-

Jump to content



Photo
- - - - -

deregulation backfires in Maryland


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
37 replies to this topic

#1 of 38 Micah Cohen

Micah Cohen

    Screenwriter

  • 1,156 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 08 2000

Posted March 27 2006 - 04:18 AM

Years ago, the Maryland state government deregulated our electric & gas utilities. This was supposed to make for competition, but of course it did not, because Baltimore Gas & Electric got special treatment to keep their rates low so no one could compete.

Now, the problem is about to come home to roost. On July 1, my BGE electric and gas bill will go up 72%, can you believe this?

I will choose to pay the increase in a lump sum right at the beginning, so I don't get slapped with an extra
interest fee by spreading the payments out. But this is a horrible rip off. And no one will in power will suffer. In fact, state legislatures just voted themselves a nice pay raise.

How is it that this happens? Why do we take it (in the behind) like sheep?

More to the point, what can I do around the house to cut my already relatively small electric bill? First, I'll switch out my powered DefTech loudspeakers for non-powered Polks. Should I switch all my regular warm yellow light bulbs to those "energy saving" bulbs, which are usually sort of white instead of warm yellow? Can I throw this computer out my window? Suggestions?

MC
ultramicah@yahoo.com

"There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." - Lon Chaney

#2 of 38 JeremyErwin

JeremyErwin

    Producer

  • 3,219 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 11 2001

Posted March 27 2006 - 04:25 AM

Be sure that when you do switch to polks, you don't power them with a Class A amplifier.

#3 of 38 Joseph DeMartino

Joseph DeMartino

    Lead Actor

  • 8,301 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 1969
  • Real Name:Joseph DeMartino
  • LocationFlorida

Posted March 27 2006 - 05:39 AM

1) You didn't get deregulation. You got a shell game where one form of government intervention in the economy was replaced by another. So deregulation didn't backfire, it was never tried.

2) If BG&E got "special treatment" to keep their rates low they were basically getting a government subsidy. So you were paying through your taxes for the "low" energy bill anyway. Now the subsidy has been pulled and you're facing market rates in a time when demand (especially from countries like India and China) and political uncertainty have pushed energy prices to very high levels. Sucks, but it doesn't tell us anything one way or the other about the value of deregulation.

3) Most "energy saving" bulbs are a scam. Posted Image

All I can say, as a former Maryland resident, is that I'm not surprised. The state motto really should be, "Maryland - Just Like New Jersey But with Nicer Beaches" Posted Image

Regards,

Joe

#4 of 38 Joseph DeMartino

Joseph DeMartino

    Lead Actor

  • 8,301 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 1969
  • Real Name:Joseph DeMartino
  • LocationFlorida

Posted March 27 2006 - 05:46 AM

Quote:
Can I throw this computer out my window?


This would only have a chance of helping the situation if you lived in Annapolis, preferably somewhere near the State House. Then you might have a chance of beaning a passing state representative or senator. Posted Image (There would be little danger of injuring one, owing to the thickness of their skulls, but you might get somebody's attention.)

Regards,

Joe

#5 of 38 Fred Seger

Fred Seger

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 137 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 13 2000

Posted March 27 2006 - 05:57 AM

Quote:
3) Most "energy saving" bulbs are a scam.


what do you mean? That the CF bulbs really don't use less energy or that the energy cost saved doesn't offset the cost of the bulb?

#6 of 38 JeremyErwin

JeremyErwin

    Producer

  • 3,219 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 11 2001

Posted March 27 2006 - 06:10 AM

gas-- heating
electricity-- air conditioning

those are probably the major consumers of energy in your house. However. it's entirely possible that your home is filled with small electrical devices (alarm clocks, for instance) that were designed with no regard for energyl conservation.

Quote:
Can someone please tell me why this device consumes 7 watts in "standby mode"?

Gee, Boss, I don't know. But we do save 40 cents a unit on parts costs.

Good Enough. Ship it!


#7 of 38 KevinGress

KevinGress

    Supporting Actor

  • 613 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 24 2005

Posted March 27 2006 - 06:21 AM

Quote:
gas-- heating
electricity-- air conditioning

those are probably the major consumers of electricity in your house. However. it's entirely possible that your home is filled with small electrical devices (alarm clocks, for instance) that were designed with no regard for energyl conservation.


Jeremy's right - us consumers, as a whole, are very unaware of the amount of energy our homes use. Out of curiousity, I've been researching windpower, and some of the things I've learned: (courtesy of www.otherpower.com)

- Remote Controlled appliances--TVs, VCRs, stereos and such that turn on when you push a button on the remote. We've measured some TVs that use 6 watts (half an amp out of a 12-volt battery) just sitting there waiting for you to push "ON" on the remote!

