Mike Holts Comment:
Response No. 1:
Response No. 2:
Response No. 3:
Question of the Month - 03/06/2003
TVSS devices are, by and large, designed to do one thing: protect downstream equipment from voltage surges and spikes. Typically, they serve this function quite well by shunting excess voltage-to-ground until the transient has passed. We've tried to obtain information substantiating the energy-savings claims that some TVSS manufacturers make, but so far, we haven't gotten any practical explanations from them. And, in the case of one manufacturer, the statements we've seen in the company's marketing materials only serve to reduce the credibility of its claims. That manufacturer's Website states that its devices "filter out thermodynamics" and "reduce the resistance on all electrical equipment." Needless to say, thermodynamics is a branch of science, not something that can be filtered out. And the resistance (or, more properly, impedance) of any piece of electrical equipment is a characteristic fixed by the materials its components are made of and the way in which those components are interconnected. No explanation is provided on how the product would alter any equipment's impedance.
Most likely, such claims serve to raise the prices charged for TVSS equipment as compared with comparable equipment from vendors that don't make energy-savings claims. Before investing in TVSS equipment in hopes of saving energy, we suggest shopping around to be aware of any price premium.
In addition, it wouldn't be hard or particularly expensive to set up credible testing at an independent laboratory to evaluate energy savings resulting from the use of TVSS devices. If the companies claiming that their devices will yield energy savings had conducted such testing and it supported their claims, one would expect the test results to be widely advertised on their Websites and in their marketing materials. No mention of any such testing is made.
Instead of credible circuit-specific test results, all we've
seen are guarantees of energy savings based on comparisons of month-to-month, whole-facility
electricity bills. Evaluations of overall energy savings are notorious for their imprecision.
There are so many variables that can and do affect electricity consumption at a given
facility over time that accurately ferreting out the impact of any one variable typically
requires the development of a sophisticated regression model that takes all relevant factors
into account. The variables might include weather, production level, changes in the use
or design of the facility, changes in production techniques, vacation schedules, or changes
in other energy-consuming equipment such as lighting or HVAC systems. (And this is by
no means an exhaustive list.) Therefore, on a whole-facility basis, it would require a
lot of time, energy, and resources to accurately evaluate energy savings from a TVSS device
or to prove that it had not provided the promised level of energy savings.
Response No. 4:
I had the second customer fax me information that the vendor
had left with him. One of the things that the vendor asked this customer for was his account
number and the last four digits of his Tax ID.
Response No. 5:
Response No. 6:
Yet they can make claims to lower energy costs, not to mention
replacement costs. There are, as you know, many issues that arise when you have transient
voltages. Equipment filters need to dissipate this energy, which is ultimately heat. Some
manufacturers use longer line cords to allow for transient voltage suppression. This ultimately
causes a voltage drop, and in effect costs you money. So even though we may not see our
meters slow down, we are already victims of a higher consumption to permit our equipment
to run somewhat unaffected by the transients that are in all of our utility supplies as
well as present in our residences when our dishwasher runs.
Response No. 7:
Last but not least, utilities across the country have rebate
programs for credible energy savers; i.e., high-efficiency air-conditioning, T8 lighting,
etc. This claim has been around 25 years and I have not seen a rebate, even though if
it did work, it would apply to all customer types.
Response No. 8:
We all know that TVSSs clamp overvoltages to ground, so cannot
save money on electricity. They CAN however save you from throwing out your electronics
in the junk heap after a transient, which I guess (in a way) can save energy from not
having to go out and buy another one!
Response No. 9:
Response No. 11:
Claims like 'filters out thermodynamics' sounds like someone flipped through their old physics book until they found a word no one understands. And the claim to guarantee a 20% energy savings made me want to buy one just so I could collect on the warranty. The only way to achieve this kind of energy savings would be to lower the voltage. I went back and re-read their claims and my guess is that is exactly what they are selling. If power varies as the square of the voltage then you can achieve a 20% power reduction by reducing the voltage approximately 10%.
Electrical equipment varies as to how they would react to a reduction in voltage. Some equipment may operate OK while other equipment would have significant reductions in performance and others could even experience serious overheating in the wiring or equipment itself. This product may incorporate some technology, such as phase shifting or triac switching that would alleviate these problems in some specific types of equipment; however, I cannot imagine anything that would work on all types of electrical equipment.
I could check into it further to see if they have really come
up with something new and innovative that would work in at least some types of applications,
but I am not going to so. Their ad is so full of snake oil BS-type claims that I don't
believe there is one chance in a million they have a product that I am interested in.
This ad is going in the same place as all the ads I receive for losing weight fast and
making big money fast - straight to the recycle bin.
Response No. 12:
Response No. 13:
The only other way to "save" electricity with a TVSS
would be to shunt less of it to ground. This would, of course, defeat the purpose of the
TVSS as the less energy shunted to ground, the more energy passed to your critically protected
loads. Sales and marketing is a wonderful profession, is it not?
