Campground power?

Discussion in 'WMSTR Water and Light' started by RickW, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. RickW

    RickW WMSTR Lifetime Members WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Is there anybody here (Vern...?) that could describe to me the architecture of the power distribution on the grounds, particularly in the campground area? for example, does one big ephing cable make a run of the place with breakers at the site outlets, or are there some intermediate distribution points where say, a 400A circuit is divided into 20A circuits before making a run to a given segment of the place?

    I ask, because I heard some rumblings again this year about blowing expensive fuses, and I'm pondering the possibility of a real-time monitoring/load limiting system. Might be handy to be able to pull out one's phone and see where the power is going at any given moment, and while there's always gonna be complainers, I'd expect that most folks would rather have power cut for 5 minutes at a time as opposed to a couple of hours...
  2. M Kerkvliet

    M Kerkvliet WMSTR Past President Administrator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    That is a question that is difficult to answer because it covers so many facets...

    Without going into a lot of detail, the show grounds are fed from 11 different power distribution centers scattered throughout the show grounds. We have 11 metered accounts.

    Each of those transformers has a distribution panel nearby that sends the power different places on the show grounds. Most are near maximum load or overloaded during the show. A couple of them have become problematic... the most problematic being the OK Coral campground.

    When the campgrounds first started, there were not all of these fancy big campers with one or two air conditioners, microwave ovens, and everyone brings an electric heater along because why would you burn your own LP gas for your furnace (if it works) if the electricity is "free"! Lately more and more residential refrigerators are sitting beside older campers where the old technology RV refrigerators have quit working.

    The mindset of those who are not aware of the limitations of our infrastructure is to turn everything on and expect it to work! It all works that way in our own homes after all!

    If we would spend out entire annual budget on electrical infrastructure upgrades, say somewhere close to $200,000... we could improve on some of the week links in the chain. Certainly if we did that for 3 or 4 years, but then there is the problem with our power supplier. We have taken down their sub-stations on more than one occasion. If our system could handle everything our members could throw at it, the power supplier would likely have something fail on their end. They are not excited about spending millions of dollars on system upgrades so that they could sell us more power for 5 or 6 days a year. We actually use as much power as a small city during the show.

    We all need to work on reducing consumption out there, especially during the show. In the past, we have shut campground power off on purpose during the day while the show grounds proper us using a lot of power.

    There will have to be talks at Board level sometime in the future as to how to reign this problem in a bit. I am not sure what the answers are... but in the near term everyone needs to switch all appliances they can over to gas the week before the show and leave them that way. In my opinion, residential refrigerators need to be banned. They "newer" frost-free models are huge energy users.

    Any other ideas would be welcome!
  3. RickW

    RickW WMSTR Lifetime Members WMSTR Lifetime Member

    It's truly a difficult problem--one blending both material limitations and personal behavior issues. As one who tents it in visitors' camping, I claim innocence ;)

    On balance though, I think we're probably in a decent spot. A 'fridge with stuff in it suggests that somebody's planning to come back, which is a needed thing.

    I posed the question because I work at a place two hours north on 32 that does a lot of business with electricity-related stuff, and would like to better understand the issue in the hope of being able to help solve it to one degree or another. Rollag is a group of volunteers that self-organize in clusters of related interests, and in that sort of organization there's usually a fair bit of low-hanging fruit to be picked. I'm offering to provide glasses to help us better see that fruit.

    And I hope, someday, to have a 'fridge and a roof at Rollag. I'd gladly pay for the electricity. Having a known spot to crash there on a summer friday, work like a dog on saturday, and leave in time for church on sunday would be a joy to me. I expect to provide that for myself, but I'd be pleased to accept a camper key and an open invite from a friend. Because Rollag has become my Happy Place, and I want to help ensure that both the people and the place will be there for me when I need them...
    Jerry Christiansen likes this.

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