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Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.

Posted by Richard Ellis 
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Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
11 December, 2018 11:35
For anyone who has boats on IWAI shore power please be advised that all power bollards were disabled today.

Does anyone know if IWAI has a view on this, or if there has been any discussion with WI re same.

I appreciate that WI have suffered from instances of "electricity theft" and would condemn that outright, However, judging by the amount of boats "plugged in" on any jetty over the Winter months I would have though the sale of electricity would in fact have been revenue positive for WI (even with some leakage), so I cannot see the commercial sense in removing a much used service from legitimate waterways users. It seems to be an overly heavy handed solution to penalise the law abiding majority because of the guilty few.
We for one have left our boat in the water with the intent of using it over this Winter, but the removal of power certainly will curtail our possibility to leave the Marina for extended periods and enjoy some of the fabulous cruising that can be experienced in the winter months. In addition, it seems a bit unfair that those who have paid winter moorings in the belief that there would be power on public jetties to run dehumidifier etc to unexpectedly have the power pulled. I accept that Winter power was always on a "reasonable endeavors" basis and if it failed there was no guarantee it would be repaired. However, the experience up to now has been that there was a very strong likelihood that the bollards would continue to operate throughout the Winter months.

So, back to my original question at the top of the page, I would appreciate if someone could enlighten me as to IWAIs official view on this and if there has been any prior knowledge or discussion with WI around the planned disconnection. I would be very disappointed If our organization had been aware of this intent and did not actively campaign to have the power retained during the Winter months.

Rgds
Richard Ellis


Virginia Lady
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
11 December, 2018 12:08
This is not a new policy, the same was done last year, so should not come as a surprise to anyone. Notification was posted on the WI Marine Notice website and copied by Coli n on the IWAI forum site.

Tm53
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
11 December, 2018 14:48
Greetings,

While not in any way wishing to defend the WI position, I thought it might be useful to try and guesstimate some of the figures involved. I learned the other day that this kind of back-of-an-envelope estimation is called a Fermi Approximation, first described by the great nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi – but that’s by the way.

WI Charges 1 unit on a smart card for 2kWh of electricery. A ten unit card is €6.35 so €0.635 for 2kWh or say €0.32/unit.

The cheapest rate for domestic purposes I can find on line is about €0.19/unit. Now granted maybe WI have negotiated a better deal with the ESB or SSE or whoever but let’s go with that for the moment.

On the face of it, that gives them a gross margin per unit of €0.13 but I know that WI wholesale those cards for about 1/3 less than they retail. So in reality, they are getting about €4.25 for a 10 unit card or something like €.021 per unit. So their gross margin is maybe 2c/unit.

You could make the case that you should then deduct from that the overhead costs of administering the production and sale of the cards and the depreciation on the network of power-points and maybe some other stuff but let’s leave that aside because they need the cards for the SEW locks and the power-points themselves are a sunk cost.

If you say an electrician is paid about €21 an hour (that seems to be about right according to the interweb) then they need to sell 1050 units to pay the wages of a 1 hour service call.
In reality, a service call is likely to take longer than 1 hour, what with travel and all that. Call it two hours. And then you have the cost of the travel itself, spare parts cost and the overhead costs associated with managing the electrician. I would think in reality your service costs are about twice the hourly rate.

So €21/hr x 2hrs x 2 (for overhead etc) = €84 for a service call.

So now I’m at 4200 units they need to sell to pay for 1 service call.

I can only use my own boat as a benchmark but year round we use about 1200 units mostly for the de-humidifier so if we are talking about the 4 winter months that would be about 400 units. So on that basis WI would need to have at least 10 vessels plugged in with de-humidifiers or the equivalent running continuously to pay for one service call.

It’s just a SWAG (another name for a Fermi Approximation) but if I was a manager in WI I could easily see myself being convinced that it was cheaper to turn the power off.

If you look at it the other way, say there are 100 vessels tied to WI jetties for the winter, plugged in, using power at the same rate as I indicated that’s:

100 x 400 = 40,000units @€0.02 margin per unit = €800.00 if I’m doing my sums right.

What’s the chances of a single outage or piece of vandalism wiping out a good chunk of that? We know that has happened in the past.

As I said in the piece in IWN recently, I have spoken to WI managers who, in an unguarded moment, admitted that they regret introducing the shore power system because of the hassle it's caused them.

Again, I’m not trying to defend the WI position. I think they have a duty to provide infra-structure that keeps the waterways in active use and part of that is providing the shore side amenities that boaters need on a year round basis. And if the amenities are there and reliably so, maybe more people will discover the joys of winter boating. Just trying to understand where they might be coming from.

