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Thread: Campsite power consumpation in Lockdown - more than we expected

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    Campsite power consumpation in Lockdown - more than we expected

    Our County campsite like others is currently closed down; we have a couple of service crew & some gap year students living on site forming a lockdown family (and an amazing job they are doing in keeping the site maintained and secured). It is a big site with around 25 buildings with electric power.
    We have turned every light we can, turned off fridges, freezers, water heaters - and yet the site as a whole is still pulling around 8 Kw 24x7 continuously, e.g 200 units a day.

    So we have been looking into where this power is going - and based on some internet research came up with these candidates:
    Fire alarms - operation + backup battery charging - 8 buildings
    Emergency lighting - battery charging
    Access control systems & Maglocks - operation + backup battery charging - 11 buildings & activities covered
    Data network & Wifi repeaters
    CCTV system - DVR & cameras
    Office computer & phone systems
    Site radio charging
    Cable Losses in the lengthy internal underground power cable system

    We have invested in systems such as replacing key locks & padlocks with access control to reduce the sheer number of keys we had to keep track of; with 60 acres of site with a public footpath running through it CCTV is essential...

    Based on rating plates and some internet research and some assumptions we came up with a base load of about 2.2Kw -- long way from 8Kw
    We do have several chest freezers - with 10 hungry people living on site, they are used!

    Are we missing something else?

    Interested to hear from other campsites if you are seeing the same hidden lockdown costs.
    A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room. Baden-Powell

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    I don't run a campsite so this may be off

    Looking at your list i'd say 2.2kw would be reasonable. Chargers in most of those items and the alarms, ip network etc is all designed to be on 24/7 and low power a few watts or so, same with cctv, pc, phones
    Even chest freezers a few 100w or less

    The only real way is to safely shut down/power down each building and unplug everything (if you can) watching to see if you get a sudden drop which might identify a culprit. Once they are all off you should have zero usage but if its still clocking up then something is still on.
    Culprits i can think of would be water heaters, hand dryers, background or other electric heaters.

    If when everything is off it is at zero use then bring each building on at a time but try not to turn on anything in that building to see if you have a fault and see if there is something connected in a building you don't know about. I suspect you'll find a heater or floodlight you don't know about.
    Dave Ralphs
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    DofE Advisor & District Exec Member - Oxford Spires District
    http://yarntonscouts.org.uk/

    I work for O2, any posts are my own personal views & do not represent O2

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    One thought - could the thermostats on one or more of the freezers have failed, resulting in them being always on?

    That or the students have got a hidden cannabis farm!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dralphs View Post
    The only real way is to safely shut down/power down each building and unplug everything (if you can) watching to see if you get a sudden drop which might identify a culprit. Once they are all off you should have zero usage but if its still clocking up then something is still on.
    Culprits i can think of would be water heaters, hand dryers, background or other electric heaters.

    If when everything is off it is at zero use then bring each building on at a time but try not to turn on anything in that building to see if you have a fault and see if there is something connected in a building you don't know about. I suspect you'll find a heater or floodlight you don't know about.
    Agree - each building probably has a distribution board so you can isolate them one at a time with someone monitoring the meter. If you don't find the "culprit" that way then you need to consider isolating the outgoing feeds from the main inlet that feed the buildings (hopefully there is a main switchboard and not lots of armoured cables twisted together :-) ) since you may find that one of the cables calls in somewhere you are not aware of or is actually feeding a neighbouring property!
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    That seems very high. Fire alarms should be very low usage, as should emergency lights. If buildings aren't being used at all you could potentially turn emergency exit lighting etc off.

    As others have said, it's time to go to the distribution board and turn circuits off to see if you can identify the culprit. To my mind it sounds like something is heating or cooling. Is there a big immersion heater for a shower block? Or air conditioning in a building?

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    Freezers should be intermittent so if your 8kW is constant, it's not them. 6kW excess sounds like some form of heater - are there any background tube heaters to stop pipes freezing. Otherwise it's the switch off and gradually switch on as above.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    In our hall we have the range of always on monitoring kit... but it is the freezer and fridges that are the biggest single consumers by far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul o View Post
    In our hall we have the range of always on monitoring kit... but it is the freezer and fridges that are the biggest single consumers by far.
    We had gas central heating so no electric heaters... The fridge was pretty new (the old fridge probably drank power) and we had sensor lights in the corridors, toilets, kitchen and stores... we did have Wi-Fi and cctv running 24/7... but that and the fridge were about it when the hall wasn't in use. The building when empty would run about 0.25-0.5kw if we didn't have anything charging.

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    Couple of questions:

    Are the individual buildings fed from a single main supply or each have their own mains grid supply?
    Are the individual buildings sub-metered?
    Are you taking the c.200kWh/day from manual meter reads or supplier invoices?
    Is your main incoming supply on a half-hourly/smart meter?

