Monday, November 4, 2019


I have read a number of articles describing California's descent into the Dark Ages as the fires waste the land and the electricity operates like it does in any other third world country. Those of my bent casually mention the causes for the fires, the idiotic policies behind the causes of the fires and the impact of the fires and the random electricity supply and sometimes mention that the smart people who can see just a little into the future are leaving.

I haven't actually read or seen a single thing that describes how California plans to deal with the impact of moronic legislators passing really stupid laws limiting utility companies ability to maintain their lines safely.  I just read an article in the Sunday NYT by Manjoo and his is the only article I've seen that even gives lip service to the FACT that this is the new normal condition for California from now on every time the wind blows. His solution is as stupid as the NYT usually is.

He proposes that people and business be forced to locate in urban cores that build up, not out and cut back on the people living in the wildlands. He never gives even a peep to limiting the brush and fuel loads in the forests or doing what every other state's utility companies do which is to clear the trees and brush away from the transmission lines. Not a peep. He also neglects to mention that these so-called 'wildlands' are cities and towns with up to 90,000 people living in them.

It's odd that we don't see more states spontaneously bursting into flames every time the wind blows. They must be doing something different.

I read last week that San Jose was looking at buying, at bankruptcy auction, what it wanted/needed out of the PG&E equipment and creating its own electric company to service the city of San Jose and perhaps the airport and the outlying bedroom communities. That strikes me as a wise investment but it does leave me wondering about the poor bastards living back in the hills and hollows well removed from San Jose and other like minded self-generating city utility companies. Will we need to recreate something like Rural Electrification and build a sort of California Valley Authority along the lines of the TVA to send power to the poor benighted losers living in places that time forgot?

In 1996 Californians did something really stupid.
This bill would prohibit any person, corporation, electrical
corporation, or local publicly owned electric utility or other
governmental entity other than a retail customer's existing electric
service provider as of December 20, 1995, from providing electric
service to a retail customer of a publicly owned electric utility
unless the customer pays to the utility currently providing electric
service, a nonbypassable generation-related severance fee or
transition charge, as defined, established by the regulatory body for
that utility. 
The bill would prohibit a local publicly owned electric utility or
other governmental entity from providing electrical service to a
retail customer of an electrical corporation unless that customer
pays a nonbypassable transition charge to the electrical corporation. 
The bill would require the local regulatory body of each local
publicly owned electric utility to determine whether it will
authorize direct transactions between electricity suppliers and end
use customers, subject to implementation of the nonbypassable
severance fee or transition charge, and provide for procedures to
implement the direct transactions.
As you know, we're dealing here with California so the losers told themselves that they did this all in the name of increasing competition in the delivery of electricity. You see how that worked out, right? What was the effect of the California legislation?

Provisions of AB 1890

The Electric Utility Industry Restructuring Act (Assembly Bill 1890) makes the generation of electricity competitive in California. The legislation became law on September 23, 1996.

Before restructuring, a single utility provided each customer with generation, transmission, distribution, and metering and billing of electricity. As of March 31, 1998, the new structure allows customers in most, but not all, existing electric utility service areas to choose their electric generation supplier.

Restructuring also brings changes to the transmission of electricity. Previously restricted transmission facilities will be opened to power generators on a fair and equitable basis, overseen by a new organization, the Independent System Operator (ISO). The ISO has been given the responsibility for assuring reliability of the high voltage transmission system. Local utilities will continue to distribute electricity.

You see that the ISO was given 100% of the responsibility for assuring reliability of the high voltage transmission system and yet who does California blame for their ongoing disasters? Not the ISO. In a way, this captures the very essence of so-called 'net neutrality' and what happens under that regime.

I suppose the question now is, would you get on an elevator in California?


capt fast said...

I am sure that PG&E had dealings with a certain defunct and bankrupted power distribution conglomerate which name escapes me for some reason(age related?) the corporate officers of which are in jail or have been in jail for running a nation wide Ponzi scheme of wholesaling power. that may have something to do with PG&E's long running failure to fund maintenance. the state laws on just about anything in Ca. didn't help them perform anywhere close to adequately maintaining the wire right of way. maintaining transmission lines is much more costly that maintaining a power generation plant.
why not build the power plant closer to the end user you ask? can you say "not in my back yard"? and transmission lines because you would want to export excess power, too. the national grid is something to behold and the system to control it is very complex.
clear brush from beneath power lines? pahh!
I am wondering how many conservationist who drove the laws restricting PG&E's ongoing maintenance of right of way and improvement of infrastructure of said transmission systems now have a genset spewing crap into the environment from their backyards.

capt fast said...

further rant: one doesn't need a fusion power plant in the backyard of the home "just in case". did you know that a 7KW fuel cell system that uses a fuel reformer system and atmospheric oxygen operating at 40% efficiency is available? that's better than the ratings of gas gensets. a bit more pricey than a gas genset. I suppose that being green does have its price point.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I cannot imagine anything that would get me to go to California. It is doomed.

capt fast said...

I left the Sacramento area many years ago and my only regret is that I chose to retire in Colorado. which has turned into East LA.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Then I best stay here, in The Land of the Badgers, Wisconsin!

capt fast said...

perchance is the badger hole anywhere near Racine, that home and birthplace of the Republican Party? I shall wave a great hello next July on my annual trek to Oshkosh for flying festivities and to see what is new at the EAA Museum. It is always a good party filled with the good cheer of all the wonderful Wisconsin natives in attendance.