We agree with Larry Gross that Peter Galuszka did a good job with the column “Rethinking Lake Anna.”

Further, we agree with Peter that ramping up nuclear power is a topic that may be given too little attention in the rush to shrink humans carbon footprint.

Since Jim is on the road I will copy the comments from the string under to posting on the 27 December Bacon’s Rebellion so they are not mixed up with other comments on other columns in hopes of fostering more input.

We note that Jason Mark did a nice job on the topic (“Atomic Dreams”) in “Earth Island Journal.” Autumn 2007 reprinted in Utne Reader Jan / Feb 2008. The comments on the Utne Reader web site illustrate the power of the PR campaign now underway by the Nuclear Energy Institute / Hill and Knowlton which we will note in PART IV of THE ESTATES MATRIX.

As you might guess, our position is that the first order of business is to shrink Mass OverConsumption and to support strategies that result in a Distributed Grid, not massive new super-plants.


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28 responses to “MORE ON LAKE ANNA”

  1. E M Risse Avatar


    At 7:23 PM, Larry Gross said…

    good article on North Anna!

    … “The new 1,520-megwatt unit could electrify up to 350,000 more homes, helping meet burgeoning energy demand that Thomas F. Farrell II, the utility’s CEO, chairman and president, says could overwhelm the Virginia in coming years.”

    do the math.. and compare with your own usage…

    at 1500 KW average.. 1520 megawatts would appear to serve a million households… even if we don’t lift a finger to have more energy efficient homes/businesses and appliances, etc.

    You know what makes this “work”?

    a guaranteed return on investment.

    This would be an untenable prospect to investors if they had to risk market priced electricity for the next 50 years or more.

    Only the most risk tolerant would put their money to this if there were no government guarantees…

    the day that Green power comes of age is the day that these plants enter obsolescence …and the day that we get told that if Dominion has to power them down.. that it will cost ratepayers plenty….

    With that kind of dynamic.. the cards are not only stacked against Green power but ironically rate payers will be paying to keep it from coming online…

    I want to see what Virginia legislators signs on to this..

    At 12:51 AM, Anonymous said…
    “the day that Green power comes of age is the day that these plants enter obsolescence “

    In 1908 the New York papers were extolling the virtues of wave and tide generated energy, saying that the day would come when energy was virtually free.

    Of course the Nuke Boys were saying the same thing, once.

    We are still waiting.


    At 12:53 AM, Anonymous said…
    “1520 megawatts would appear to serve a million households”

    Isn’t NOVA expected to have another 2 million residents?

    This plant might not be enough.


    At 1:29 AM, Anonymous said…
    25% less pumps sounds like 25% less redundancy. I hope the pumps they have are 50% more leiable and they change them out twice as often.

    Let’s put the water tanks over the reactor, there’s a great idea. It’s like puttng solar panels on the roof. Ever see a steam explosion? A radioative steam explosion?

    How about if we just dig a giant deep hole under it? When it melts down we just let it fall in the hole and cover it over. It would save flying in a lot of helicopeters to bury it like they did in Chernobyl.

    At 2:16 PM, Larry Gross said…
    ………How about if we just dig a giant deep hole under it?

    well..yes of course.. there’s no such thing as ground water.. much less that it be part of an aquifer or that it moves like a river..

    At 2:25 PM, Larry Gross said…
    ….Isn’t NOVA expected to have another 2 million residents?

    and of course.. that’s an average of one person per home – right?

    so.. the average 2.5 per home is not a relevant number.. right?

    how many KW a month do you use?

    Take that number and divide it into the Dominion MW estimate and tell me how many homes you get…

    then report back…

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross


    ….”This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) paper, prepared at the request of the House Committee on Commerce, provides a primer on the subject of stranded costs.”

