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Power United States

California Utilities to Control Thermostats? 503

TeraBill writes "It seems that the California Energy Commission is looking to give utilities in the state the power to control the thermostats in private homes via a radio signal. The idea is that during times of significant energy crunch, the utilities could force thermostats to higher temperatures rather than having to implement a rolling blackout. The thermostats have been around for a while and new ones were on display at the CES show in Vegas this week. While I can see the argument for it, we just had a kid take over a tram system with a remote control, so how long before our thermostat gets hacked by the neighbors. And I'd almost rather have the power drop than have someone significantly raise the temperature in my home if I had a computer running there. (UPS and a graceful shutdown versus cooking something.)"
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California Utilities to Control Thermostats?

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  • by teslar ( 706653 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:00AM (#22012842)

    The thermostats referred to are connected to air conditioning
    Thanks for the info, now it actually makes sense to me. Here I was, wondering how exactly turning the heating up would help with reducing electricity...

    So I guess that does make the idea a lot more reasonable, although I would still rather feel that if your power grid can't always deal with the electricity demand, then it's the power grid that needs updating - on the other hand, this probably both cheaper and more enviromentally friendly.

    That leaves the one concern then: hacking of the system, especially since this is wireless. If the idea is to turn air conditioning down to reduce the strain on the power grid, then bad guys can use the same system and turn the air conditioning up to crash the grid. And what does TFA say about the possibility of hacking?

    That is not possible, said Nicole Tam, a spokeswoman for P.G.& E. who works with the pilot program in Stockton. Radio pages "are encrypted and encoded," Ms. Tam said
    Yeah right, like that's ever stopped anyone. Also, what is the difference between encrypted and encoded?
  • Horrible... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:00AM (#22012844)
    By the time they've got this in everyone's home, intruding in their lives like some third world dictatorship rationing bread, they could have built a new nuclear power plant or two.
  • by Erpo ( 237853 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:16AM (#22012938)
    This is a fundamentally broken system, like the cable companies relying on cable modems (in the customers' houses) to limit the amount of data customers can upload into the network per second. Uncapping, anyone? Unless the meters get smarter, "uncapping" a thermostat would be easy and very hard to detect.

    Instead, why not plan properly so that electricity shortages don't happen?

    As an aside, I don't think many people will take kindly to having their thermostats adjusted by an outside force. Being told "no" by technology tends to make people angry, even if it's for the greater social good. Ever seen a person get mad at a red traffic light? They don't realize that a red traffic light is not "the man" telling them no. It's a helpful, sensible warning that the cross traffic has a green light.

  • by Iloinen Lohikrme ( 880747 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:33AM (#22013026)

    You know the one thing that I really don't understand is saving energy via force, and not via using technology. Actually I really don't understand the whole drive to just save energy as saving energy doesn't necessarily even mean saving environment. We have the technology, we have had for long, to solve all our energy problems without sacrificing environment or economy. So why not build more nuclear power? It's environmentally friendly and economic. From western countries, France and Finland are both building new next generation plants, British government is leaning on building more and even in Sweden, who after the Chernobyl, made an alarmist decision to give up nuclear power, is starting to discuss on reverting that decision.

    So why not? Why not build more capacity to California and other parts of US? That way you could have your all the energy you need in low price and in time you could shut down your coal and oil power generation plants and take part in struggle against global warming. That would be a real solution to a problem, not a act to play more time, as is this proposition to take over the thermostats.

  • In South Africa (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hedleyroos ( 817147 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:42AM (#22013082)
    We don't call it "rolling blackouts" - we call it "load shedding".

    Actually we (the public) don't call it that. Eskom, the only electricity supplier (who just managed to hike rates by 14%) call it that. And the blackouts, sorry, load shedding, take place at random times. This results in businesses like small theatres without the means to buy generators sometimes losing lots of money, and Eskom can't be sued.

    This post is sounding like a parody of "in Soviet Russia", but the sad thing is it is not.
  • Re:Reasonable idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:49AM (#22013110)
    No, this is a terrible idea.

    If there's not enough power to go around, build up the infrastructure. I pay for a service. You provide it. How many decades do you have to suffer poor infrastructure problems before you finally start investing in it? How the hell do you run a business (and it is) by providing only what your current systems can handle and to hell with a growing demand for those services in the future? Imagine if the phone company had decided that, instead of requiring you to dial the area code every time you make a call, they had simply said "sorry, no more phone lines!" and decided not to invest in any sort of build-out whatsoever?

