…if the utility system can’t support a Christmas display…

The following two links are about a home in Union Vale, NY in Dutchess County.  They set the world record for most lights in a residential Christmas display with 720,420 lights in the display.

Are You Going to Be the One to Get Rid of Santa?” – The New York Times



Independent of any issues raised in the article, the following comment by a neighbor stands out.

Bernadette and William Burke, who love to watch the show from their hot tub, but for years could not use their washing machine or dishwasher while the lights were on. Mr. Gay said the problem was resolved when the electric company put the Gay house on its own transformer.

Below is a table of power consumption of various XMAS bulbs. Using a back-of-the-napkin calculation, the display probably draws about 75 – 100 KVA.   Most utility transformers in residential areas are sized between 70 KVA and 150 KVA.  Below are photos from a NYSERDA report that I wrote in 2010 for the reactive power project I did for them.  Note that a transformer used to support five buildings in a Garden Apartment complex had a capacity of 150 KVA and a transformer for two buildings had a capacity of 75 KVA.  Both of these transformers operated near their capacity on a hot summer day and would far exceed that capacity with widespread installation of heat pumps.

The three heat pumps in my home will draw about 22 KW at peak load for 250,000 BTU of heat transfer in heating mode (1000 watts per ton  COP=3.52 ).  The power draw in cooling mode is about 60 % of that (600 watts per ton  COP=5.86 ).  We also have gas furnaces with an output of 400,000 BTU that will operate on extremely cold days or will operate if there is an issue with the heat pumps.

My car charges at a peak load of 14,000 watts.  I have seen loads of 38,000 watts on the power monitor at my house when I am charging the car during the winter.  When I built my house, I had a 400 amp 3phase service installed.  It can deliver 144 KVA ( 144,000 watts) at peak load and the transformer across the street is 150 KVA.  Most newer homes might have a 200 amp single phase service (40 KVA) and older homes will have a 100 amp or 150 amp service (20 – 30 KVA).

The point is that if the utility system can’t support a Christmas display, even a large one,  and allow the neighbors to wash their clothes at the same time, how is it going to support the massive load of heat pumps and vehicle charging that is being mandated.  That combination will far exceed the demand of a Christmas light display.  As I have mentioned in previous emails, every transformer in the state is going to have to be replaced or have their service upgraded as occurred at the home in the article.  The problem is that there is an acute transformer shortage along with a shortage of electricians and utilities are worried about having a sufficient number of transformers to recover after a bad storm, let alone having enough to rebuild the entire system.

Have a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2024 !  Hopefully, the lights will stay on and the CLCPA won’t negatively impact your prosperity. 

I am sending a magic wand to the Public Service Commission to help them with that endeavor because they are going to need all the help that they can get.  Since math and science have been thrown out the window in NY State, we might as well turn to the occult.


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