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All across the Great Western territory => The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom => Topic started by: Bmblbzzz on October 12, 2021, 08:47:44 pm



Title: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: Bmblbzzz on October 12, 2021, 08:47:44 pm
The RMT are warning:
Quote
RMT Press Office:

RMT warns that electricity price hike threatens to destroy rail freight and jack up dirty diesel use.

RAIL UNION RMT warned today that a 200% increase from Network Rail on electricity charges to rail freight operators risks wrecking the industry while jacking up the use of diesel on both rail and road – making a nonsense of the Government's CO2 targets.

General Secretary Mick Lynch said:

“As COP26 approaches the Government have to step in to stop this carnage on our railways.

“With the road haulage industry already in turmoil, and with the threat of empty shelves this Christmas, we should be encouraging the use of rail freight not battering it into submission with electricity charges that will add millions of pounds to rail freight companies’ bills, with one operator reporting an £8M increase in costs.

“It's a nonsense that it will be far cheaper to run dirty, polluting diesel units rather than the clean electric alternative. The government cannot wash their hands of this and must step in to support the green rail option before it’s too late.
https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/electricity-price-hike-threatens-rail-freight/

I'm not sure why freight in particular?


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: stuving on October 12, 2021, 11:39:31 pm
The RMT words refer to "electricity charges to rail freight operators", saying they will suddenly be tripled, which does stretch one's credulity a bit. This rate was set for 2021/22 by this letter sent out in March 2021 (https://www.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/EC4T-Freight-tariff-letter-2021-22.pdf).

Anyway, if you read down in the letter it says the rate for electricity used is 9.991p/kWh. various distribution costs and additional charges are added to that, but not as a fixed rate. For charter operators these are fixed at the system-wide average, and add  2.434p to give 12.425p/kWh.

So what is going on? Given the upheavals in energy prices (notably for gas) one might expect an emergency increase, though not of that size. But the wording of the letter does appear to rule that out - the price is "locked" by NR's supplier. So has that supplier had gone bust? Anyone heard anything? I have read the supplier is EDF, claiming NR is only given nuclear power, so it's obviously not literal bankruptcy here.


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: broadgage on October 13, 2021, 11:50:22 am
I expect that the wholesale cost of electricity will about double, due largely to the increased gas price.
However diesel fuel is also increasing in price, only modestly so far, but I expect further increases.

I suspect that electricity meters will soon become a network rail requirement for new or refurbished electric locomotives and multiple units.


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: Electric train on October 13, 2021, 11:53:58 am
Network Rail has a contracted tariff with its electricity supplier, certainly in the SE most of the electricity used is derived from renewable or France


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: TaplowGreen on October 13, 2021, 12:11:20 pm
Network Rail has a contracted tariff with its electricity supplier, certainly in the SE most of the electricity used is derived from renewable or France

Blimey if it's from France it'll probably be cut off soon judging by the way Macron is foaming at the mouth!  :D


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: stuving on October 13, 2021, 12:36:29 pm
I suspect that electricity meters will soon become a network rail requirement for new or refurbished electric locomotives and multiple units.

Network rail have operated a metered traction power service for ten years. There is a standard metering data interface, and users are charged for power consumed plus an addition for distribution costs and losses. The alternative is for power consumption to be worked out based on simulations, using the same distance and load data as for variable track charges.

I can't find any data on how much traction power is metered, but I expect the simulated rates will be set a little high, which will encourage its use.


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: stuving on October 13, 2021, 12:42:45 pm
There are now some comments on Twitter from the usual suspects confirming that the EC4T rates have been suddenly increased - but no more detail yet.


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: bradshaw on October 13, 2021, 02:20:17 pm
Freightliner to withdraw ALL electric traction due to increased rates

https://www.railmagazine.com/news/network/2021/10/13/freightliner-to-withdraw-entire-electric-fleet
Also more on Twitter


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: stuving on October 13, 2021, 02:41:41 pm
Freightliner to withdraw ALL electric traction due to increased rates

https://www.railmagazine.com/news/network/2021/10/13/freightliner-to-withdraw-entire-electric-fleet
Also more on Twitter

That refers to "a steep rise in wholesale electricity prices of more than 200% between September and October". So this is not the "locked tariff" notified in the NR letter I linked to yesterday. Here is a paragraph from that NR letter:
Quote
Under the terms of Network Rail’s contract with its electricity supplier, train operators that expect to use more than 450,000 kWh in a railway year are able to lock the energy commodity tariff for their forecast amount of consumption, if they wish. If they do not wish to lock their own prices then the default rate will be the month ahead rate and will be locked by Network Rail a few days before the start of each calendar month.

