Southern California Edison might not be all that concerned in saving energy.

Southern California Edison might not be all that concerned in saving energy.

(Or allegedly stupid about some energy factors).

Our pool pump went out the end of 2009.  I did quite a lot of research and found out the following:

  • Two speed or variable speed pumps are required in California to save energy.  These motors are way more expensive than single speed motors.
  • Every pool supply vendor failed to inform me of that California requirement and would be most willing to sell me a single speed motor.  I was extremely surprised that the pool supply stores and wholesale outlets were not helping to enforce the requirement but allegedly flaunting it.
  • A dual speed and variable speed motor requires a costly controller/timer (The one we purchased, the Intermatic P1353ME costs about $200).
  • Our city required a permit for installing a new pool pump.  Our cost was $98. The city was enforcing the dual or multi speed motor requirement.
  • Southern California Edison gives a $200 rebate on approved pumps but watch out, there are significant exclusions which is the main point of this posting.

Here is the rough cost of replacing the pool pump with a single speed, $200 to $300 (rough material cost).

Here is the rough cost of replacing the pool pump with a dual speed, $1,000 or more if a variable speed motor is purchased. ($1000 for our electrical and plumbing materials, dual speed motor, special timer and permit cost).  I also had to pull a second neutral wire to meet code requirements and pull out two mechanical timers (one for the pool sweep).

Just by chance, I called the manufacturer of the pool motor we intended to buy because no one could tell me with any certainty the correct size pool motor.  The technical support person asked me how large was the plumbing going to the pump.  I said 3/4 inch.  He told me that you can only push so much water through that soda straw and by his calculations, all we needed was a 3/4 horse power motor of the design I had selected.  I had contacted quite a few pool supply vendors and they all were trying to sell me a 1 horse power or higher motor.  The motor that broke was a 1 and 3/4 horse power.  We had been wasting vast amounts of energy with that old brass pool motor.  The new pool motors are way more efficient as they can push more water even at lower horse power.

Now here is my point.  The politicians and utilities want you to conserve energy.  What you need to take into consideration is the often times huge front end expense involved making the change over to energy efficient systems.  I am also a bit suspicious that conserving energy is all about certain businesses making buckets of money and your only benefit might only be a decline in your bank balance.  You can see the cost difference shown above between a direct same motor replacement, single speed  vs the new required multi speed motors of about double and when you add the special timer and city permit, the cost starts to really go up.  Now you would think that the government and utilities might help the little guy a bit to soften the huge front end cost of making an energy saving conversion.  Southern California Edison did just that by offering  $200 rebate on pool motors.  The problem is they allegedly seem to have a short list of pool motors, which I can not explain, and get this, they required that you buy a 1 horse power motor or more to qualify for the rebate.  Does that make sense?

Now let me see.  I just dropped my original horse power motor from 1.75 to less than half of that and I purchased the required dual speed motor which is way more energy efficient and expensive.  I did my civic duty and pulled a permit for the work and it was approved.  But, I get no benefit from SCE for making the energy conversion and providing the rather large energy savings.   SCE should require a matching of pool motor performance flow to the pool plumbing pipe size.  They don’t seem to get the point that vendors are pushing pool motors that are over sized, allegedly due to ignorance or wanting to make more profit.

Now looking back, I figure I could have purchased a 3/4 hp single speed motor, kept my original pool timer and saved even more money by not pulling a permit or reworking my electrical and plumbing.  The cost savings would be about $800.  By putting in a new more efficient motor with lower horse power, I still would be way more energy efficient than before my old motor died.   Southern California Edison, allegedly, just does not get it and neither did I when this all started but you are now the wiser for my mistake.

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April 15, 2010 I used the Southern California Edison web site portal to send the following message:

“Our pool motor quit.  I purchased a Pentair Whisperflow 3/4 HP two speed motor, model WSDS-3 012530 on 11/17/2009.  It was delivered a few days later.  It took weeks to install as I did the plumbing and electrical work myself.  The motor, being two speed, required me to purchase and install a special controller, Intermatic P1353ME, to run the high / low  speed motor and the pool sweep motor.  Our total cost approached a thousand dollars.  The city inspector signed permit February 8, 2010.  I have looked at your web site and I do not see the pool motor, we purchased, listed.  My research showed the motor I purchased as being the best, most recommended by installers and very efficient.  Is there any way I can qualify for the $200 rebate?”

My computer screen showed this image after I sent the message:

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The Contact Us computer image said they would send me a respose within 2 days.  It also stated that if the subject requires specialized knowledge, it might take longer.  Look at your calendar and calculate how many days it has taken from April 15, 2010.   We received NO ANSWER!

Note: This blog post went up July 4th.  We believe we waited long enough for Southern California Edison to respond before we shared this issue with the general public.  It is not our purpose to embarrass but to improve our society.

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