    I'm an Energy Consultant by day (not the horrible procurement side of energy) so hopefully can provide some insight. Data is key!
    Turning everything off and then slowly on again is a great idea but not knowing the size of each building, you may be there a while.

    I have a national bar/nightclub client who are currently averaging 100kWh a day and are mostly in the same boat with a few fridges/freezers, CCTV, chargers, fire alarms, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adamswright View Post
    Couple of questions:

    Are the individual buildings fed from a single main supply or each have their own mains grid supply?
    Are the individual buildings sub-metered?
    Are you taking the c.200kWh/day from manual meter reads or supplier invoices?
    Is your main incoming supply on a half-hourly/smart meter?

    I'm an Energy Consultant by day (not the horrible procurement side of energy) so hopefully can provide some insight. Data is key!
    Turning everything off and then slowly on again is a great idea but not knowing the size of each building, you may be there a while.

    I have a national bar/nightclub client who are currently averaging 100kWh a day and are mostly in the same boat with a few fridges/freezers, CCTV, chargers, fire alarms, etc.
    The site has a single 3 phase intake connected to the onsite board transformer; it is then distributed to about six 3phase sub-distribution boards, each connected by an average 100m of underground SWA cable; then there is further mostly underground cables to the final DBs. In total there are about 40 distribution boards so switching off individual circuits is a fairly tedious job. No sub-metering; The 200kWh reading is taken from the onsite board smart meter.
    We have invested a considerable amount over the last 10 years replacing some dodgy homebrew electrics, old distribution boards without RCDs (leading to whole site trips when a bulb blew,...), and undersized cables; though we still have one major building fed on a long single phase aluminium cable which ideally needs replacing... Running a campsite is not all about mowing the grass
    A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room. Baden-Powell

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnL View Post
    The site has a single 3 phase intake connected to the onsite board transformer; it is then distributed to about six 3phase sub-distribution boards, each connected by an average 100m of underground SWA cable; then there is further mostly underground cables to the final DBs. In total there are about 40 distribution boards so switching off individual circuits is a fairly tedious job. No sub-metering; The 200kWh reading is taken from the onsite board smart meter.
    We have invested a considerable amount over the last 10 years replacing some dodgy homebrew electrics, old distribution boards without RCDs (leading to whole site trips when a bulb blew,...), and undersized cables; though we still have one major building fed on a long single phase aluminium cable which ideally needs replacing... Running a campsite is not all about mowing the grass
    Sounds like a pretty huge site to be honest - 8kw split between 40 distribution boards is only an average of 200watts running on each board - or a couple of old fashioned light bulbs connected to each board.

    Do you have any floodlights coming on at night? A few 500W halogen floodlights will soon clock up the units. Do you have streetlighting on the roads around the site or in the car park?

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    It is a big site with a lot of activities - normally in use 50 weeks a year so we have quite a lot of external lighting (most of which is now LED as is much of the internal lighting), so we can use activities on weekday evenings for example but that has all been switched off.
    Latest thought is that some of the total daily consumption is we do have a couple of electric showers which of course eat electric...

    Thanks to all for your suggestions- much appreciated
    A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room. Baden-Powell

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnL View Post
    It is a big site with a lot of activities - normally in use 50 weeks a year so we have quite a lot of external lighting (most of which is now LED as is much of the internal lighting), so we can use activities on weekday evenings for example but that has all been switched off.
    Latest thought is that some of the total daily consumption is we do have a couple of electric showers which of course eat electric...

    Thanks to all for your suggestions- much appreciated
    Have just put 2+2 together based on the location in your profile - yes I can imagine you do get through a fair amount of electricity there!

    I assume the showers are being used by those still resident on site - but surely that shouldnt account for such a huge amount of power? We used to have electric showers at my old work and we certainly didnt get through that sort of quantity of power.

    Are you sure the warden / one of the students isnt running a portable air conditioning unit in their accommodation 24/7?

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnL View Post
    The site has a single 3 phase intake connected to the onsite board transformer; it is then distributed to about six 3phase sub-distribution boards, each connected by an average 100m of underground SWA cable; then there is further mostly underground cables to the final DBs. In total there are about 40 distribution boards so switching off individual circuits is a fairly tedious job. No sub-metering; The 200kWh reading is taken from the onsite board smart meter.
    We have invested a considerable amount over the last 10 years replacing some dodgy homebrew electrics, old distribution boards without RCDs (leading to whole site trips when a bulb blew,...), and undersized cables; though we still have one major building fed on a long single phase aluminium cable which ideally needs replacing... Running a campsite is not all about mowing the grass
    I would suggest asking your supplier to provide raw HH data for a period you deem suitable (likely from when you closed to now). You can use this to see if the consumption is either just a high baseload or operational consumption.
    You can then determine how much of the consumption is baseload and how much operational and then target it.

    Of course, happy to run your data through our reports and provide you with visualisation and analysis.

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    Do you have any pikeys as neighbours? Have first hand experience of that sadly.

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