- Wall Warts--Those ubiquitous black cubes that plug into your sockets. These force you to make 12 volt DC power to charge your batteries, convert it to 110 volt AC with an inverter (and with power loss), then they convert it back down to around 12 volts DC (again at a loss). Plus they use power when your printer, charger, laptop computer, etc. is not even on!

- Incandescent Light Bulbs--These dinosaurs produce 90% heat and only 10% light. Halogen lights are only slightly better, but last much longer.

- Phantom Loads--Any appliance that draws power even when turned off. Includes the TVs and VCRs with remotes mentioned above, anything that has a clock (microwave, clock radio), and anything where you touch a button to turn on the power instead of just flipping an old-fashioned switch, even such innoccous items as washing machines.

They even talk about how small night lights are energy wasters and that LEDs meant to replace bulbs aren't as efficient as we'd like to think.

Unfortunately, not a lot of options - either turn off lights, unplug items, and be anal about it, or simply grumble and pay the bills.

#8 of 38 Micah Cohen

Micah Cohen

    Screenwriter

  • 1,156 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 08 2000

Posted March 27 2006 - 07:15 AM

Quote:
Just Like New Jersey But with Nicer Beaches
Well, first of all, I laughed out loud at that. Been to Ocean City (MD) lately? New Jersey's lookin' mighty nice.

Second of all, I'm distressed about all the things, the little tiny remote control push-a-button things in my house now... Just in this room: table-top stereo, printer, thermal printer (with wall-wart), wireless router, computer, desk lamp, bed-side lamp... Yipes!

What if I installed a single switch in each room, next to the main light switch by the door, that in effect acted as a main room switch? Turning it off when I walk out of the room would turn off all the outlets in the room, which I would turn on when I walk back into the room?

I'm stocking up on candles and hand-fans. It'll be like living in a cave. Posted Image

MC
ultramicah@yahoo.com

"There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." - Lon Chaney

#9 of 38 Micah Cohen

Micah Cohen

    Screenwriter

  • 1,156 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 08 2000

Posted March 27 2006 - 07:30 AM

WHOA! [moving some wires around and looking behind stuff] And THREE electric clocks in this small room alone! THREE!

Posted Image

MC
ultramicah@yahoo.com

"There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." - Lon Chaney

#10 of 38 JeremyErwin

JeremyErwin

    Producer

  • 3,219 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 11 2001

Posted March 27 2006 - 07:31 AM

Quote:
1) You didn't get deregulation. You got a shell game where one form of government intervention in the economy was replaced by another. So deregulation didn't backfire, it was never tried.

An excuse eerily reminiscent of marxist apologetics.

#11 of 38 RobertR

RobertR

    Lead Actor

  • 9,488 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 19 1998

Posted March 27 2006 - 07:48 AM

Quote:
An excuse eerily reminiscent of marxist apologetics.
Which is not to say that true deregulation is impossible or that it produces results indistinguishable from true marxism.

#12 of 38 Lynda-Marie

Lynda-Marie

    Supporting Actor

  • 762 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 03 2004

Posted March 27 2006 - 07:53 AM

Micah, here is a new theme song for you and your fellow energy customers in Maryland. It's REAL popular on this coast.

To the tune of the Mickey Mouse Club Theme:

So grab your ankles
Drop your drawers
And take it like a man
F-U-C-K-E-D A-G-A-I-N

Here in Washington State, the shell game we get are the drives to "conserve energy" or water or some other resource. I remember one year, there was a drive to save 10 million of gallons of water per day, by being much more efficient in watering lawns, doing only full loads of laundry, etc. The actual total saved was about 15-18 million gallons per day, due to people REALLY wanting to save money on their bills.

Unfortunately, we were just a little TOO enthusiastic, because the water bills jumped - don't remember the percentage, but it was ridiculous - because the (f)utility was losing money. That's right, people of Washington, you were so efficient, that now we have to raise your bills. Posted Image

The shape I'm in you could donate my body to science fiction! - Rodney Dangerfield, "Back to School"

#13 of 38 Todd Hochard

Todd Hochard

    Screenwriter

  • 2,314 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 24 1999

Posted March 27 2006 - 10:12 AM

There's really two sides to this-

1. The notion that any basic, needed service (such as heat and electricity) would do better on the free market is laughable to me. C'mon- you have a 100% captive audience. One need look no further than the 40c increase in gas prices (that's here in NoVA) in the last four weeks to see this.

2. Then again, the notion that nearly any American would conserve resources "just 'cause" is equally laughable, so a nice hard jab to the wallet is usually the only thing that works. After all, look at what you're doing.

Quote:
3) Most "energy saving" bulbs are a scam.
Please, do explain.

