The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 January 2008

Thinking proactively

If your ZIP code is anywhere between 90001 and 96199, you might consider stocking up on HVAC thermostats right away before Big Brother gets his fat fingers on the controls.

Come to think of it, given the tendency for dumb California ideas to spread elsewhere, we might all be wise to snag a couple of the old Honeywell rounds while we still can.

(Via Darleen Click.)

Posted at 3:40 PM to Family Joules , TANSTAAFL

I can't say I'm sorry about the average Californian's plight - they made the bed they lie in. But, like you said, lots of their stupid ideas seem to migrate to like minded bureaucracies everywhere else.

Why increase energy production when a wave of the regulatory hand can take care of the problem? It has worked so well up to now - not.

Posted by: Jeffro at 5:23 PM on 5 January 2008

Before you start looking for the black helicopters, try reading this [PDF], explaining the ideas behind it. California's energy people see the "emergency signal" as something to be sent when, if they don't send it, demand far outstripping supply would mean "rolling blackouts" are about to begin.

By sending five million households a signal to raise the temperature one degree, they can save a load of, well, load and not have to black out anyone for hours on end. This also solves the problem of people cranking the AC way up in anticipation of a rolling blackout that will leave them slowly getting warmer, effectively keeping demand high even after the blackouts start.

The idea is that the "price signal" will tell you when demand is causing peak pricing and let you opt out of some of it, and the "emergency signal" will prevent rolling blackouts. Given how many people might be in trouble if the power went out on things like, you know, home oxygen machines or the like, this doesn't seem like a bad idea.

Provided, of course, it's backed by strong statutory guarantees of when the "emergency" and "price" signals will and won't be used. Language not written by former Enron lobbyists, please.

Posted by: Matt at 1:30 AM on 6 January 2008

I could buy this, maybe, if the very same sort of micromanagement, aided and abetted by opportunists from the private sector, hadn't been the reason California was getting rolling blackouts in the first place.

And the bucks-up folks on the coasts aren't likely to notice the difference; if you're not so wealthy and stuck in the Valley — pick any valley, they're almost always hotter in the summer — you're not so lucky.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:00 AM on 6 January 2008

Evidently they've shelved the plan for now.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:07 PM on 12 January 2008