    Deregulating the retail market for electricity–generally referred to as restructuring the industry–has the potential to cut the prices that consumers pay for power. If prices drop, consumers gain. At the same time, however, many utilities lose. In traditionally regulated markets, utilities have been protected: they have had a monopoly in their area of service, and regulators have set prices high enough for utilities to recover their costs and earn a reasonable rate of return. Restructuring would remove that protection and introduce competition into the market. As a result, analysts believe, electricity prices would fall in many parts of the country. Those falling prices would erode the value of utilities’ assets, leaving some of their costs unrecoverable, or “stranded.” The total amount of stranded costs could be large–more than $100 billion nationwide, according to many estimates.


    Translation: If Dominion chooses Nukes over Green Power for the next 50 years – then we get to pay for that decision.. as an issue of “fairness” because it would be “unfair” for Dominion to plow all that investor money into Nukes (and coal plants) and have Green Power come along an provide competitive or even cheaper power.. 25 years from now.

    What this means is that the only way Green Power is going to advance in Va is if people themselves buy it ..

    Prediction: There will be efforts to further restrict/penalize private adoption of Green power

    Let’s see who among our elected steps up to actually represent their constituents….

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    I think the average is more like 2.2 or 2.1 per house. The ten nearest homes to me average less than 2.

    But even 2.5 means that most of the proposed plant capacity will be needed, especially considering that the trend is for more power use, not less.

    Today I had a lesson in environmental widgets. My water heater failed and I went to get a new one. The regular model cost $222 and uses $410 worth of electricity a year. The energy saving model has a processor in it that “learns” your usage pattern and automatically cuts back during the off times. It costs $444 and uses $397 worth of electricity a year.

    If it takes 19 years to pay back, not counting interest, the water heater probably won’t last long enough to have any ROI.

    Guess which one I bought?

    When I said giant deep hole I meant really deep, like MOHO deep.


  4. Not Ed Risse Avatar
    Not Ed Risse

    Poor baby, Ed Risse wants me to turn the lights out.

    No thanks, turn your own lights out and quit driving your car you socialist eco-hypocrite.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    “the only way Green Power is going to advance in Va is if people themselves buy it”


    Now, if only we can get to the place where green power actually advances the people who buy it…
    we’ll be home free.

    But like I said, in 1908 the New York papers wer all agog at the thought of wave and tidal power. It is possible, we have some, we’ve been waiting a hundred years; what do you supppose the problem could po$$ibly be?


  6. Anonymous Avatar

    RE: Water heaters and energy use.

    When we built our house in 2003, the plumber on the job recommended a continuous water heater, which heats water and supplies it as needed. It has been great!

    On the rare occasions when we have a lot of house guests, there’s plenty of hot water. When there’s just the 2 of us, there’s only as much as we need. If we go away for 2 weeks, there’s none for 2 weeks. A sizable quantity of water doesn’t have to be maintained at a high temperature so you save energy. There’s no huge tank taking up space, just a small box on the side of the house; and you don’t one day find yourself standing in 3 inches of water when it springs a leak.

    Deena Flinchum

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    More nukes in Lake Anna means more heated water released into estuaries.

    The danger for the environment is receiving the attention it deserves.

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Sorry, meant to write:

    The danger for the environment is NOT receiving the attention it deserves.

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    Yep, the continuous or instant hot water heaters are the way to go. But, if we convert to peak pricing for electricity, that may not be true. The instant hoat water heater uses a lot of current just as you need it, which may well be during the peak pricing period.

    In that case a conventional tankk water heater might be more economic, even if it is more wasteful. It will heat water during the off peak period and hold it until it is used. It will use more electricity, but do it at a time when the cost is lower.

    Pay your money take your choice.

    I had inteneded to switch to an instant heater, but when the time came I wasn’t ready.


  10. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: tankless water heaters and peak hour pricing

    well.. you’d not use a tankless water heater during peak hour…now would you? Of course you COULD because even paying a huge premium for the electricity would still be cheaper than keeping it piping hot for 24 hours just so you could use it for 20 minutes… right?

    but as per usual – this does not need to be an either/or choice.

    again..it’s all about wanting to maintain the status quo no matter how much it really costs us…”just don’t make me change”…

    A smaller water heater combined with a tankless heater could get you the best of both worlds.