Response No. 14:
However, looking at the vendor's Website does not offer any
technical information on how these devices save electricity. They do offer guarantee by
a third party to refund your money if it does not save the energy they claim. There is
an attempt to explain how saving is accomplished, but it sounds like a first-aid trainee
trying to masquerade as brain surgeon, using technical words in a way that shows clearly
that they do not understand the meaning of the word. In general, the Website lacks any
technical depth to explain even how the fast clipping surge arrest is made, which is the
primary claim. Either these guys do not know what they built because they reverse engineered
some other product, or it is a truly snake-oil job with nothing substantial in the boxes.
Response No. 15:
They also claim to save money by "reducing the resistance on all electrical equipment and lights provides increased operating efficiency." I do not understand how the TVSS unit can reduce resistance of the load. In basic circuits, the load is the resistance. It just doesn't make sense. You could reduce the resistance of the wire and therefore reduce power losses, but a TVSS unit wouldn't do that. Also, the TVSS is a "passive" unit. How could it "actively" alter the load? As far as I can tell, it can't.
Now, a power conditioner can save money by giving the loads
a purer power supply, thereby making the loads use of power more efficient. This would
also extend the life of the unit, which is claimed on the Website. But a typical TVSS
unit is not a power conditioner and only activates when the incoming power exceeds a preset
limit. There are other claims and things about the Website that are questionable, including
the 20% savings guarantee. As far as I can tell, the product cannot do what it claims.
If someone else knows where my thinking is wrong or has facts I don't, I'm ready to listen.
Response No. 16:
Response No. 17:
What rip-offs! I look forward to your having the REAL goods
to expose these charlatans. Thanks for your information and leadership in the field.
Response No. 18:
Regarding the guarantee of 20% energy savings or they will
pay - you have to sign up for their guarantee for two years. After two years, you have
to send all receipts and energy records to file a claim and prove that you saved energy,
which is not feasible, and probably not possible. They can always say you just used more
energy because of other reasons. Daily energy usage does not measure right over the years,
since weekends fall on different days of the month each year.
Can a surge suppressor actually save energy? There are only
two ways I can think of that could happen: (1) If it prevented power surges through the
meter that you would be billed for, and (2) If it prevented the damage of an electrical
device that caused it to use more energy. I personally don't believe it.
Response No. 19:
Response No. 20:
Ener/Tech provides a written warranty that its equipment cuts electrical (kWh) usage 20% or more. Filters out thermodynamics, which are heat causing, voltage-stressing elements from the power line. Reducing the resistance on all electrical equipment and lights provides increased operating efficiency, and as a result uses less energy.
'...Filters out thermodynamics...' (?). 'Reducing the resistance on all electrical equipment (?). Reducing the resistance would increase the power. A little matter of I ēR here. With a decrease in resistance, the current increases proportionally. I squared increases as the square. Net increase in power.
We could pick this one apart pretty easily. I can't see ever
having enough data to collect on their guarantee. It reminded me of the 'free power' video.
Did you ever watch that one? How embarrassing.
Response No. 21:
The FTC has really cracked down on the TVSS crowd - you will
like their letter.
Response No. 22:
Response No. 23:
But they both continued to claim that they were great and that
I could go see one in action. I eventually measured two in operation. Neither did anything
to reduce energy usage, as I predicted. It's easy to measure because you can turn the
TVSS breaker on and off with meter connected. Snake oil - dont waste time on it!
Response No. 24:
Response No. 25:
But, a diode has a resistance in the reverse direction ("blocking"
direction). No matter how high a resistance it has, it still allows current to flow. Lets
say our energy wasting TVSS allows 100 mA to flow at 120 volts. It uses 120 x .01 = 1.2
watts, or 120 x .01 x 24 x 30 = 864 watt-hours per month, or, 0.864 kWh per month.
Response No. 26:
Response No. 27:
Deon Roberts (985-254-7828) a staff writer with the Daily Star (newspaper) in Hammond, LA is conducting an investigation of "Ener/Tech, the manufacturer of the TVSS branded Redi-Volt. This company is in their circulation area.
Our company filed a complaint with the State of Florida some months ago against the local Orlando dealer and little has come of it. The local sales representative continues to make unfounded claims and tries to sell the Redi-Volt products using that as his sales tactic. The worse part, the Redi-Volt product is not even a good quality TVSS device and it is sold at a very inflated price.
I know of several large companies that have been contacted
and our company has been involved in exposing the lack of truth in their claims. I would
be happy to join in any industry effort to get these scam artist/crooks out of business.
They give the power quality industry and those associated with genuine effort in that
regard a black eye.
Copyright © 2003 Mike Holt Enterprises,Inc.