Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The wheels are turning

Normally, I try to keep this blog to news-worthy items or advocacy rants, but I think this be the best place to start telling my own story of how I hope to become one of the first fully-electric capitol beltway commuters (and hope the hot lanes will consider EVs as paid). Anyway, so last Thursday, I scheduled my first electrical assessment based on a cursory scan of the Washington branch of the Better Business Bureau's web site.  I say cursory because when you request a list of Electrical Contractors in my area, you get no less than 276 entries, sorted by the very arbitrary criteria of alphabetical.  You then have to scroll through the daunting list to find any electricians in your area (in a city you know to be close to yours) and then click on their BBB report to see if they have a decent rating (preferable A+, meaning few if any outstanding complaints and complaints usually settled amicably). Anyway, so I selected Benjamin's Electric, LLC for my first contractor bid, a company with an A+ rating ().  I scheduled them for after 4pm on Thursday, fully intending to leave work at 3pm.  But as 3 o'clock rolled around, my team lead started finally paying attention to the trouble I was having and instead of being able to leave on-time I ended up being held back past 4.  At 4p17 or so, I get a call from Benjamin, where I apologize profusely and lay some choice words for my team lead which I know he could overhear. So, I called Friday to reschedule the appointment for 3pm that day, left work early and made it home with time to spare.  I met Benjamin and he was quite interested in the work, but since there's very few people in Northern Virginia using Dominion Virginia Power's TOU meter and Schedule 1T rate in Virginia, it's going to be very hard finding an electrician with experience installing one up here.  But I can't resist the lure of the 1.403¢ per kWh Off-Peak price rate!  My main concern at this point is the drywall patching necessary to run the line across the basement joists, since most of my basement is finished.  Once that run's made, it's through the utility closet and up and out to the garage with my NEMA 6-50P. I'm more or less happy with Benjamin without seeing his bid but I would like to get a few more bids before I make my decision, which I'll try to schedule this weekend if possible.  I know Virginia Power is a bit confused about the TOU meters so I guess that's why Benjamin has yet to make his bid.  In the meantime I'm left with a lot of clicking on the inconveniently organized BBB web site to find the close A+ businesses that are willing to do an evaluation on a weekend.