    OR if everyone did what my electric company helps me to do – it would be a good compromise also….

    My electric company can and does cut off power to my water heater at peak hour.

    I still have plenty of hot water.

    I can still get my shower.. but then the re-heating is deferred until later in the night.

    the box that they use is available to everyone.. you don’t need dominion to install it.. but then we could ask why Dominion would rather build peak hour facilities instead of using this box… or at least offering it to people and sweetening the deal with free water heater repairs.. as my company does.

    Another strategy would be to have a smaller heater with the water temp kept lower and a “booster” to bring it up to desired temp much like the internal heater on dish washers work.

    Some of this stuff does not really require major sacrifices, only small changes in our behaviors to essentially not do .. really dumb stuff .. like everyone having their water heaters trying to reheat at the very time there is a massive strain on the network…already trying to keep up with home heating and cooling, etc.

    but I still think bloggers here should take a closer look at the numbers that Dominion is using and compare it to your own use.

    Most folks use somewhere around 25 to 50 watts per square foot.. or about 1500KW hours for a 2000 sq foot home… although as they say “your mileage may vary”..

    the math… 25watts x 2000 sqft = 50Kw per day

    50Kw x 30days = 1500KW

    but take that number.. about 1500 per home (with about 2.4 occupants) and compare it to what Dominion is saying that the average home uses.

    See.. Dominion doesn’t seem to care if we do this.. and then they turn around and use the data to justify huge new facilities .. that we have to pay for… twice.. once for the new facilities and then again for the high-priced peak hour fuel.

    Dominion is not coming back and saying.. “if we could cut demand by 20% – we could put off building a new plant for 10 or 20 years…

    Dominion is not saying.. “if everyone used a water-heater timer, we could stop burning peak hour fuel at 8 times regular fuel prices

    all Dominion is saying instead.. is that we need to build new plants and new power lines as quickly as possible or we’ll have brownouts and even blackouts.

    They WANT to build those plants. More plants = more profits and any business naturally wants to expand their business.. you cannot blame them… but wants good for them runs counter to what is good for us – and the environment.

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    What’s wrong with profits?

  12. Anonymous Avatar


    My hot water bill is $250 a year, maybe.

    I’m gonna spend $220 dollars for a normal water heater PLUS $750 for a tankless heater, THEN I’m going to monitor when the peak electric period is (if and when that comes) AND I’ll have a microporcessor algorithmn to decide when I should use which hot water to save WHAT, $13 a year?

    I don’t think so. Two water heaters to save energy is truly an idiotic idea. It is a primary example of what is wrong with the environmental movement today. Idiocy.

    I’ll have a regular hot water heater, and waste the energy on off peak. When I get around to it, I’ll install a solar hot water booster or preheater, which I can do for maybe $200.

    In the meantime, I plan to to enjoy my water and energy wasting spa tub, after a hard day on the farm.


  13. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I think you’re looking (as usual) at the status quo and not the longer term implications.

    The water heater analogy is more akin to comparing an incandescent light to a fluorescent or even an LED light.

    If you look at your cost of ownership which includes your outlay for the equipment plus the operational costs would you save money as well as energy.

    Tankless water heaters are supposed to last for 20 years or more, for instance.

    Tankless water heaters are use quite extensively throughout Europe.

    In looking at websites, I came across an electric cooperative that said that for household uses that need Heat, that the most efficient and cost effective strategy is to burn the fuel at the point where you need the heat rather than burning fuel .. to covert it into electricity.. transmit it long distances.., to be converted back into ..HEAT.

    I haven’t looked into it further but it is an interesting perspective.

    here’s the website:


  14. Anonymous Avatar

    If the long term implications are far enough out, they don’t make very much difference.

    That said, I agree with you. When I bought my Prius, people laughed at me as an early adopter. With $3 gas, they aren’t laughing any longer. In that case, the long term implications turned out to be short term. You take a long term gamble, sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.