    This whole "oh my god, not enough power" thing is fine for a year or two, when it catches you off guard. Its' quite another more than a decade later.
  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:52AM (#22013128)
    I agree. I, as part of society, would also like to dictate how much gas you can buy, cable television you can watch, internet you can use, radio you can listen to, miles you can drive, children you can have, books you can read, light-bulbs you can buy, hours you can remain awake and food you can eat. After all, these are all resources and rather than cranking up supply to meet the demand, we'll just start forcing you to whatever limits we feel are best.
  • How long before... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sd1248 ( 671744 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:54AM (#22013142)
    How long people start pointing hair dryers at or placing heat packs over their thermostats?

    Anytime time some one further regulates our lives someone will find a way around it. The best way to control demand for a limited resource is to increase the price during peak periods. Once the price gets high enough people will actually start to see the cost savings in turning down the air conditioning or better insulating their houses.

    I prefer a cooler temperature however I have spent a lot of money insulating my house and only run the air conditioning in the one room I am using. I use less power than people with uninsulated houses that air condition every room even when their thermostat is set a few degrees higher.
  • by jlarocco ( 851450 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:01AM (#22013198) Homepage

    Sounds like a good idea.

    How is avoiding the real problem a "good idea"?

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:04AM (#22013216)
    Both are stupid ideas.

    Having everyone pulling power from a properly built infrastructure so that it can handle said demand is ideal. I don't know how long California has been having this problem, but it has been at least ten years and if you can't at least begin to increase your services in a decade, then you don't deserve to be in business.

    It's not like the energy isn't available. They just don't have the power grid to handle it. Rather than Orwell-ing me, how about improving your damn services?
  • by Melbourne Pete ( 1204418 ) <peter...roehlen@@@gmail...com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:10AM (#22013240)
    I'm not sure I'd want to be making too many complaints to the electricity company about my power bill. They could make things pretty uncomfortable for you if they took a disliking to you!
  • Economics? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OgreChow ( 206018 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:31AM (#22013352)
    Simple way to accomplish the same means: raise the price during peak hours. Works for cell phones, right?
  • by mr_matticus ( 928346 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:39AM (#22013396)
    Yeah, if there's 1000 people and 1000 fillups of gas available, I'd say it's fair to dictate 1 per person as a general rule.

    Most of your other examples don't deal with scarcity. If you change the facts to 500 cable subscribers on a line that can only support 480, then yes, there is going to be some bandwidth throttling or random dropouts. That's basically what you've got here.

    If there are six light bulbs and seven people needing one, someone's not getting a lightbulb, but it's probably not fair to let one person take all six. If food supply is down, rationing will hit sooner or later. Placing limits on usage where multiple people have a need for an essential service is a basic part of living in a community.

    "Cranking up supply" isn't that simple. That's obviously the long-term solution, but it does absolutely nothing in the present to address the problems of the present for the customers of the present. Your choices are (a) no power or (b) a system which overrides your preference to force greedy and ignorant bastards to conserve. The amount of power available to you is going to work out the same. Instead of black hours and all-or-nothing, there's a possibility of some slightly grey time which keeps your appliances on.

    It's not big brother, it's not an arbitrary intrusion. It's a solution to a problem that doesn't require much new infrastructure. It's got quite a bit of potential for abuse, but that's a separate issue.

    No one wants blowhards saying some people should sit in the dark so that they can run their A/C at 65 if they want...because those same asses are the ones that bitch loudest when their blackout block comes up. That is, unless you can wave your magic wand and increase capacity and grid management in the blink of an eye.
  • Re:Reasonable idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by knghtrider ( 685985 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:40AM (#22013406) Homepage
    >If there's not enough power to go around, build up the infrastructure.

    The power generation infrastructure suffers from too much 'NIMBY'. I lived in Indiana for years, and during the 90's; Duke power wanted to build several 'Peak Power' generation plants fired by Natural Gas. Every time they tried to get permits, the 'NIMBY' (Not In My Back Yard) crowd showed up and whined to the elected officials. Naturally, fearing a loss of votes elected officials caved.

