 with two magnets for the mains. It too allows a manual download CSV file but without pricing I can go to ComEd 45 days later and get that hourly data from them with usage and price. Its that real time data that is needed to be able to act timely!!

As far as day ahead prices - they are an indicator but when contingencies and constraints happen on the grid the prices go way high above the previous day predictions.

That is when my capacity charge is also at highest risk since these can easily and likely by definition move into the “Coincidental Peaks” (CP).

Here is the past situations where people have been hit with both high cost and high usage outside the predicted values by over 50 times!!: Its December 2 - post Thanksgiving, when the US puts outs Christmas decorations lights (no I am not an atheist). Predicted is 4 cents per kWH (Energy Supplyy cost only). All of sudden its dark on the East coast and something on the supply/transmission side goes wrong and now they are buying electricity from Exelon Nuclear Generation in Chicago to keep the festive lights on in Boston. Electricity now goes to 30 cents versus predicted 4. One hour later the midwest goes to night and their Xmas lights get turned on and now there is no electricity to be sent to the east coast and electricity goes to a $1.00 across the RTO. If my lights, AC, or Electric EV charging station is on during this period it would cost me the equivalent of $20 - $25 per gallon gasoline for my Leaf. If I get dinged for a “CP” event and I a using 8KW per hour, normally .3 kWh, this could take my monthly capacity charge from $1.60 per month to over $48 per month - annual cost of not watching = $46*12 = $552.

Add that on top of paying 50 cents per kWh for a chunk of time can really hurt. I guess the bottom line is Real time customers watch their electricity more than fixed rate customers and thus find the heavy loads and shift them to save money.

Access to real time data is a new concept that sends many people/survivalist into their “fraidy house” aka storm shelters, etc. Could not find my term on Google? That is what my Grandmother called them in Texas. I would be happy for now with the approved devices that let you see real time kWh consumption.

Best analogy to groceries is I want to know how much the trip to the grocerystore cost for 8 bags.
Still do not know how much each bag cost or how much each item cost in the bag. I am not even sure what I am having for Dinner??

Thanks for the insight and corrections - Rex

Have not gotten the Arduino to scrape PJM yet, Trying linux Ubuntu v12 workstation now?
Did get a first response from ComEd on SmartThings zigbee request - They are looking and will get back. Will advise.


This thread brought up some new interest in getting my system updated. It looks like there are python scripts that will send Brultech module data to OpenHAB. I could use one app to control my lights and monitor power usage.

(Rex Irby) #11

Just got the folowing email back from ComEd:

Good afternoon,

After some investigation it was discovered that the smart things/ Samsung Hub is not the correct ZigBee protocol and therefore is not compatible with SMCD.

Thank You, ComEd SMCD Team - SMCDHelpDesk@exeloncorp.com

Previous research - here is the listed protocol information I could find for the SmartMeter in Chicago area:

   ZigBee - Smart Energy Profile (SEP) version 1.1 to be able to communicate with a ComEd smart meter
          Silver Spring Networks DR Portal: 
          Silver Spring Networks AMM Portal: 4.7.9
          Silver Spring Networks 310 NIC Card Firmware: 2.14.1 & 2.16.6

Here is a link to the Zigbee official: You can get more information by reading the ZigBee Smart Energy Profile Specification Document 075356r16ZB on page 160. I (Rex) Have not read it yet.

Here is first hit “Smart energy Profile” on this board that may have appeal - here
Here is second hit - nice explanation that makes it clearer - only 1 Father per Household - here
Here is a third hit - Member: yvesracine - here

(Matt Hartig) #12

That’s a bummer, but not all that surprising. I don’t think many utilities have any intention of offering rate payers access to the SmartMeter ZigBee networks beyond the simple real time displays (similar to the three that ComEd approve).

At the end of the day it’s not really about if connecting is technically feasible, because it is. The information being logged, sent, and received over the SmartMeter networks is part of a much larger system that the utilities use to monitor and control their system. They have no incentive to allow third parties any access whatsoever to their networks, especially since regulating bodies are applying added pressure to increase security.