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turning an old gravity piping system into using a high effeciency boiler

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maybemark
maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
I live in a house that is over 90 years old, The 1st boiler was a gravity system. Now i have a 35 year old boiler i want to change, and purchace a lochanvar whn
I have 3" pipes that go into 2" pipes and thos are then branced off with 1" pipes to the cast iron radiators.
My question is, what is the best way to pipe the new system into the old system?
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  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,452
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    The beauty of the old gravity systems -- one of them, anyway -- was that to a certain extent they were self-balancing. Colder rooms just naturally got more heat. Pumped systems can't do that.

    That said...

    What I would suggest is that you first identify zones which you might want to control independently. Then figre out, in the basement, where the supply and return piping for each zone is -- there may be a common point; more likely not (which will make balancing within zones more complicated, but not impossible. Then plan your new zone piping to hook up to those points.

    That's a little simplistic, gives you the idea. I would not rip out any more of the old pipe than I had to!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    Jamie
    thanks for you input
    I actually am doing just a single zone for heat, and a priority for DHW
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    Carefully size the boiler to the heat loss. Don't up-size for the DHW. Take care of any cold spots in the house, now. Then let that thing do what it was meant to do, using the outdoor sensor.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    Paul
    thanks for the input, but i was hoping to find out id there is a special way to increase the size of the pipe, or the use of some equiptment, or circulation
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,452
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    You may find that you need to be able to reduce circulation in some areas, even though it is just one zone...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    Post some pics…Mod/cons not good for everyone,but in your case it will fit perfect…It will condense…and make you money….What you will be doing is using a header,determined by the boiler size…Have you ever checked for orifice plates upstairs on higher floors…You may want to….Pick an installer only after you do your homework…Size this boiler exactly…otherwise its nothing but trouble…Tell them you want a copy of the combustion report after they are done ,and tested it with a composition analyzer….No analyzer, send them packing,there fakes
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    The transition from the new, smaller boiler piping to those large pipes is not a big deal. If gallons per minute remain constant, the only change will be velocity.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    Jamie
    i am sorry, but i don't understand your question. i do appreciate your input, and would very much like to undserstand to give you an answer
    thanks
    mark
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    Ja
    i was planing on using an old school plumber who is not a big fan of HE boilers, but is willing to help me out, and will do everything that is suggested to me on this wall.
    He is 67 years old, and is set in his way, buthe is a great plumber and does understand that these boilers have to be installed properly. i am hoping with the help of everyone on this site, i will have a great system in the end.
    I would be more than happy to post some photos. What would you like me to take some pictures of?
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    Paul
    when you say the only difference is velosity, are you refering to the circulating pumps? And if so, which pumps should i have?
    I already purchase 2 -15-58.
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    The near boiler piping ...
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    You will want a circ. that has high flow and low velocity…you will get the velocity from down sizing the supply piping…But then again can’t really be sure till pics are posted…Series 100 may be the one
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    Hopefully you have access to a combustion analyzer….and knowledge, how to interpt the readings….If not find some one who does…..
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    ja
    I can take pictures right now, and post them. realize, alot of the existing piping will be in the way of the mounting of the new boiler, so, i will have to have those pipes removed .
    mark
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    some photos, i hope this works, i have not tried to attach photos befor on this site
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    not sure if it worked, but i have more photos also
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    Take a pic of the boiler from a bit further away showing the supply and return connections at he boiler
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    how is this?
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    are these photos any better?
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    I have somewhat read thru the posts….No argument from me, mod/con is the way to go….Slant fin is a very good user friendly heat loss, program…For the fun of it get a copy of I=B=R HR22….I have some older ones I used a few times on some older homes because the house not been updated since the publication.. Not having installed that brand, but the circ. they are referring to is most likely the boiler loop and not the system circ….They want the proper flow thru the boiler…Pick the boiler most closest to your heat loss, pipe it in one inch copper and be done with it…Follow manf. instructions and he will be fine..Can he read a pump curve chart, hopefully
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    My e mail japlumbing38@comcast.net
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    ja
    thanks for giving me your e-mail. i sent you some more photo, please let me know if you got the e-mail.
    i also want to thank you for eveything you have done to help me
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
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    Looks like that is probably the second boiler in a ~100 year old system. The good news is that it's relatively unmolested and (with proper care) should deliver another lifetime or two of service.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    The last I will say about your situation.

    That is an excellent example of a 1940's or 1950's gravity conversion from coal to oil. It might even be later if the boiler and the conversion were done at the same time. Either way.

    First, man got warm with a fire in a cave.

    Then, someone like the Romans figured out that if you built a fire in the basement, hot air would rise. Then, someone figured out that if you captured steam and piped it, the steam would go anywhere you piped it as long as you got rid of the air. Steam heat and radiators.