    California is in much the same state; They haven't been able to build a power plant (thanks to the NIMBY's) for at least 2 decades. Now, they are suffering for it. Back in 2001, the DOE estimated that the US would need around 1900 power plants built by the year 2021. Yes, they've built wind farms, but now they're finding that the Wind Farms are killing Raptors and causing infestations of rats. http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=18447 [heartland.org]

    There is no easy answer--Conservation by us will help some, but ultimately we need clean, cheap power. On NUMB3RS last night, they were looking at putting up Solar Panels on Charlies house; which on a nice bright sunny day would generate more than what they used. IIRC, they were looking at some really cutting edge technology stuff. Currently, the break even point is about 12-18 years, but this company looks really promising. http://www.news.com/greentech/8301-11128_3-9835241-54.html?tag=nefd.top [news.com] At their cost of $1/watt it cuts the break even by as much as 66%.

  • Re:Reasonable idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:44AM (#22013430)
    Here's another idea: Create some competition to SDGE, and the first time they start turning off my A/C during the summer watch me switch to a new provider who builds an infrastructure that can keep up with demand and is willing to provide the energy I pay for.
  • by micheas ( 231635 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:48AM (#22013452) Homepage Journal
    In California If you produce more electricity than your use from the solar panels on your house you not only don't get to sell your excess electricity at wholesale rates you just get credits that expire on your anniversary of having net metering. This is unlike Germany where you get to sell your excess solar generated electricity at retail prices.

    Basically PG&E is going to make about $2,000 dollars off of me because I don't use enough electricity. (maybe I need to move some pizza boxes from the office to home, no I can hear the fans in the other room at work even with the door closed)

    The only debate we are having is to replace the hot water heaters or the stove with electric instead of gas so that we can increase our electric usage.

    California has an electricity shortage and many of their residents are scaling back solar installations and or scheming to use more electricity and they are going to install stupid devices that can be defeated by walking down to the drugstore and getting an instant heat pad to put on the thermostat. (Of course the real nerds will put a second thermostat on the hair dryer that is pointed at the radio controlled thermostat and have it blow hot air at the thing to get the house cool. I guess I need to go patent a really obvious design and get manufacturing lined up if this stupid nanny state regulation gets passed.

    Gee this a bad idea that has an obvious workaround by the dishonest and has lots of room for kickbacks and ignores the cause of the problem, I give it about an 80% chance of passing if the elected officials in Sacramento get paid their bribes^w campaign contributions.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:52AM (#22013476) Journal
    It's interesting that you bring up the 70's. I am reminded that back in the 70's, when Jimmy Carter was president, he proposed and had passed, several laws that were meant to force conservation of oil and gas and to get us off our addiction to foreign oil.

    All of these laws were repealed by the Reagan Administration, but if they had stayed in effect, who knows what improvement they might have brought to our current situation, in terms of overall carbon emissions and in geo-political terms.

    Hell, if we'd have reduced our dependence on foreign oil in the '70s, we might not be fighting islamoliberalfasciofeminazis right now.

    And the Right is now calling Jimmy Carter the worst president while G.W.Bush is in the White House, no less.

    Now that I think about it, he also brokered a peace agreement with Israel and Egypt that has never been broken, not once in more than 30 years.
  • Re:Reasonable idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:55AM (#22013490) Homepage

    If you want to make your computer shut down when the temperature gets too hot, you could probably rig something up.

    I doubt it's even necessary.

    Where I live it's 90F and 85+% humidity 365 days a year, and I absolutely never use air conditioning. Just leave the windows open and turn on a ceiling fan and it's perfectly nice. If I am leaving my computer on while I go out during the hottest part of the day, I leave a desk fan (on low setting) pointed at it, and it's never overheated yet.

    Not many people live in parts of California that need aircon. Bakersfield, Fresno? Sure. But the real population centres just aren't very warm places.

  • Around here ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:56AM (#22013496)
    ...in a northern state, we pay for the power we use. So, if we use more, we pay more. It's a pretty simple model and it works real well. I suppose in a socialist society, it is a problem because only a few are paying for everyone's power and so they do have to ration it.

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @09:07AM (#22013568)
    It can be a bit of an inconvenience because of the temperature rise in your house, but if your house is well insulated, you won't notice it that much.

    You notice it, like I did, when the condensing unit is powered down and powered back on too quickly and it trips the circuit breaker causing the house's temperature to rise to 88 degrees (with only a dog inside) while you're at work. When you get home, reset the circuit breaker, and attempt to get the house's temperature to something more reasonable, you cannot because they're still throttling you.

