I Need My MTV

As predicted, California has now banned the sale of big TV sets because “they use too much energy.”  This coming from the California Energy Commission whose job is to produce more energy. I guess, like President Obama, they see a kilowatt saved as a kilowatt produced (for Obama read kilowatt as job). The Energy Commission has overseen the complete dismantling of energy production in the state: nuclear power and oil drilling have been stopped, marginal electric rates have gone up by a factor of 4, gasoline is more expensive here than anywhere else, …

The press report on the ban, which I’m sure was just copied straight from CEC propaganda, gave a few actual facts: 6515 billion watt-hours per year of electric energy savings at a benefit of $8.1B/year in reduced electric bills. Doing simple division that says that electricity saving are taken at $1.25/KW-hr, which is 7 times the average rate for electricity and 3 times the marginal rate for residential customers (7 times for business customers). CAN”T ANYONE IN THE PRESS DO DIVISION??? Obviously this doesn’t make any sense. Going further, 6515 billion watt-hours/year requires a 750 MW power plant which the CEC claims will cost 8.7 billion dollars. The current cost for such a coal burning power plant (which are built in Wyoming and Montana for California consumption) is about $2B, about 1/4 the costs they claim. Again, this computation requires a little division and knowing what a gigawatt and a kilowatt are, so maybe it is asking too much for the press to actually figure out when someone is blowing smoke up their butts.

Some of the comments of yahoo readers are much more interesting than the story. All the readers are against the ban and see it as an overreach by an ever increasing fascist/socialist government. [For those who think there is a difference between fascism and socialism, there isn’t.]  One reader wrote:

78 Posted by brenda25252 on Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:59PM EST

How long before they regulate how many TVs, computers, appliances, etc.? You’ll hear a knock at the door in the middle of the night…its the energy police operating an energy sting in your neighborhood. Can you say “big brother”?

Brenda: this has happened already. The California Air Resources Board has instituted a winter spare the air program in which fireplace police drive around neighborhoods sniffing for people who are using their fireplaces to heat their home. They will knock on your door and if you don’t answer or don’t let them in they will give you a ticket for using that fireplace. You must show up to court to defend yourself – you are guilty unless you can prove your innocence. Repeat offenders can be sent to jail.  Also, PG&E is now installing new “smart” meters that will, soon, be able to measure things like your using of appliances and computers and most air conditioning, so they won’t even have to knock on your door to figure out what you’re doing late at night.

Now the most ironic but uncovered point of this whole story is that while the CEC wants to save a few watts by banning TVs, they are promoting ELECTRIC CARS!!  A typical electric car requires 0.25 KW-hr/mile. Assuming by banning TVs you save 100 Watts/household for 8 hours a day, that corresponds to 0.8 KW-hr/day or 3.2 miles of electric vehicle travel. If their dreams of an electric car come to fruition, the only TV we will be able to buy will be the ones built into our cars.

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