    With respect to the water heaters, with a flash heater, you pay the instant electric rates. If we go to peak pricing, it will negate much of the savings value of a flash heater.

    I don’t believe they will last 20 years, or be efficient if they do. Most boilers develop significant scale, long before then, and high temp boilers more so. You can help prevent scale with a water softener, but thats another expense.

    And, water softeners replace calcium ions with sodium ions, so they are hell on water heaters and other metal parts.

    If you have a tank water heater, from a practical standpoint you will rase the temperature so that it will remain hot enough to use during the peak period. As a result you use MORE electricity, but at a lower price.

    To buy both, just so you can have the best of both words is truly nuts. The savings is no where near worth the cost.

    And that’s if you are just looking at dollars. Maybe you could save $20 or $25 a year, if you are a big user. Of that, only $2 to $5 is actually for the fuel. The environmental savings in GHG is not worth thinking about. I could save more fuel by giving my chainsaw a tuneup.


    “the most efficient and cost effective strategy is to burn the fuel at the point where you need the heat rather than burning fuel .. to covert it into electricity.. transmit it long distances.., to be converted back into ..HEAT.”

    Right, so the thing to do is convert to a propane or natural gas water heater and forget about peak period pricing.

    Now you are talking sense this idea IS correct. There are now available propane or natural gas fired small engines that are coupled with a heat pump and generator for home use. They are above 90% efficient becuse all the waste heat is captured. The engine, for efficiency needs to be larger than necessary to run the heat pump, so whenever the heat pump is on the unit produces electricity which is sold back to the grid. Waste heat is used to augment the heat pump and heat hot water. They are particularly efficient and most used in Florida where air conditioning is used extensively.

    And of course you have an emergency generator. Such COGEN systems, if they become popular will make a distributed power grid a reality. Of course the power company wil still have to charge for operating the grid itself and the peak power needs.

    The downside is that along with distributing the power production, such units also distribut eht maintenance tasks, so count on a lot more service trucks driving around.

    Even so, this idea is probably far more cost effective than solar photovoltaic, and less effective than passive solar thermal.

    I’m not afraid to promote environmental widgets tht I think make sense, but a lot of them still don’t.


  15. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    except none of these things will work if we have to pay Dominion for the Nuke…

    If we cut/back and save money..if too many people do this… this Dominion will come back and ask for a rate increase so that they get their “guaranteed” return.


    If it was structured so that Dominion could not raise the rates if folks started using other technologies… could Dominion still financially afford to build the nuke?

    this is the concern.

    we all lose in the longer run, the ability to use/adopt greener/more efficient/cost effective technologies if the deal is that we have to pay Dominion no matter what.

  16. Anonymous Avatar

    The point is that we don’t have greener and more effcient and more cost effective technologies.

    What we have is greener, less efficient and more costly. Even if we use them, we still have to keep Dominion in business no matter what, because someone has to manage the grid.

    Given the hundred year plus history of wave and tidal technology, Dominion could build several nukes and retire them before other technologies take over.

    It is a conundrum that the more we cut back, the lower the prices go – for everybody else.

    Jim Kibler said it quite well: market forces and the conservation ethic are not mutually exclusive. We should welcome and encourage Dominions ability to make a profit, along with the developers and all our other “enemies”. As Kibler put it “A true conservationist focuses on the bottom line in a holistic sense.”

    We waste too much time pointing the finger at those we think “Aren’t Paying Their Full Costs” or those who are making “short term profits” without looking at the whole picture.

    At the same time, we expect everyone to pay a fortune up front for our favorite technology or mandate which has little or no real return.

    WE need to play this game with the same steely eyed vision as the profit makers. When we do, we will have a lot more people on our side.


  17. Michael Ryan Avatar
    Michael Ryan

    So, given the “distributed grid” strategy, can we assume BR is pretty excited about the new micro-reactors?

    Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.

  18. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I’m all for making a profit.