    Then, someone figured out that if you heat water, with a 7 1/2 degree rise in temperature, you could get hot water to a steam radiator, without the hot steam and potential explosions.
    Then, as a cost saving move, someone decided to put a pump on something that flowed naturally by itself. Then, came the problems.

    See all those brass plug valve balancing cocks on the return? That's an attempt to fool Mother Nature. Mother Nature doesn't like to be fooled. Or, why your pumped system doesn't heat evenly. Gravity systems were the Cadillac systems of the world. Converted gravity to pumped systems are often a failed attempt to improve upon perfection. Has anyone ever suggested putting a pump on a steam system?

    Just looking at that conversion, one should see that it will NEVER be balanced for flow using those balancing cocks. Any of you here brave enough to start fiddling with them? The old dead guys already did. That's the best they could come up with.

    Connect a 4-way. The system supply to the supply with a circulator on the supply if that is your preference. The return cut off above the circulator and connected to the system return on the 4-way. The old return to the boiler connected to the return side of the 4-way, and the supply outlet to the supply side of the 4-way/ Carefully follow the arrows. Connect the ODR sensor t terminals on the 4-way, connect the house thermostat to the appropriate terminals on the 4-way and TT's on the boiler controller, set the DIP switches for a gas boiler so it won't let the primary circulator run if the boiler water goes below 120 degrees (140 if it is oil) vent the system. Turn it on. Come back the next day. All radiators are the same temperature throughout the whole house. And YOU HAVE Primary Secondary piping!!!

    Houses and apartments in Germany and Europe are small. 1,000 to 1500 sq. ft. No closets, and they take everything with them if they move. They NEED wall hung boilers. Because they are easily transported and connected in the new house or apartments.

    https://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090602035025AAKwdZE

    Not one poster has suggested that the most important energy savings for this owner is to insulate ALL his heating piping with fiberglass insulation. Like most codes do on a new installation. If he can't insulate the walls easily, at least rip off that rubber stuff and replace it with fiberglass.

    That old Burnham gas boiler has been running faithfully, probably almost trouble free for almost 30 years. Anyone seen anything else run that trouble free for that long? Veissmann and Buderus still make Cast Iron boilers. It isn't just for the US markets.

    I had my old HVAC system replaced for a more "efficient" and less costly to operate system. It cost me significantly more to operate the new system and I had the entire system replaced. Including the ductwork. They told me how much money I was going to save. I got energy credits. It wouldn't cool the house. I could have been really pissed. My electric bill went up at least 10%. I knew what the problem. I needed more attic insulation. There was 6" to 12" in most places. I added 18" over the entire attic,, that was developing 130+ degree attic temperatures. The installing company had that "Deer In The Headlights" look when I tried to explain to them that they should be telling customers to upgrade their insulation or their saving might not be there. Mine now are. And wait until it gets cold. My electric bill went down at least 10% and hardly runs. At least it will shut off at 78 degrees or go below 80 degrees.

    If you promise savings you better back it up. Or people will put the bad mouth on you.

    On that note, Sayonara.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    SWEI
    i think the existing boiler is the 3rd boiler. i had it put in 35 years ago. it was not grity fed 35 years ago
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited December 2014
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    So ice,your suggesting leaving the old oversized boat anchor, and adding a 4 way taco ivalve to increase efficiency to a boiler that is all most 3 times the size needed for the calculated heat loss. Or are you suggesting skipping the onboard outdoor reset capability of the mod/con and p/s piping in Leu of the 4 way valve, and use the i series outdoor reset function.

    Yes insulating the pipes will help I did not see the pics until recently.

    And has it been asked if there is a system balance issue now or are you just assuming there is.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    No, I am NOT.

    I'm suggesting that a 4-way valve will do everything that any Mod-Con will do for a fraction of the cost, and make the old gravity system work as it was designed.

    The other thing I keep harping on is this constant promise of energy efficiency. Which many equate with saving money. Higher efficiency doesn't mean you save any money. I know from experience that it is true. You should too.

    Just today. Or, in the next month. Are you suggesting that if the poster, throws in a Mod-Con and an Indirect to replace his gas tank type storage water heater and boiler and nothing else that has been suggested by anyone else here but myself, that he will have significantly lower energy costs? You believe that?

    If you just insulate all the large uninsulated pipes in the cellar and tighten up any obvious air infiltration, do you think that there would be a significant savings? If you just added a 4-way, and ran lower temperatures in the system, it wouldn't cost less to operate? A "I" Series is a poor mans Mod-Con. You can purchase and install 3-4-ways for the cost of a Mod-Con install.

    Have YOU been able to sell a Mod Con to every person that inquired to you about a boiler change? If you could, the boiler manufacturers would have stopped making high mass boilers. If the only option you gave them was a Mod-Con, did they all go with your suggestion? Or did some go somewhere else. I would offer two choices. Most picked the lesser cost options.

