[EN] How a grid operator in România is making you pay for the electricity you never consumed
I have not publish anything lately and a lot of things happened from getting a photovoltaic energy production system connected to a new three phase line, to making more than 4000 km with my Zoe in one month.
But today I want to tell you about an energy theft, a theft that is affecting many people in România and possibly also in other countries in Europe. Is that kind of theft that is very hard to discover and extremely difficult to prove and took me a lot of time and a lot of discussions with people way smarter than me, to understand how is this possible and why nobody is actually doing anything to stop this kind of abusive behavior.In România, as in many other countries, for the electricity you have a grid operator, that is responsible for your physical access to the grid and all the stuff related to this including energy measurement, and an electricity supplier that issues invoices to you and bill you for the electricity you consume. You can change your electricity supplier but you cannot change your grid operator.After I have installed my solar system I discovered two interesting facts:• The measuring device installed by the grid operator is counting energy regardless of the direction in which this is flowing. Yes, you have read this correctly, regardless if you consume or supply energy to the grid they charge you for that energy.• The consumption registered by the grid operator measuring device is far greater then the consumption registered by my internal measuring device. And by "far greater" you need to understand that in my case I`m talking about around 180 kWh in 43 days.To be clear, my system is operating in the presence of the grid by I'm not actually injecting active power to the grid (because they will charge me for this energy regardless that I'm actually giving this energy for free), so is configured for ZERO feed-in. And according to data captured by the inverter and my internal measuring device, ZERO feed-in it is.Now the big question: why the grid operator device is registering so high consumption?My first thought was that I have not setted my system correctly and somehow I'm injecting active power to the grid.I have checked all the settings without finding anything wrong, I have searched on the Internet and in the end my wife found out that on some forums people that have installed the same measuring device as the one installed by my grid operator are complaining about unusually high consumption recorded by this devices. I'm talking about a measuring device produced by a Turkish company called LUNA, the device type is LUN23. Images credit: LUNA LUN23Next big question: how do they do it? How a grid operator is making me and other people like me pay for the energy that we never consumed?The answer come from one of the smartest people I know: harmonics or THD - Total Harmonics Distortion.Every device that consume electrical energy emits harmonics. This normally have the 3, 5, 7, up to 12 times the base frequency (50Hz in Europe) but have very low intensity, not enough to cause any damage or influence other devices - except the grid operator measuring device. In some cases this are negligible, in case of a solar inverter this can be a high as 3% of the energy produced, this is totally normal, there is nothing wrong with the inverter or any other electronic equipment, is just that the grid operator neglected to install a messuring device that is not affected by the THD. And the funny part is that at least in România they are required by law to install measuring devices that are not influenced by harmonics. But what law can stand in a way of a quick and easy profit, right?The problem is that this is not affecting only the person that has the solar inverter or the equipment that is generating harmonics. Is actually affecting all the people connected to the same transformer, people that have installed the same mesuring device without harmonics protection. The closer you are to the person emitting the harmonics, the more affected you are.In the end you end up paying for electricity you never consumed, for the electricity that was never produced and I`m 100% sure that the grid operator is doing this intentionally and the autorities know about this kind of practics. After you install your solar system you end up paying actually more for your electrical energy, you will most likely tell other people and this is how the grid operator is making more money and in the same time is discouraging people that want to install their own photovoltaic systems.I have brought this problem to the attention of the grid operator - SDEE Transilvania Nord - and also to ANRE (the authority responsible for regulation in the energy sector in România) and their response was somehow „are you sure you are not responsable for this? Because if you are, you are puting the personal of the grid operator at risk”, and they refuse to investigate further regardless the fact that according to their procedures the measuring device needed to be verified by an independent lab.Most likely I will need to go to court to solve this, but untill then I stil have some ways to fight this and the most important one is to tell you and others like you how your grid operator is cheating.Please share this material and leave a comment below, maybe you have similar experiences.Published by Marius Şerban at 22:55 on 01.11.2019 [EEST]