    I’m also all for letting anyone decide who they want to buy a product from and let competition encourage the folks selling the products and making a profit – decide how prosper as a provider of good quality products, fairly priced.

    When you guarantee a rate of return AND you guarantee that customers will pay for all stranded costs – then you’ve stifled innovation and competition AND you’ve taken away from customers their ability to choose.

    This arrangement basically guarantees that no matter how good or bad a job that Dominion does – that customers will be forced to pay whatever costs are incurred.

    There is no incentive to be more efficient, to encourage conservation, or to even look at more cost effective strategies – even for conventional or Nuke power – because the costs are guaranteed to be “covered” by the ratepayers.

  19. Anonymous Avatar

    Some people are never happy. You want to guarantee that power will be available, but you don’t want to guarantee to pay, AND you want to tell them what kind of power to use and how to run their business. It boils down to wanting something for nothing.

    At least you are in favor of profits.

    Since you won’t agree on the textbook definition of “efficient” but want to define that as any amount of money now for some eventual savings, what other option is there but for costs to be covered by the ratepayers?

    Regardless of what they turn out to be, Who else is going to cover the costs? Taxpayers? Our retirement funds?

    Oh, and don’t you suppose that Fluor has a similar clause in their HOT lane contract?


  20. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    the way that water/sewer and cell phone minutes is done where the more frequent and more intensive consumers pay more proportionately allows each person to decide how much to use and how much to pay and benefits those that want to conserve.

    The way the system currently works energy is comparable to charging the folks who want the cheap seats in a stadium extra to help pay for the sky boxes.

    Let the folks who want the sky boxes pay for them.

    and just FYI.. with regard to Fluor and HOT Lanes ..there will be shortly a mini-revelation (at least for some of us) that will be richly dripping in irony.. with respect to who pays and who benefits…

    hint: those who like subsidized rate-paying will LOVE the financial plan for the HOT lanes.

  21. Anonymous Avatar

    I don’t know about your plan, but my company offers a lower rate per minute, if I buy more minutes.

    One reason for this offer is that it reduces their risk of having stranded investments.

    Your analogy on the stadium is wrong. The way it works is that people who show up every week get a break. It is they that make it possible for the remaining seats to be sold for what the market will bear.


  22. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “One reason for this offer is that it reduces their risk of having stranded investments.”

    you’ll have to explain that one.

    I can see where it increases their profits but how does it give them MORE money to pay for future towers due to higher use?

    They basically have a pipe with a fixed capacity.

    If they currently have excess capacity, they could squeeze more profits by encouraging more use of the existing capacity….

    but if they run out of capacity and need to expand … make a bigger pipe – what happens?

    So.. as long as they have excess capacity..they’ll make that deal with you but when their capacity gets tighter.. it would be to their advantage to NOT sell minutes cheaper for volume usage.

    That’s pretty much the same way that abortive water/sewer authorities have operated.

    They encouraged excess consumption because they had excess capacity but when they ran out of capacity – they had no choice but to increase rates..

    The better run authorities do not do this. They charge an up front fee for “availability” of capacity and then they charge a proportional higher fee for higher usage because ultimately higher usage means they’ll have to expand capacity – with or without new hookups.

    with regard to the stadium analogy. Cheap seats were around long before the sky towers.. right?

    cheap seats were around at the same time seats were available on the 50-yard line… same exact seat..

    with your approach.. everyone pays the same price and then everyone scrambles to see who can get the 50-yard line seats.. winners and losers… as opposed to having each person pay for what they want.

    If you want a long hot shower at the time that it will cost 8 times the normal cost to provide you with that long hot hot – that cost – should belong to you.

    Under your plan – you get to take that long hot shower – and force your neighbors help you pay for it even if they choose to not take long hot showers… when electricity is 8 times normal cost.

    You seem to think that the basics of supply/demand are “unfair” and that the proper response is for everyone to chip in the same amount and then use whatever they wish to use … and what that does is lead to folks who will not care how much they use – because the incremental cost of using “more” is minimal… far less.. than what it would be than if they had to pay the full cost.