    So, then I find out here that a 100,000 BTU Combo boiler is using 60,000 BTU's for heating and 40,000 for potable water heating? That's the input of 30 gallon gas storage tank water heaters.

    A new house with nothing there and from scratch? Whatever works and they are willing to pay.

    I worked mostly in old cribs. What was there, was what was there. You worked around what was there. Now we find out that he has owned the house for a long time. He has overseen multiple boiler changes. That last boiler change and the piping look like it was done by the same guy from New Bedford that is posted on the string by the woman looking for someone to fix her steam system.

    Don't make promises to people that you can't back up.

    My sense of the Poster is that he is careful with his cash. He can have anything he wants. Just not everything he wants.

    Give him what he wants or needs or he might be taking his business elsewhere.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    So what you are trying to tell us is that putting in the right size boiler to match the heat loss is not going to save any more money in fuel usage than an over sized boiler. Pick your boiler Ci, high efficiency??

    His heatloss is 76k his present boiler is plus 200k his radiation is 127 k. Where is the extra where is the extra 80 k going? Think it cycles...excessively? Slapping an outdoor reset on a ci boiler only gets ya so low in water temps at the boiler. Is it cheaper than a mod/con yup will it offer as much no. Can he go the ci boiler route? You betcha, and will probably save 30% in just proper match up to the loss. But now your buying the 4 way I valve 600 for his piping size add that to the boiler, and chimney lining has not been discussed add that in. Maybe he won't do it, or maybe down the road he will have to.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
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    Adding ODR-controlled mixing to an existing conventional boiler is something we propose whenever the existing boiler is at least close to the correct size and in good shape. Unfortunately, that is a rather rare situation in these parts. Even that only applies to customers on NG, since LPG rates are almost 6X higher on a per-BTU basis here. Electric resistance heat is actually ~15% less expensive than an 80% LPG appliance right now, and that's without factoring in ODR.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    Then, how do you justify the fact that a boiler is only at its design temperature for only a few weeks or days per year? The rest of the time, it is grossly oversized.

    If I needed heat in my Florida Condo, would I consider a Mod-Con? Instantly. I have no personal animosity against Mod Cons. They just need to be used and considered carefully in their proper perspective.

    They are the perfect device for varying loads of Potable hot water. We're talking replacement boilers here. Not new from scratch where you have all the room you need to do the install and to vent it. The PO sounds like a careful reader of Consumer's Reports. Do you agree with everything they rate that you might be successfully using? Its someone's individual opinion and experience. My experience is that they are NOT as trouble free and foolproof as some make them out to be. And someone needs to fix them.

    Did you notice that there were two postings here from someone's in France with problems with high end boilers that no one understood how to solve? So they send them to the USA and Heatinghelp.com for help?

    That ought to be telling you something about all the hype of European high end design heating. Some European use Kero or Diesel oil for wall heating. Every install has a Tigerloop. Some in the USA refuse to use them. Anyone in the USA that refuses to use a Tigerloop on a needy oil system, should tell all their customers to switch to gas.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    SWEI said:

    Adding ODR-controlled mixing to an existing conventional boiler is something we propose whenever the existing boiler is at least close to the correct size and in good shape. Unfortunately, that is a rather rare situation in these parts. Even that only applies to customers on NG, since LPG rates are almost 6X higher on a per-BTU basis here. Electric resistance heat is actually ~15% less expensive than an 80% LPG appliance right now, and that's without factoring in ODR.

    But Electricity is NOT cheaper than #2 oil, and @2 is going down while Nat Gas is going up.

    A lot of LP gets sold as a replacement for oil because the consumer thinks that LPG is natural gas.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    edited December 2014
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    icesailor said:

    SWEI said:

    Electric resistance heat is actually ~15% less expensive than an 80% LPG appliance right now, and that's without factoring in ODR.

    But Electricity is NOT cheaper than #2 oil, and @2 is going down while Nat Gas is going up.
    Local market conditions obviously have to be part of the discussion. No fuel oil whatsoever here, ~$0.64 per therm for NG, ~$3.30 per gallon LPG, and $0.128 for electricity. All of those numbers include taxes. Electricity and NG prices rise and fall slowly, but LPG gets casino pricing. You call a supplier (now consolidated to the point where there are only one and a half options in the market) and you get to see where the roulette wheel stops.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited December 2014
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    icesailor said:

    Then, how do you justify the fact that a boiler is only at its design temperature for only a few weeks or days per year? The rest of the time, it is grossly oversized.

    If I needed heat in my Florida Condo, would I consider a Mod-Con? Instantly. I have no personal animosity against Mod Cons. They just need to be used and considered carefully in their proper perspective.