Colin
GMY Chang Sha
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
11 December, 2018 20:17
@ Tillerman-
Whilst WI have previously announced that power outages on jetties would not be repaired during Winter months, they have never(in my recollection) physically switched them all off. Experience was that in practice the vast majority of bollards seem to continue working throughout the the Winter.
Yes, notice was given, on the 5th Dec, probably a bit late though for those who had already paid winter mooring fees in the belief there was a high likelihood of having power to run dehumidifiers and keep batteries charged.

@ Colin
Your financial "reverse engineering" exercise is interesting Colin smiling smiley.
However, I think we would both be hopeful that whatever price WI sets for electricity it would be at point that more than covers their overheads, including repairs. Sort of rule #1 of business!!!

The below quotation is taken from the WI website:"
“Waterways Ireland, managing and promoting the inland waterways for the benefit of all…"

I would have thought the continued provision of power through the coldest months of the year would have been covered by this very laudable statement. It would appear the WI feel differently though

However, notwithstanding all of the above, back again to my initial question to our own organisation IWAI...

I would appreciate if someone could enlighten me as to IWAIs official view on this and if there has been any prior knowledge or discussion with WI around the planned disconnection ?

Rgds
Richard Ellis


Virginia Lady



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2018 21:54 by Richard Ellis.
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
14 December, 2018 11:31
Interesting topic. Switching off for the winter may also discourage some long term winter harbour hogging over the winter and associated maintenance and repair costs. I met a subcontractor carrying out repairs on bollards on behalf of WI and the stories he told me of damage to and tampering of bollards by a minority of law breakers made me wonder after all the years of IWAI lobbying WI for public shore power access at their moorings that they might reverse the policy in future because a minority made it economically unviable for them to maintain and administer. It seems it is the 'few' that have caused problems for the 'majority' of law abiding customers.
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
14 December, 2018 12:08
Yes Noel, you've hit the nail on the head.
To paraphrase a well-known old Star Trek script, "The Deeds of the few outweigh the Needs of the many".
Live long and prosper.
Phil.
(sorry, boxset time of year...)

Tm53
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
14 December, 2018 18:10
Quote:
Tillerman53
Yes Noel, you've hit the nail on the head.
To paraphrase a well-known old Star Trek script, "The Deeds of the few outweigh the Needs of the many".
Live long and prosper.
Phil.
(sorry, boxset time of year...)

Captain, There be whales here! smiling smiley
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
14 December, 2018 18:43
Ah, a fellow trekkie, methinks....
In that vein, perhaps "Cling-ons" for Hoggers???
Release docking clamps, Mr Sulu.

Tm53
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
15 December, 2018 12:55
Quote:
Tillerman53
Ah, a fellow trekkie, methinks....
In that vein, perhaps "Cling-ons" for Hoggers???
Release docking clamps, Mr Sulu.

Captain, She's nee goanna take much more of this, she'll never make it past the parker point quadrant, I forgot to pack spare delirium crystals. Shields are down to 10% the Carrick mafia have surrounded us, we've no option but to use all our photon torpedoes but the klingon joggers have stolen all the power from the torpedoes by plugging their rust buckets in over the winter. We'll have no option but to use phasers set to stun. Zulu steer well clear of church bay they have multiple 'tractor' beams in there.

ohuro message to federation head quarters, its star date 58467 we are surrounded, the situation is hopeless. Spoke is not thinking clearly as its his vulcan half birthday today. Warp speed at 25kts and create tidal wake that will shift the hoggers into the next county and ship their wire.
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
15 December, 2018 23:21
Commercial rates for electricity apply to marinas supplied by ESB.So if Cs calculations are correct WI are probably losing money on the cards. Pjnorris
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
16 December, 2018 11:04
Hi Folks,

I have watched this debate for a while and am amused by the amount of people who cannot move around the system needing to be plugged in. I have had the benefit at times and appreciated it- but am happy to be without.
My concern is for people with medical issues who would have an easier time with an electric hook-up. Gone are the days when a wheelchair on a boat was a rare thing and after all, our wonderful waterways should be available to everyone. The current situation is a withdrawal of a service which should be questioned. We need to move forward with this and if upgrading of the system is needed then so be it. Public harbours with boats over-wintering look a lot better than empty bleak places.
My feeling is that this is not high on IWAI's agenda but it really should be and we should think outside the box and other people who have used this service.
Unfortunately going the route of bringing something up at branch level to be brought up at council is hugely time-consuming so perhaps a branch level campaign would help this matter,

regards,

Joe.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 16/12/2018 13:59 by joe treacy.
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
16 December, 2018 11:39
Another concern is the closing down of service blocks, eg Aghalane and Houghtons Shore, both popular spots even in the winter months. For those without onboard showers or in smaller boats this is a big loss. A lot of camper vans also like to use these quiet spots off season.