    The "savings" I see on my electric bill during the summer months isn't worth the hassle and the possibility of having a dog with heatstroke. I now keep a fan running in the kitchen just in case it happens again (it didn't occur last summer for whatever reason) and I'm positive that the "energy savings" is eliminated by running that fan.
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @09:11AM (#22013592) Homepage Journal
    That prevent the proper and adequate supply of electricity. The hoops my local has to go through to increase generating capacity is shameful. It practically comes down to bribing state representatives in order to build plants. Hell, even when providers try to build "green" sources they are fought in courts by one group or another. It has become downright disgusting how easy it is to prevent any improvement, green or otherwise to the system. It is mainly these roadblocks which result in coal plants being kept in service longer. In some cases making improvements at said plants is difficult as well because of regulation.

    You want to ban air condition, then get the government to do so first in their own buildings. Make them come up to the same specifications they impose on commercial and private properties. Make them conserve. Down here in Georgia we are suffering from a regulation caused water shortage. Stupid rules, monolithic government agencies, and ease of filing suits with willing courts have resulted in Georgia flushing billions of gallons down stream with no study to back it up. When the recent reviews didn't turn out like the conservationist wanted they simply went to the courts and lawmakers to get their view imposed. I have two lakes near me near 20 feet down. One of which could generate electricity cleanly provided it wasn't flushing twenty times the water needed for generation down the river. Rivers which because of the volume are near flood stage meaning rains push them over their banks.

    If we cannot have comfort in our own homes then something is desperately wrong with the system. We are a nation with great resources, the technology to use them efficiently and cleanly, yet at every corner some interest group gets the government to impose such heavy handed regulation that the public suffers. We are a country that fought for freedom and then began making laws to give it away. Now I bet your the type that would be screaming at government ids and government healthcare yet you turn around and want intervention?

  • by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @09:37AM (#22013736)
    I can't imagine they would. I trust the power companies wants to sell you as much electricity as they possibly can and would only throttle it when they have to.
  • by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @09:54AM (#22013820)

    Now that I think about it, he also brokered a peace agreement with Israel and Egypt that has never been broken, not once in more than 30 years.
    See, that's where he lost the Republicans. Why would you encourage peace between two countries that purchase arms from you? That just doesn't make sense.
  • Feeling the Draft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NetSettler ( 460623 ) <kent-slashdot@nhplace.com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @10:12AM (#22013936) Homepage Journal

    Can you imagine what would happen, either locally or world wide, if there is a real shortage of fuel? And prices go up to $30 per gallon or worse? Electricity would costs $2.50 per kwh? OK, this will not happen not today, but it could be the case in 40 years. Than you would think more than twice to even switch on your AC... Some poorer people would not even be able to pay for warming up a meal. Do you know what these people are going to do? I do not want to find out...

    I would liken the issue to the the draft. (No, not the one coming in the window when the A/C is not working.) Back when we had a mandatory draft, we all, as a society, cared whether we went to war. But once we had a voluntary draft, many in the Elite don't have to care, at least not in the same way: It won't be their kids. And though they pay lip service to the notion that it's a hard choice, that choice isn't felt by them in the way it is by others. It's below their radar. And they can indulge the illusion that the only reason people join the military is that they want to. The idea that they cannot afford to is foreign to them. This moves toward a two-tier society of haves and havenots, because one can afford to just not care about the human cost.

    In the case of energy, the risk of a blackout affects us all. So it's a reason to build more infrastructure. But once the system is "managed" and society has been divvied up into groups who "of course must have power" and "of course must not" in order for the Greater Good to be served, the question of whether to have more infrastructure becomes much more questionable since it is more distant to the decision-makers. I somehow doubt that politicians will have their thermostats going down--what about the foreign dignitaries that might be visiting? Can't inconvenience them. And we'll find that rich people no longer live in "homes", they live in "free-standing buildings that happen to have home-like amenities", or some other dodge that regular people can't figure out... Like the way tax loopholes work. They will also be distanced.

    It also becomes like the way we expect a better health care system from a Congress that has its own health care plan that is better than everyone else's. The day Congress is required by law to have the worst health care of any US citizen is the day that health care will be really reformed. The day that going to war means the people who decided it have their kids yanked out of wherever they are and put on the front lines of the first ground force with handheld weapons entering the war, that's the day we'll know when a war is justified. And this plan for thermostat control, I assume it will have similar issues awaiting similar fixes that will never come.

