Voltscommissar - Electricity Industry Watchdog

Michael Gunter, medical practitioner, Green Power producer, and scrutineer of electricity industry ethics was labelled "voltscommissar" by a North American electrical engineer for daring to challenge the industry about the effect of supply voltage on electricity utility revenues.


Energy and the Environment: Clean power vs. dirty power.

Understanding what high voltage can do to your power bill

with technical references

What can we do in response to September 11, 2001?


(in Arabic and English)

Energy and the Environment:

Savvy electricity customers understand voltage:

Technical References

  1. Karlsson and Hill "Modelling and identification of nonlinear dynamic loads in power systems" from IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, Vol. 9, No. 1, February 1994. A zipped, user-unfriendly hypertext/faxsimile version is available here to download and view (838kB: unzip to a temporary folder and start with file "new-0.htm"). Wording in the abstract, and the discussion that followed, both seemed to caution the reader to use the information only for the purpose of "system stability analysis". But of course, the clear demonstration of the increased volume, and therefore cost, of electricity delivered at a higher voltage is of vital interest to the customer. A scientific paper should not try to restrict the uses to which the information is put.

  2. Electricity Week (Australia) Volume 24, No. 12 (317 kBytes Adobe Acrobat file). Two important voltage problems are extensively covered in this document: the effect of high steady state voltages on the running cost of existing appliances, and the likely increased running cost for appliances manufactured to a proposed new 230 volt standard. The synergistic effect of these changes could lead to an 18% increase in running costs, unless the regulatory authorities mandate the lowering of steady-state voltages in line with the new 230 volt appliance rating standard.

  3. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation web site has a science forum called "Self Serve Science" where a lively debate ran for much of 1999 on what excess voltage can do to your power bill. A table of contents (no frames) on the ABC site allows you to view a wealth of archived material on their discussion forum. In 2000, the voltage issue should have got a hearing in a Federal Court case A9 of 1999: ESAA and ACCC, but both parties to the court case remain tight-lipped about the arguments they will be running, and in fact the case has been postponed until March 2001.

  4. My historical voltage files dating back to December 1996 contain information which is still relevant, but the data relating to power consumption of appliances has now been superseded by more accurate and sophisticated data in the ReNew magazine article (now a downloadable Acrobat 3.0 document), and in the table of experimental results. To review the historical evolution of the voltage story, click here. Other old material presented to the ACCC is online in the June 1997 electricity issues update.)

End of page....last updated Tuesday, 23rd October 2001.