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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Power for you, Power for me

India. Construction of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
I was just reading about 'load balancing' for electrical power utilities, and it occurred to me that we are overlooking something here. Seems to me that while everyone is concerned about the cost of power, residential users are more sensitive to power rates than businesses are. I'm not sure why this is. Perhaps because electrical power is such a small part of the budget for any kind of going concern, except perhaps for an aluminum foundry, but for a family living on wages, the power bill can be significant.
    I remember seeing an episode of Connections a while back where the hero was talking about how India was planning on building a giant new power plant to provide more power, but if they would have just replaced all their inefficient refrigerators with more efficient ones they could have cut their electrical consumption by a like amount. Supposedly replacing nine zillion refrigerators would have been cheaper than building a new power plant. They built the power plant anyway.
    Dustbury calculated that some personal computers cost as much to operate for a year as they cost to buy. I'm not sure I buy that, but doing the calculations to figure out if he is right or not would be a lot like work, and what I really want right now is a nap.
    I'm wondering if maybe we should have a sliding rate for electricity and water usage. Everyone gets their first kilowatt (or megawatt or whatever) for the same low rate. If you use more, the rate goes up. People who hold their consumption down to 'authorized' levels get off with a small bill. Wasteful sinners have to pay.

Inspired by Tam and The Silicon Greybeard

1 comment:

CGHill said...

The electric company here has three different rates: winter, summer, and none of the above. In summer, getting into four-digit kWh numbers gets you a surcharge.