    Your idea is to have all the TV’s at Walmart priced exactly the same and then let folks “choose” what kind of TV they want.. and of course virtually everyone will choose the high dollar models and so we’d have to keep raising the price we charge everyone…

    there would be absolutely no benefit to choosing a lower cost TV.. in fact, you’d be a dummy to do so under that pricing arrangement.

    Well.. that’s pretty much how electricity and roads are priced right now.

    You pay a minimal increase for vastly increased usage because the cost is spread across everyone else. People who conserve end up having to pay more.. for the others who do not conserve when the rates inevitably have to be increase to pay for more system capacity.

    Peak hour electricity costs 8 times more than non-peak hour electricity.

    The folks who want that peak hour electricity no matter what – should pay for it.

  23. Anonymous Avatar

    In my hay business have certain customers I can count on year after year, except for the ones that die. They are my bread and butter, and they get special consideration.

    After their needs are met, everything else goes out to the highest bidder, or whatever I can stick it to for the guy that shows up Sunday afternoon with a trailer and four kids in the truck.

    But, if that guy shows up before I’v met my basic quota for my main customers, then I have to send him away empty, because I don’t know if he will be back next year.

    But, I have a limited pipe. I’m only one guy and I can only drive my tractor so fast. If I’m really not meeting my costs, I have to raise the price, even to my best customers.

    If they refuse to pay, I have a stranded investment: that big new tractor I bought last year.

    Now, the government (and others) constantly tells me how important it is to save our farms from development, but unlike Dominion, the government does not offer me a guranteed return on my farm investments. Not only that, but it now appears that they will soon demand new large investments – to benefit everyone else.


    “Under your plan – you get to take that long hot shower – and force your neighbors help you pay for it even if they choose to not take long hot showers… when electricity is 8 times normal cost.”

    You are clearly not listening to what I have said, and such comments are outside the usually cilil discourse conducted here.

    I have never said any such thing. I agree that people should pay peak load costs.

    BUT, I don’t think it will have anything like the savings or conservation effect you seem to think it will.

    I think most people are stuck taking their shower when they need to , and leveing for work when they need to.

    I think the really big users of energy will continue to use a lot of energy, and THEY can shift off peak if they need to, and do it cost effectively.

    Joe six pack can’t. Joe Carbernet might have slightly more options – he’s got flex time, but the guy driving a loader doesn’t.

    What I think is that Dominion has cleverly read the political tea leaves. They have figured out how to corrupt thnking of the environmental movement in such a way that they will get more profits.

    BUT, since they are ONLY guaranteed a reasonable return on investment, raising the rates on Joe six pack means they can lower the rates for their major customers.

    There is a difference between cheap seats and expensive seats, cheap power and peak power.

    There is ALSO a difference between loyal customers, big customers, and casual customers.

    SO, what happens is that with HOT lanes or peak pricing, there is SOME benefit, but it is nowhere near the benefit you believe will happen.

    From a busineess perspective, my problem is to make the most profit from the best mix of loyal customers, big customers, and sudden demand customers.

    You seem to think that peak pricing will result in either less usage, or more usage off peak, and that we will somehow all get huge savings in the breach.

    I think that more usage off peak still uses the same amount of energy, only now it is coal instead of natural gas. I’m not sure that is an environental “win”.

    I think that less usage will result in some small reduction in the investment in peaking capacity, but that will not result in huge savings to the average user. That guy is still going to do what he needs to do.

    Which raises two questions. Where does all the extra revenue go? Dominion is allowed a reasonable return, not windfalls. My guess is that rates go DOWN somewhere, and that is to the big users.

    Where does the extra revenue come from? The average Joe will get it by not spending it someplace else. What that means is that his usual vendors, the guys who have to compete on the street, wind up having a wealth transfer to Dominion, (and its large customers) which is regulated to guarantee a profit.