    They are the perfect device for varying loads of Potable hot water. We're talking replacement boilers here. Not new from scratch where you have all the room you need to do the install and to vent it. The PO sounds like a careful reader of Consumer's Reports. Do you agree with everything they rate that you might be successfully using? Its someone's individual opinion and experience. My experience is that they are NOT as trouble free and foolproof as some make them out to be. And someone needs to fix them.

    Did you notice that there were two postings here from someone's in France with problems with high end boilers that no one understood how to solve? So they send them to the USA and Heatinghelp.com for help?

    That ought to be telling you something about all the hype of European high end design heating. Some European use Kero or Diesel oil for wall heating. Every install has a Tigerloop. Some in the USA refuse to use them. Anyone in the USA that refuses to use a Tigerloop on a needy oil system, should tell all their customers to switch to gas.



    If the boiler is properly sized, and can modulate down on those less than design day loads then we have solved some of that issue right Ice. Most CI boilers cant modulate so your stuck with design day sizing which only occurs for a very short period in the heating season. You try to help it by ODR via I valve. that takes it to another level but still cant beat modulation.

    As for France, and Europe there is Jacklegs there also. So I really don't see that many comings here to solve their problems. If so happy to help foreign relations all we can.

    The big issue I see is adapting to technology, and being comfortable with where, when, and how you use the technology that's evolving the industry. After all we would still be moving rocks with people, and animals. standing by the fire to stay warm if man did not advance himself through forward thinking, and innovation.....Right?

    Fuel efficiency is not in my eyes all about what saves the end user money, or even If ROI makes sense to a point in how its done. Its what sells, but really isn't it about saving fuel for the collective, and every person that tunes their heating system to save energy by matching the load continuously one system at a time will work towards the collective goal will makes big differences. Right now its voluntary here in the states else where it is not.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    I seem to be having problems on what people think would be best for my house as far as pumps go.
    I bought 2- 15 58 pumps.
    - i might have misunderstood, but i think someone told me that the whn85 does not come with a boiler loop pump. If not, what is suggested, and for me having all this volume of water with extra radiators and large pipes from the old system, will the 15-58's be ok, or not ok.
    - Right now, all that i have on the 35 year old boiler is 1 zone, that is circulating fine on 1 taco 007.
    - can i get some feed back
    - thanks
    - mark
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
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    I would probably direct pump that system. The combination of oversized radiators and the low head loss in the firetube HX should allow you to run a 30˚F ΔT with no problems. That gets you down to two pumps. The WH controls have a 0-10V output that can control the boiler pump, so I'd be looking at a Taco 00-VV series circulator to put inside the boiler. 76k will only need 5 GPM at a 30˚F ΔT, so given the low head loss in that system, I'd probably be looking at a 006-VVF (if they even make them that small.) Once again, we really need smaller ECM circs with control options (HINT, HINT.)

    Then I'd move the Lochinvar-provided pump to the DHW loop. I believe it already has an IFC.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
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    Swei
    thank you for your words. only problem is, i only understand a small amount of the words used. I do know that the loch has the ability of the 0 to 10v variable speed. i remember reading that. So the unit does not come with the pump?
    the other pumps you mentioned, and how you suggest using them, I am lost. 30F^T, no idea what that is, (sorry)
    It would great if i can understand, but, i could respect if you choose not to explain.
    thanks
    mark
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    "" $0.128 for electricity ""

    $0.128 Per KWH? That's almost subsidized rates.

    Did you take the total cost of the bill at the bottom of the bill, what you owe for the month, and divide by the amount of KWH's you used for that billing period? The more you use, the more you pay, but the lower the per KWH amount becomes. They like to always brag about 350 KWH per month users when most users are using 700 KWH per months. It makes them look nice. Your good friends. Who have only your best interest in mind. After they pay the Stockholders and investors. They come first.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
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    icesailor said:

    $0.128 Per KWH? That's almost subsidized rates.

    Did you take the total cost of the bill at the bottom of the bill, what you owe for the month, and divide by the amount of KWH's you used for that billing period?

    In short, yes. That rate represents an average of several residential and small business accounts, though notice I have not accounted for the recent tariff increase that just took effect (the one where we got to absorb PNM's stranded investment in a nuke plant.) Current kWH rates (before taxes and surcharges) range from $0.0906 to $0.1577 per kWH on residential and $0.1286 for small businesses. I'm guessing the net net will come out around $0.13something -- I'll verify next week.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited December 2014
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    What are the total KWH's used in the calendar billing month? And what is the total at the bottom of the bill that you have to write the check or give a credit card number?

    That includes all tariff's and gratis to pay off the speculators who made a bad investment and now, have made YOU, the ratepayer. the one who owes the money.