What Does It Cost to Run a Fence Charger?

Over the years many people have asked me – how much is it going to cost to run my fence charger? I usually respond that it will be “pennies per month”, but this is pretty easy to compute yourself.

The only thing you will need to know is how many watts your particular charger pulls and the kilowatt charge from your particular electric utility company. This is assuming that you have a standard mains unit that plugs into a standard 110V outlet.

The basic equation is: watts x time / 1000 = kWh

Watts = The watts per hour consumed by the electric fence charger during operation. This is probably not printed on the cover of the charger, but is usually on the box or the instruction manual that should come with it. If you don’t have the box or manual, then call the manufacturer and they should be able to tell you.

Time = The amount of time the charger is operated. This should be calculated into hours per day and then days per month. Normal you will be running your charger on a continuous basis of 24/7 and the utility company billing period is normally for a 30 day period.

1000 = Dividing by the number 1000 places the total into kilowatt-hours, which is what most utility companies use as the rate of consumption.

Example:

The power consumption of most chargers for agricultural / livestock control purposes will range from 10 watts up to 50 watts. One of the very largest ones will pull a maximum of 50 watts (I think that this will equate to running a 50 watt light bulb). Operating a 10 watt charger continuously for 24 hours per day for 30 days at a utility company rate of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour will equal:

10 watts x 24 hours per day x 30 days / 1000 = 7.2 kilowatt-hours (kWh)

7.2 kWh x 10 cents = 72 cents

So $0.72 is the cost of operating the 10 watt charger for 30 days at this rate, or a whopping cost of $8.64 per year. Now you know how much your electric fencing system is costing you to run. Pretty cheap, huh? So cheap, in fact, that I am surprised that someone hasn’t put a tax on it !!

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About Gary Duncan

Gary has been active in the fence business for over 15 years. He also raises Highland cattle in a management intensive grazing system and was the first person to market the PasturePro post back in 2005. He enjoys discussing all things grazing and is the main contributor to the blog.
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10 Responses to What Does It Cost to Run a Fence Charger?

  1. avatar Jeff Carlson says:

    Will the charger use more power if the fence becomes grounded by touching a post or lots of weeds?

    • avatar Gduncan08 says:

      Hi Jeff,
      Just to make sure; I confided in a couple energizer “guru’s” that I know and the answer is NO it should not pull more watts than the maximum rating for that particular energizer. In the case of the larger modern ones that are classed as ” Power on Demand”, they will ramp themselves up or down depending on the fence load that they sense, but will not exceed a maximum power output or power consumption requirement. However, some of the very old fence chargers would possibly pull more power consumption as there were not as many safeguards in the old days of circuitry. Hope this answers your question, and thank you for your comment.

      • avatar Jeffcarlson says:

        Thanks very much for your time in research and answering. I’ve had a few opinions from friends, but couldn’t find a definitive answer anywhere. This is a new charger so I guess I have to blame the power bill on the water tank heater! Your help is very much appreciated. Jeff

        • avatar Gduncan08 says:

          Yes, I would blame it on the water tank heater. If its a typical electic one, many of them are either 1000 or 1500 watt units and they do pull a lot of power. I put one of those new electric infared heaters in my office. It is a 1500 watt unit….and it definately added an “Ouch” to my electric bill. Gary

  2. avatar Ray says:

    If I have a 15 stored joule AC unit that the manufacturer rates at .2amp power consumption and I want to run it off a battery using a power inverter, does the power consumption in watts go from ,.2amps x 110volts = 22 watts, to .2 amps x 12 volts = 2.4 watts? Big difference here? Want to know because I want to match up a solar panel, but if it is using the first scenirio that would be one big solar panel set up, way too big. Plus I need extra power to run the invertor.
    Ray

    • avatar Gduncan08 says:

      Hi Ray,
      First off, you are correct, in that – you will need “one big solar panel set up”. The general recommendation for solar panels for fence chargers: is that you will need approximately 10 watts of solar panel for each output joule. In your case, with 15 stored joules, you probably have about 10.5 output joules. 10.5 x 10 = 105 watts of solar panel. Plus you will probably need multiple storage batteries.
      Rather than me make some broad recommendations for you I would prefer to put you in touch with an expert and someone who can compute this for you better than I.
      Contact: Steve Core, Fence/Scale Repair Tech at Zeitlow Distributing Co, in McPherson Kansas. His email is: steve@zeitlow.com or call him directly at: 800.527.5487 or 800.364.1605
      I refer to Steve often for technical questions – he has been working on fence chargers since Noah unloaded the boat….He can answer your questions and even build or supply the system for you if you choose to do so.
      I hope this helps. Additionally, unless you need this much power on this one fence, you might also consider splitting the system and running it off of two smaller seperate systems rather than one large one. Just a thought.
      Let me know where you are located and please re-comment on what you find our from Steve,
      Thanks, Gary

  3. avatar ann hughes says:

    Hi Gary,
    My Farm is connected to a rental house we always give a month free rent for having the charger connected to an outside receptacle. Now they tell me it is costing them $2.00 dollars a day to have the box plugged into their house. What would be causing this problem.

    • avatar Steve Freeman says:

      Hi Ann,

      My first question would be “how do the renters know the charger is using $2.00 a day?”. As to whether a charger could/would use that much my first reaction is no way, but I will check with ones more intelligent than me to get a definite answer. Some of the old chargers did draw a lot more power, but it’s hard to believe it would raise the bill $75 a month. That’s more likely a yearly bill for a charger not a monthly one.

    • avatar Ben Hartwell says:

      I would call BS. You can go to your library or go to Amazon and get a device called “Kill A Watt” that you plug in between the charger and outlet like you would your lightning protector. I’d do this first as this is going to tell you exactly what the charger is using. My guess is they have something else drawing power. If for some reason the charger is in fact pulling that much power, something is obviously wrong with the charger. Here is a link to a power bill on a pasture system running only a water pump and a Gallagher MBX 2500 (25 stored joule). I’m pretty much just paying for the minimum delivery charge.
      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=645774822104626&set=pb.167490436599736.-2207520000.1371140281.&type=3&theater

  4. avatar Steve Freeman says:

    Thank Ben–Never heard of the metering device, a great idea.

    Ben Hartwell is a fencing contractor and farmer from Maine. Being one of the most knowledgeable fence product experts around I’m often e-mailing or calling him for advice or information.

    Ben has a website and a FaceBook page that has a lot of fencing information.
    https://www.facebook.com/BenFencin

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