Tm53
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
17 December, 2018 20:21
Colin,

Don't forget to take into account VAT, which WI must charge. Probably at the 23% rate - electricity VAT goes up to the full rate when there is more than simple retailing of power involved, which may well be Revenue's opinion of supplying to a jetty. Thus, the WI margin is even further reduced. WI could probably put waterside supply on a full 12 month sustainable funding footing by outsourcing supply and billing to one of the pre-pay power retail suppliers. They wouldn't be cheap.

Brian.
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
17 December, 2018 22:01
Hi Brian,

I think when I looked it was a VAT inclusive rate but I could be mistaken. I also didn't include anything by way of standing charge but they presumably have to pay that anyway to cover the public lighting on the jetties.
No matter which way you cut it though, it's unlikely they are charging enough to cover much in the way of unforseen issues.

It's a pity because you can get some great cruising weather over the winter and the ability to plug in would make it a bit more attractive. Not tonight mind you. It's blowing stink here in Galway.

Colin
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
17 December, 2018 22:11
@ Joe,
I think your point re withdrawal of services is an important one and reaches wider than the provision of electricity in the Winter months.

I would fear that if this is allowed to pass uncontested by the boating public, especially a respected representative body such as IWAI, then WI will feel justified in implementing without consultation this and further restrictions to services. It is not inconceivable that sometime in the future, "due to budgetary constraints and Wintertime H&S concerns", the use of jetty's, Locks and bridges would be restricted to the Summer hire boat season.

I fully support WI and particularly their recently energized efforts to clean up the harbors and make them available for the use of "moving" boats. I also sympathize with them on the issue of electricity theft, but there are both short and long term technological solutions available to prevent this.
Notwithstanding the great work they do, I really think we may be at the thin edge of the wedge here and should be making our feelings known to WI, both on an individual and organisational level.

I have personally made representations to WI asking them to restore power. I will also shortly be making representations to Chairpersons of both IWAI branches of which I am a member asking them as branch organisations to make representations to WI to reconnect power at the disconnected harbors. It is probably also appropriate to include our President in that request.so that similar representations can be considered at National level.

I would urge fellow members who feel similarly aggrieved to take these steps also. It is incumbent on us to let our organisation know how we feel so that our views can be represented at an organisation level .

IWAI was formed to avoid curtailment of navigation on the Shannon and whilst the removal of electricity may not prove as great a threat , we may find it to be the thin end of a wedge which will indeed have major implications for our use of the Waterways in future years.
.

Rgds
Richard Ellis


Virginia Lady
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
18 December, 2018 17:36
Richard,

I agree completely with your sentiments and also feel the point is being side-tracked by the cost of electricity which is another issue.
The withdrawal of a service is a serious step and should be discussed with users beforehand,

Regards,

Joe.
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
18 December, 2018 22:46
OK...,so Letters sent to both branches of which I am a member requesting representations be made to WI for the restoration of power to public jetties, similar request sent to IWAI President. I have already made a personal representation to WI, also requesting the restoration of this service.

I would encourage any fellow members who feel as strongly about this as I do to make similar approaches to those I have set out in the above.

It is difficult from the level of engagement on this forum to gauge how much of an appetite there is amongst our membership to speak-up and defend the Services that WI have previously put in place and we have up to now enjoyed the use of throughout the year. I do hope we will make our feelings know on what I believe may be a much more important topic than we realise at this time.

Rgds
Richard Ellis


Virginia Lady



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 18/12/2018 22:48 by Richard Ellis.
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
19 December, 2018 19:55
Its a bummer alright, winter boating needs to be able to plug in for a bit of heat and battery charging, and law abiding members are suffering because of the behaviour of a small minority of spongers and criminals who tamper with the power infrastructure. IWAI members should perhaps support WIs efforts to deliver infrastructure by providing evidence of wrong doing which is relatively easy nowadays with smartphones, video capture, etc. I know some who have submitted speeding high wake videos to WI in recent years with the benefit of zoom lens and they apparently acted upon the supplied evidence. Who needs expensive CCTV security when every citizen is carrying one in their pocket. I already hear moans of spying, and snitching, no it is supporting and upholding the law of the land observed by the majority.
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
19 December, 2018 23:10
Hi Noel,
I would wholeheartedly agree that deliberate damage to any infrastructure should be reported to the correct authorities, along with with whatever evidence can be discreetly gathered. As in all of these things, I would caution anyone against approaching any such perpetrator, but instead quietly report it to WI.
The recent article in IWN did a lot to raise the awareness of this criminality/vandalism which will further enable the law abiding majority to recognise evidence of such acts should they come across same.

Rgds
Richard Ellis


Virginia Lady
Re: Public moorings, Electrical and water supply now disconnected.
02 January, 2019 09:02
Could someone please provide me the link to the IWN article mentioned by Richard about crime/vandalism?

Thanks.

Regards,

Bob

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