In other words, these are operators that have chosen to pay the spot market rate for their electricity. No doubt in "normal" times this is cheaper than a rate locked for a year or so, but that saving comes with risks. And now there is a flock of chickens heading roostwards.


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: eightonedee on October 13, 2021, 02:42:38 pm
Over to Grant Shapps to explain this in the context of the Government's green agenda.....


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: broadgage on October 13, 2021, 03:54:27 pm
Freightliner to withdraw ALL electric traction due to increased rates

https://www.railmagazine.com/news/network/2021/10/13/freightliner-to-withdraw-entire-electric-fleet
Also more on Twitter

This I find shocking, and rather surprising.


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: TaplowGreen on October 13, 2021, 04:05:40 pm
Freightliner to withdraw ALL electric traction due to increased rates

https://www.railmagazine.com/news/network/2021/10/13/freightliner-to-withdraw-entire-electric-fleet
Also more on Twitter

This I find shocking, and rather surprising.

What would you suggest they do as an alternative?


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: broadgage on October 13, 2021, 05:36:46 pm
Freightliner to withdraw ALL electric traction due to increased rates

https://www.railmagazine.com/news/network/2021/10/13/freightliner-to-withdraw-entire-electric-fleet
Also more on Twitter

This I find shocking, and rather surprising.

What would you suggest they do as an alternative?

If I was in charge, I would have considered carrying on with electric traction, and advertising this.

"Look at our commitment to the environment, we are using green electricity, despite dirty diesel being cheaper"



Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: broadgage on October 13, 2021, 06:09:50 pm
Despite the increase in electricity costs, I find it very surprising the diesel power is cheaper.

Electricity for railway traction is reportedly charged at about 12.5 pence a unit.

Red diesel is currently available at about 75 pence a liter, in bulk, delivered.
Diesel fuel consumption of a diesel generator is about 200 liters per MWH. Or about 5 kwh per liter.

That is 15 pence a kwh from diesel fuel, presuming good efficiency, a more pessimistic estimate might be 20 pence a unit for electricity from diesel.
Cant find relevant figure for diesel locomotives, but the figures for diesel generators should be comparable since the engines are of similar size, worked under somewhat similar conditions, and all modern locomotives use electric transmission.

12.5 pence a unit is still less than 15 or 20 pence a unit.

Electric locomotives should also save on maintenance, though this is harder to quantify.


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: stuving on October 13, 2021, 06:21:37 pm
That is 15 pence a kwh from diesel fuel, presuming good efficiency, a more pessimistic estimate might be 20 pence a unit for electricity from diesel.
Cant find relevant figure for diesel locomotives, but the figures for diesel generators should be comparable since the engines are of similar size, worked under somewhat similar conditions, and all modern locomotives use electric transmission.

12.5 pence a unit is still less than 15 or 20 pence a unit.

That price was the year's "locked" rate. Presumably the spot market rate six months ago was a bit below that. The quotes suggest that market rate has tripled.

A quick poke at Google comes up with this graph, showing daily market rates in £/GWh (divide by 10 for p/kWh). These FOCs are being charged via NR at a rate fixed monthly for a month, which presumably has been behaving a bit less overexcitedly than the daily one.
(https://www.catalyst-commercial.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/day-ahead-power-11.10.21-1024x523.jpg)

There are further data, e.g. on just wind-powered electricity, on the same site (https://www.catalyst-commercial.co.uk/wholesale-electricity-prices/).


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: broadgage on October 13, 2021, 06:30:18 pm
Does anyone know what network rail are charging for traction current AT PRESENT, I thought that it is 12.5 pence a unit, but stand to be corrected.


