Has anyone been hassled by their electric company.

Fixer_24_7

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Sep 4, 2023
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Iowa, USA
I've had 4 60 watt panels for the last 25 years that I used for a couple of projects and currently they just run an attic fan. Lately I've been thinking of getting 4-5 Kw of panels, a LV6048 or similar Off Grid inverter and 1 or more 48V-100Ah batteries to supplement my electrical needs. Maybe start with a couple mini-splits.

I DO NOT want to grid tie, I don't want the hassle of dealing with Alliant Energy in North Central Iowa. I'm worried that Alliant will see I have numerous solar panels and want to investigate to see if I am playing by their rules. If Alliant Energy shows up at my house is it as simple as them looking at the inverter and knowing its incapable of back feeding in the grid or are they gonna want me to upgrade my service or anything else they deem necessary? Being the inverter is hooked to utility power for the battery charger will they consider it tied to the grid?

If anyone has had experience with Alliant or has had experiences with Off Grid inverters and their utility company I'd like to hear your experiences and advice.
 
All that you have to do is show them the spec sheet. To prove that it's not capable of exporting.
Which an off grid AIO cannot do.
 
I asked my lineman about this when they were hooking up a new meter. He honestly said “whatever happens past this meter is your problem”. So I work very hard to keep my solar my problem…
That’s kinda how my POCO looks at it. I back feed once about 200 watts total (not per hour) for 2 days One weekend. My Schneider SW4024 didn't like being in AC Support mode and Load Shaving mode at the same time. Every time the microwave surged on it back fed the grid for a few watts. The poco new right away (digital meter) and showed up on Monday.

They looked around, saw I had panels, said, "oh you have solar " and drove off. They didn't care.

I never permitted the system, and there is no interconnect agreement. But I make sure I don't use those settings together anything more.
 
The poco new right away (digital meter) and showed up on Monday.
They looked around, saw I had panels, said, "oh you have solar " and drove off. They didn't care.
I never permitted the system, and there is no interconnect agreement. But I make sure I don't use those settings together anything more.
Is your power company FPL or another ?
 
I've had 4 60 watt panels for the last 25 years that I used for a couple of projects and currently they just run an attic fan. Lately I've been thinking of getting 4-5 Kw of panels, a LV6048 or similar Off Grid inverter and 1 or more 48V-100Ah batteries to supplement my electrical needs. Maybe start with a couple mini-splits.

I DO NOT want to grid tie, I don't want the hassle of dealing with Alliant Energy in North Central Iowa. I'm worried that Alliant will see I have numerous solar panels and want to investigate to see if I am playing by their rules. If Alliant Energy shows up at my house is it as simple as them looking at the inverter and knowing its incapable of back feeding in the grid or are they gonna want me to upgrade my service or anything else they deem necessary? Being the inverter is hooked to utility power for the battery charger will they consider it tied to the grid?

If anyone has had experience with Alliant or has had experiences with Off Grid inverters and their utility company I'd like to hear your experiences and advice.
From my experience, Alliant doesn't really care as long as you don't backfeed. Your meter should be a smart meter, they changed all the meters here a few years ago. They will know immediately if you do backfeed.

Biggest issue is Iowa adopted the latest NEC as soon as it came out. This is not DIY friendly with the UL9540. I had my system before this was adopted. It is possible your insurance may not cover a loss if you did not the electrical inspection done by the fire marshal's office.
 
I asked my lineman about this when they were hooking up a new meter. He honestly said “whatever happens past this meter is your problem”. So I work very hard to keep my solar my problem…

When I setup my shop and had the "electric company" come out I asked if he wanted to see any of the electrical setup in the shop. He said the same thing to me, after this meter it is not my problem.
 
Biggest issue is Iowa adopted the latest NEC as soon as it came out. This is not DIY friendly with the UL9540. I had my system before this was adopted. It is possible your insurance may not cover a loss if you did not the electrical inspection done by the fire marshal's office.

Can you expand on the not DIY friendly with UL9540?
 
I've had 0 issues...
Started the journey mid Oct 22.
Dryer went off the grid 9/1 when the bigger inverter was commissioned.
3rd array was added last week. I hope to make it through Sept and Oct with 0 grid, I'm doubtful about Nov-Feb.
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Many power utilities have already or are in the process of changing out to smart power meters. With smart power meters there is a report generated if you push power to grid.

You are more likely to get hassled by your homeowner's insurance if they do an inspection of your house.
 
Waiting for this myself.

“We noticed you went from 40-50kWh per day to, uh, less than one”
When I first got married we lived in an 8'x40' travel trailer. The heat did not work when we moved in, around Nov I got it fixed. Now this is darn near 40 years ago so I don't remember the costs, but they sent out a guy to read the meter twice to make sure it was correct. It went sky high. They then sent a guy out to say if you need there is assistance available, that is one sure way to get me to growl and my hackles to stand on end.....he also said we could work out a payment schedule.......we dipped into savings and paid it, and worked on other ways to heat the trailer.
 
Yes, if you suddenly have a large, unusual drop in consumption for several months that may trigger an examination of tampering with meter. They do assume a one month abnormal consumption might just be caused by a long vacation trip.

Old meters used to have a clip inside that looked like a master link on a bicycle chain. Scamming trick was to use side cutters to clip the anti-tamper tag wire loop as deep under the plastic tab as possible, remove meter and open the meter operational link. Meter would not spin when clip was opened and tamper clip wire was put back into the plastic end like a safety pin.

They got wise to that trick and told meter readers to give the tamper tag a tug to see if it popped open like a safety pin.

No, I never did this, but as a kid, the guy across the street showed me the trick on his house meter.
 
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