Todd
I love to singa, about the moon-a, and the june-a, and the springa...
-Owl Jolson

#14 of 38 RobertR

RobertR

    Lead Actor

  • 9,488 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 19 1998

Posted March 27 2006 - 11:17 AM

Quote:
The notion that any basic, needed service (such as heat and electricity) would do better on the free market is laughable to me.
There are plenty of things that could be said to be "basic and needed", such as food, housing, and clothing. Few would argue that such industries would do better being State owned/operated, and that the market doesn't do a better job.

It fascinates me that legally declared monopolies, subsidized, protected, and told how to operate (cable is another example) are held up as examples of the "failure of the market".

#15 of 38 Bryan X

Bryan X

    Producer

  • 3,469 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 10 2003

Posted March 27 2006 - 11:28 AM

Quote:
There are plenty of things that could be said to be "basic and needed", such as food, housing, and clothing. Few would argue that such industries would do better being State owned/operated, and that the market doesn't do a better job.


You have a lot more options for food, housing, and clothing than you have for fuel, electricity, gas, etc. They are hardly comparable commodities.

#16 of 38 RobertR

RobertR

    Lead Actor

  • 9,488 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 19 1998

Posted March 27 2006 - 11:33 AM

Quote:
You have a lot more options for food, housing, and clothing than you have for fuel, electricity, gas, etc.
Indeed you do, because government has decreed that it be so.

Years ago we used to hear the same argument made about telephone service--that it was a "natural monopoly" that "had" to be provided by one company. Fortunately, that idea was junked, and we have many more choices now. That example and the food, housing, and clothing ones demonstrate that the "basic, needed" nature of a good or service has nothing to do with whether it can best be provided by the free market.

#17 of 38 Bryan X

Bryan X

    Producer

  • 3,469 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 10 2003

Posted March 27 2006 - 11:45 AM

Telephone deregulation was a good idea. But again, hardly comparable to scarce-resource markets like gas, electric, fuel. The barriers to entry are far different.

Don't get me wrong, outside these unique markets, I'm very much against government market regulation in general.

But let's be realistic, one economic solution does not fit all markets.

#18 of 38 Micah Cohen

Micah Cohen

    Screenwriter

  • 1,156 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 08 2000

Posted March 27 2006 - 01:56 PM

I don't know much about world markets, free markets, trade agreements, monopolies or government, but I do know this: I know that the heads of oil companies and car manufacturers never stress about the price of gasoline. I know that heads of electric companies never stress about the cost of a kilowatt hour. I know that the people we elect to office are experts at voting themselves pay raises and not much else. I know that in my city, you have only one option when it comes to cable TV "choice." And I know that the heads of tobacco companies, fast food companies and soft drink companies probably don't use their own products themselves anymore.

And I know that We The People are sheep -- Sheeple -- and we are truly ok with all this. We want to be conned into thinking that we need to "conserve" merely because our wallets are pinched (and that "conserving" will suddenly "help"). We want to believe that fast food is ok for our bodies and for our children. We know we can't have better cars, more choice, more options, better energy production. If we did, what on earth would we complain about? We may scoff at televangelists and their transparent come-ons for our money, but we gladly empty our wallets for the real scammers, the oil companies and the utilities and the politicians.

Where are the economical, efficient cars? Where is the efficient, inexpensive power?

We The Sheeple.

No one is going to keep my energy bill from skyrocketing this summer. And my money is going to go into the pockets of someone who is not nearly as worried about it as I am. There is something deeply wrong about this equation.

Now, where's my kerosene lamp, Paul Revere?

Posted Image

MC
ultramicah@yahoo.com

"There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." - Lon Chaney

#19 of 38 JeremyErwin

JeremyErwin

    Producer

  • 3,219 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 11 2001

Posted March 27 2006 - 02:14 PM

I never stress about the price of gasoline.Posted Image

Then again, I don't drive.

#20 of 38 Micah Cohen

Micah Cohen

    Screenwriter

  • 1,156 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 08 2000

Posted March 27 2006 - 03:19 PM

Well, I never stress about tobacco taxes or the cost of a pack of cigarettes. I don't smoke.

I never stress over the cost of napkins at the supermarket. I steal them in bulk from Dunkin Donuts wherever I stop there for a coffee.

I never stress over the cost of a newspaper. I read them online.

I sometimes feel like I've whittled my life down to these few necessities -- internet connection, coffee machine, home theater & music systems, car and bicycle, free book store, soy milk -- and to have the electric bill leap up like it will in July, out of my control without my changing anything, is a huge affront.

I am affronted.

MC
ultramicah@yahoo.com

"There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." - Lon Chaney


Back to After Hours Lounge



Forum Nav Content I Follow