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: stuving on October 13, 2021, 07:47:12 pm
Does anyone know what network rail are charging for traction current AT PRESENT, I thought that it is 12.5 pence a unit, but stand to be corrected.

That's the rate for operators that have chosen to pay the fixed rate. Some have not, and are paying a market-based rate. They pay via NR either way, as they in effect operate the distribution network.


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: broadgage on October 13, 2021, 08:02:20 pm
In that case, the fixed price should be cheaper than diesel power.

The variable price, is variable but could well be more expensive than diesel power at times, I would be very surprised if diesel remained cheaper than electricity for any significant time.


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: Electric train on October 14, 2021, 08:46:29 am
I suspect that electricity meters will soon become a network rail requirement for new or refurbished electric locomotives and multiple units.

Network rail have operated a metered traction power service for ten years. There is a standard metering data interface, and users are charged for power consumed plus an addition for distribution costs and losses. The alternative is for power consumption to be worked out based on simulations, using the same distance and load data as for variable track charges.

I can't find any data on how much traction power is metered, but I expect the simulated rates will be set a little high, which will encourage its use.

yes using spot market charges possibly suits FoC's there use of electric traction is not as predictable as a ToC where their energy use is much more predictable so they are able to negotiate favorable tariffs with an energy supplier.


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: Bmblbzzz on October 14, 2021, 01:32:10 pm
The RMT words refer to "electricity charges to rail freight operators", saying they will suddenly be tripled, which does stretch one's credulity a bit. This rate was set for 2021/22 by this letter sent out in March 2021 (https://www.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/EC4T-Freight-tariff-letter-2021-22.pdf).
It says "a 200% increase" which might be journalese for "doubled". Or am I being unduly cynical?  :o


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: PhilWakely on October 14, 2021, 02:07:40 pm
The RMT words refer to "electricity charges to rail freight operators", saying they will suddenly be tripled, which does stretch one's credulity a bit. This rate was set for 2021/22 by this letter sent out in March 2021 (https://www.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/EC4T-Freight-tariff-letter-2021-22.pdf).
It says "a 200% increase" which might be journalese for "doubled". Or am I being unduly cynical?  :o

Have I got the wrong end of the stick, but it appears that somebody has their maths wrong  :-[  A 200% increase is equivalent to 'tripled'


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: Bmblbzzz on October 14, 2021, 02:51:43 pm
The RMT words refer to "electricity charges to rail freight operators", saying they will suddenly be tripled, which does stretch one's credulity a bit. This rate was set for 2021/22 by this letter sent out in March 2021 (https://www.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/EC4T-Freight-tariff-letter-2021-22.pdf).
It says "a 200% increase" which might be journalese for "doubled". Or am I being unduly cynical?  :o

Have I got the wrong end of the stick, but it appears that somebody has their maths wrong  :-[  A 200% increase is equivalent to 'tripled'
I'm saying that journalists often misuse figures and mathematical expressions, occasionally deliberately but often through ignorance or carelessness. Thus if the information is "the price has doubled", this might sometimes be reported as "a 200% increase". I'm not saying this is what has actually happened here, as I haven't seen the prices, just reacting to Stuving's comment about the rise "stretching one's credulity".


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: PhilWakely on October 14, 2021, 05:57:15 pm
Freightliner to mothball its electric lomotive fleet (https://www.railfreight.com/railfreight/2021/10/13/freightliner-takes-down-electric-locs-due-to-high-electricity-prices/)


Title: Re: Electricity price rise threatens rail freight?
Post by: stuving on October 14, 2021, 06:25:06 pm
If you look at the graph of wholesale market rates per kWh (https://www.catalyst-commercial.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/day-ahead-power-11.10.21-1024x523.jpg), it was 7p early in the year and slowly rose to 10p by August, which is the same as locked rate for the year. Since then it has been higher and more erratic, spiking up to 54p for a day, then down to 16p before another lower spike.

So one factor in producing the very high rate being charged to "unlocked" FOCs is the way NR fix this rate based on the daily rate on one day. Normally that doesn't make much difference, with small gains and losses that average out in the longer term. This month it has produced a rate much higher - perhaps double - than it would have been a few days either way. This is obviously an artifact; the general rise is really there in the market.



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