Thursday, August 30, 2007

Flex THIS, baby!

Since it's hotter than the hinges of hell here in SoCal, the state energy system is trying to cut back on our electricity consumption. Some ad agency came up with an insipid slogan -- "flex your power" -- and now "flex alerts" are called when we are about to burn more juice than we receive.

I don't mind. Relatively, I'm a minimal consumer anyway. No lights on during the day, no air conditioning, and I'd rather do laundry at night because it's cooler.

But I do get a jolt -- so to speak -- out of the ways in which we are all supposed to "go green," and the ways in which the energy providers and other companies are dealing with it.

If we are all good little junior-Gores and Gore-ettes, we can reduce the hell out of water, electricity and natural-gas consumption, simply by turning stuff off and being a bit warmer than we might ideally like. But if we do that, the rates will go up because we're not using enough for the providers to make their happy profits. On the other hand, if we keep on frittering away the resources, the rates will go up to punish us.

Volkswagen has just announced that they will buy "carbon credits" for every new car they sell. This makes no sense on several levels. First, of course, all "carbon credits" really do is make paper-pushers wealthy. I recently saw a list of ten wealthy "green" entrepreneurs; no surprise that a carbon-offset seller is among 'em. He may in fact have been the richest of the bunch. Over the last few years, he's piled up more than $30 million for his noble efforts.

Forget creating better systems. Just go straight into selling indulgences to those with guilty consciences.

Besides, Volkswagens are about as environmentally friendly as any car on the market. All of them get decent gas mileage -- except the SUV -- and the diesels are phenomenal.

If Cadillac wanted to ease the guilt of Escalade buyers -- who, if the ones I've seen are representative, have more to feel guilty about than burning vast quantities of dinosaur juice -- that'd make sense.

But I digress.

We're "flexing our power" today, and probably through the weekend if the weather forecasts are accurate. It's supposed to make us feel like good, caring citizens.

I bet every government office in the region is burning up electricity as fast as it can. Wouldn't want the politicians and bureaucrats to have to endure a taste of reality, would we?


lowandslow said...

I'm reading up now on "building green", and I can tell you much of what they propose doing will come back to bite me, the builder, in the butt. The running joke is, "You'd better have either an excellent mechanical contractor, or an excellent lawyer." One miscalculation and you're at the courthouse. Now I'm asking "green" do I really want to be?

Justfly said...

We have rolling black-outs sometimes. They want me to believe it is transformer that goes out. Amazingly it went out 3 times one very, hot summer week.

I only wish they would give prior warning to when I will have to live in "Colonial Times".

MrScribbler said...

jf -- they've been advertising the "flex alert" on the radio since 5:30 this morning....

CJ said...

It's soooo friggin hot.

T-E said...

A flex alert, what a coincidence. Of all the 100+ days last year and this year, all of a sudden the media says beware of today. If they knew it would be today, why not prepare the grid?

Supposedly my town blew a transformer on this lucky day "wink" and a power line elsewhere sagged under the weight of all the power and touched a tree limb.


Kim said...

Buy renewable power. We do and it only costs very slightly more than "normal" power. It's so stupid that alternative energy is not utilised more. Sure, the initial start up costs are high, but the maintenance, environmental costs and lifespan is much better.

But no, the Australian government would see that as putting coal workers out of a job, and we can't have that, no matter how short-sighted it is. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

John said...

All I can do is shake my head. One thing for sure, the powers that be have made sure there is a "grid" to be dependent upon, regardless of its energy sources. The philosophy of centralization prevails. I tend to prefer independent localized methods.
This way they can keep the collective
in line.
I saw a thing on enron and how much of CA's "crisis" was helped along in order to make energy brokers a tidy profit.