How much $$ will TV stations save when they turn off the analog transmitters in Feb ?

Garrett Wollman
Sun Sep 7 21:57:55 EDT 2008

<<On Sun, 7 Sep 2008 18:29:56 -0400, "Ken VanTassell" <> said:

> Just curious, does anyone know what the average monthly electric bill
> is for a TV station in Boston ? How much will they save when they turn
> off the analog transmitter ?

The worst case is probably for a VHF-low station moving to the high
end of the UHF band.  Even though the 100 kW max ERP of a VHF-low
analog station is peak, rather than average, demand metering will see
the full load (perhaps 50 kW assuming several dB of antenna gain), not
to mention the continuous 10-kW aural carrier.  A business in Needham
that consumes 500 kW of electricity would pay $55,500 per month in the
winter and $59,500 per month in the summer.  By contrast, a business
that used only 50 kW of electricity would pay $6,500 in the winter and
$7,000 in the summer.

The best case is the opposite, an out-of-core UHF station moving to
the VHF-low band.  VHF-low digital ERPs are just a few kilowatts, and
the conversion efficiency of solid-state transmitters is excellent;
such stations could opt for a different rate plan entirely, perhaps
even dropping demand metering if the utility's tariff allows it.

There are many complications: currently, stations are paying for both
analog and digital transmitters.  If they are at different sites, they
may be paying different rates; if they are at the same site, the
additional power required to operate two transmitters (particularly
for U-to-U moves like 25/31 and 56/41 here in Boston) may bump the
station into a different rate bracket.  Multi-tenant sites also vary
in the way power is metered: some office buildings include power with
the rent, and tower cooperatives may buy power on behalf of their
members.  Then there is the matter of competitive power suppliers.

Ultimately, like Larry said, it is not likely to make a huge
difference for commercial broadcasters in good financial health.


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