    Even if this DOES result in less electricity usage, Dominion still has a requirement to maintain enough stuff to meet peak loads (security, health, and all that). Now they get paid for investing in stuff, and not using it. It is hard to see how that is an economic plus, let alone an environmental plus. This is like investing more money in underused rural roads, in case we ever need them.

    When you talk about peak hour lectricity costin 8 times as much as off peak, that is a prety rare occurance. The real peaks are a lot higher than even that, but we are still not talking about an everyday event. Not for the peak peaks, and not for the ordinary peaks.

    Will peak pricing encourage some conservation?

    No doubt.

    Will it be worth the effort and expense, will it resut in a net gain for everyone over all?

    I doubt it.

    Look at Dominions revenues five years from now, and then tell me how it turned out. I’m pretty sure the revenues will be higher, and the electricity produced will be higher too.

    Joe Six pack will be footing the bill, for what? The privilege of being told when to shower?


  24. Anonymous Avatar

    “…the rates inevitably have to be increase to pay for more system capacity.”

    That is going to happen whether some conserve or not. And those that conserve will benefit from more system capacity, whether they use it or not. To the extent they conserve, they will still pay less for more system capacity.

    I don’t see what the complaint is.

    What you are really saying is that those that conserve, should ALSO be allowed to set the prices for everyone else, in such a way that they get a larger benefit than they would get from conservation alone.

    It is a reverse subsidy.


  25. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    you seem to agree that, in principle, people should pay for the actual costs they incur… (i.e. peak hour).. but then you go through what I think is really tortured logic to end up – opposed to implementation (peak hour pricing) because you don’t think it will “work” because it is “unfair”…. and that folks have no choice but to use power that costs 8 times non-peak costs.

    So.. are you opposed to peak hour pricing?

    that’s a question… not a statement.

    Let’s put aside whether you think folks have a choice or not or whether you think peak hour or life in general is “fair” or not… just a simple answer as to whether you think that peak hour pricing for electricity is a legitimate way to price electricity that should be implemented.

    Is your answer yes or no or “I don’t know”?

    that’s all I was really after.. was your position on peak hour pricing as an implemented economic practice.

  26. Anonymous Avatar

    I didn’t say it is unfair, and I admit the logic is tortured. I’m not opposed to peak hour pricing, but I don’t necessarily support it.

    What it boils down to (in my unproven opinion) is that we will have a whole bunch of new technology, expense, and accounting, and it won’t save us very much, if anything. It will be a pain in the butt, and a nuisance.

    We still expect the use of electricity to expand, not decrease. We still need to maintain an adequate level of peak power. And people still live relatively ordered lives.

    As an implemented economic practice, it meets all the criteria that an economist would approve of. That STILL doesn’t mean its a good idea, overall, or that it will provide any environmental benefit.

    My guess is that the utilities have figured out a way to use the environmentalists position to help sell an idea that works primarily to their own benefit and the benefit of their largest customers.

    For you and me it will save little and maybe cost more. Really, if my hot water bill is less than a buck a day now, how much can it save me? And it is going to cost $120 bucks for that gee whiz meter. I think this is being oversold.

    I also think that peak electric pricing is an entirely different deal than peak road pricing.


  27. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “I’m not opposed to peak hour pricing, but I don’t necessarily support it.”

    geeze.. sounds like you are a spokesman for a politician…

    didn’t you forget putting “necessarily” in front of the “opposed” in that sentence also?


  28. Anonymous Avatar

    Peak pricing is a valid economic theory, or precept. I don;t have any problem with that. It is just that in this case, I think the benefits are being oversold. Whenever there are a lot of salesmen, I start to get suspicious.

    Just my opinion, with no facts behind it.

    I have a peak load situation on the farm too. Everyone wants hay in Jan and Feb. I have big infrastructure to meet that peak load.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have SCC looking out for me, and I can’t (often) charge my peak customers more. But, I’m in a competitive environment and Dominion/HOT lanes are not.



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