Saturday, September 12, 2009

In which Shifty poses a question...

Back so soon?! Well done!
Alright, since you've now seen that perhaps, just maybe, possibly the whole "global-warming", or "climate-change" thing is a tad over-hyped, you might be asking yourself why your local power company is advertising all these lovely new "green" initiatives. Why is it that every time you turn around it seems like the company you buy your electricity from is coming up with a new "program" or gadget to demonstrate their "green-ness"? The answer to that, in my opinion, is two-fold.
Who has read "Atlas Shrugged"? Remember the "businessmen" like Jim Taggart (the heroine Dagny's limp-wristed twit of a brother) and his ilk? Did it strike anyone else as strange that supposed captains of industry would throw their support entirely behind government programs that were virtually guaranteed to destroy the very industries they were "captaining"? Why would they do stupid stuff like that? It's just a real life industry leaders would NEVER go along with crap like that. Not so. and here's why.
Once the knot-hole rapists (you KNOW who I'm talking about...the "environmentalists" who have gone beyond merely hugging the trees to.....well you know!) found a sort of non-whackjob spokesperson in the Goreacle (before he lost the 2000 election, his mind and the ability to push away from the buffet table) and the deep pockets of Mr. Soros, they made themselves a movie. As luck would have it, Mr. Gore's tragic decline from official Whitehouse campaign extorter to Jabba the Hut stand-in engendered sympathy from the liberal "elite" who decide what the "proper" social position is on a given subject. Whereas the environmental extremists had been relegated to the role of stinky, stoner hippie cousin in the liberal family tree, the confluence of Mr. Gore's personal misfortune, Mr. Soros' large bankbook and the EEEEVIL Bush/Republican/Big Business cabal coming into power suddenly rehabilitated the knot-holer's image.
Soon it was considered ESTABLISHED FACT that the most lunatic of the environmentalists' notions were gospel truth. AlGore said so! Then the TOTALLY impartial UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published their "findings" (which curiously parroted the whack-o's findings!) and undertook a campaign to systematically destroy any and all who dared hold a dissenting view. For a while, debate was virtually silenced on the "science" of Global Warming. The lap-dogs of the MSM did their part, happily trumpeting every storm, flood, earthquake, drought, birth defect and outbreak of teen-age acne as PROOF!! PROOF I SAY!! that global warming was real and HUMANS were the culprit!
In this climate, most power companies found themselves castigated as unrepentant planet-murderers, so consumed by profit that they cared not one whit for the damage they did to Mother Earth in the process. Standing up to the nonsense, which would have been the logical, sensible and morally correct thing to do was deemed too big a risk, in a newly risk-averse post-Enron electric industry. So what happened? The Jim Taggarts of the world decided to agree that their industries were eeeevvvil polluters and nature-rapers. Whatever needed to be done, we will support, they said. Cost was no object (more on why in a sec..), the stated aims of the opposition to "destroy" traditional fossil-fueled power production didn't matter....all that mattered is that the power companies not be seen as reprobate where the epic battle for the very survival of planet earth was concerned! Can't have the public thinking we don't care about global warming...why they might just decide to get their power from......uh.....well, I don't know who, since we have a virtual monopoly on delivering their power, but they will be MAD at us!
So all these power companies have signed on to support every stupid new anti-GHG scheme that's bubbled out of the bong resin.
Some of these "solutions" are fantastically expensive. We're talking BILLIONS of dollars to retrofit a company's coal-fired generating fleet with equipment to reduce pollutants. But it's not the power company's money that pays for that...oh no. Wonder why you electric bill has been climbing? If you listen to the drooling horde, it's because we fat cats in the power industry are giggling all the way to the bank at your expense. Just RAKING in the profits, while Joe Six-pack works three jobs to keep the lights on and his 2.5 kids fed. In actuality, although we ARE guaranteed a certain profit (why this is so is another post...) the rising cost of electricity has more to do with the rising fuel costs and the expensive new doo-dads the gubmint done required your electric company to install on it's generating fleet.
Much like what happens when "corporate" tax rates are increased, costs associated with mandated upgrades to a utilities generating fleet are simply past along to the consumer....presto-chango you get a bigger electric bill. And because of the system in place, you tend to see all of the costs hit your bill at one time, instead of slowly accumulating over time. Most utilities also have a fuel clause, which allows them to charge consumers directly for the costs of the fuels the company uses to generate their power.
"But Shifty" I hear, " How come when oil prices dropped, my electric bill didn't go down?" First, you're electric company uses a variety of fuels, not just oil. So while oil prices might have gone down, what about the price of natural gas? Coal? How much of each fuel is used to produce your electricity? AND...think back....did you're electric bill go up each time the price of a barrel of oil closed the days trading at a new record high last summer? Obviously not....your power company enters into long-term fuel supply contracts to stabilize costs. Only AFTER the fuel has been used can a power company "true up" their actual fuel costs with projected fuel costs (which they use to establish the GOVERNMENT set price per kilowatt of electricity you pay). If the utility had to burn more (or more expensive) fuel to satisfy your gluttonous power cravings, it's only right that they should recoup that cost. If they end up paying less (because they either secured a cheaper fuel source or you used less energy), most utilities will rebate the savings to the customer.
All of this begs the question....wouldn't you the rate-paying electricity consumer benefit MORE from executives who are more concerned about what's good for their customers (which would be to tell the truth about "Global Warming" and stand against the costly initiatives to appease the moon-bat knot-holers) than about being politically correct? I'll let you be the judge!

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