    What it is to be a society, at some level, is to all be in the same game. This proposal sounds like it makes everyone the same, but the nature of the dodges will not be apparent and the nature of the risks will be manageable by some and not by others. Power outages are more harsh, but they are also more truthful. They serve as a reminder that something is amiss. Making them less visible is not a certain recipe for making this country better, since the sluggish nature of democracy makes it react only to things that are easily articulated. And this would make it all blurry and disputable, dissipating political energy that might otherwise be better used.

    In the end, if global warming ever does take hold, the thermostat may be the absolute only thing in the entire house that anyone wants to burn energy on, so it can't be a solution. The solution expressed by caitriona81 in a related post [slashdot.org] seems more like it's on the right track.

  • Re:Reasonable idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) * on Saturday January 12, 2008 @10:24AM (#22014014) Journal

    This seems like a reasonable idea if there's not enough power to go around.
    No, a reasonable idea would be to raise prices to reduce demand until you can build some friggin power plants! This is what happens when you dick with the free market, it stops working!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2008 @10:35AM (#22014090)
    in the peak of summer, the grid gets overloaded and rolling blackouts are implemented. Now, for the rest of the year, capacity is plentiful - the few days of overload doesn't provide enough incentive to upgrade,

    "When it's raining I can't fix the roof, and when it's not raining, I don't need to fix it!"
  • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @11:24AM (#22014498) Homepage
    It's a bad idea that's very close to a good idea. Remotely controlled thermostats for ten million houses would be a systems nightmare. How the heck would you debug that system, anyway?

    Thegood idea, however, would be to have time-dependent pricing on power. Power production is very expensive at some times of day, typically mid-day during the air-conditioning season, and very cheap at other times of day, in fact, nearly cost-free from midnight to 5 AM, when the power plants are still turning over but nobody's using much electricity. A lot of people would revise their lifestyles to buy electricity at low rates instead of high if the price accurately reflected the actual cost of production.

    Would this save the planet? Well, consider; solar panels product most power at mid-day, and more when it's sunniest and when the days are longest... so solar panels produce electricity at the *highest price* times of day-- pricing that reflected actual power cost would mean the power sold from solar panels would sell at a premium.

  • Re:Around here ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Adversive ( 159469 ) <adversiveNO@SPAMadversive.net> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @11:33AM (#22014584)
    Californians pay for the power they use just like you. They also probably pay more per kW/h.

    The problem is that during certain high-demand summer days, California's grid infrastructure cannot provide enough electricity to meet the demand. People are upset because California has not been more aggressive about improving the power grid or building new power plants.
  • Re:Reasonable idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by loshwomp ( 468955 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:02PM (#22014884)
    Here's another idea: Create some competition to SDGE, and the first time they start turning off my A/C during the summer watch me switch to a new provider who builds an infrastructure that can keep up with demand and is willing to provide the energy I pay for.

    This is the sort of naive, knee-jerk reaction that makes sense when you don't understand how the grid works.

    Yes, of course we can build more infrastructure, and we may have to, but that's not what TFA is about. TFA is about a solution to high peak loads. Building more infrastructure (generation and transmission) is an expensive solution, especially when you only need it for a few hours per day.

    Automatic load shedding, on the other hand (the solution proposed in TFA) moves energy use away from the peaks, allowing greater overall utilization of the existing infrastructure. There are pilot programs in many places already, and you will pay lower rates for your (voluntary) participation. It's very unlikely that you'll ever be forced to participate in such a program against your will.
  • Re:Reasonable idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by visigoth ( 43030 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:20PM (#22015072)
    Bingo. Not too different, either, from a big contributor to obscene property prices in some areas: real estate speculators, people who buy up all the properties they can in order to 'flip them'; enough iterations of this and prices are out of sight of the rest of us.

    A number of years ago energy distribution was 'deregulated' here in California, with much hype about "increased choices to the consumer means better value". Something like 300 providers were to supply energy to CA's grid. The result was, of course, higher prices, fueled by providers who when they saw big demand increases jacked prices up by orders of magnitude -- Enron, among others, was connected with this. The resulting blackouts and some bad high-level purchasing decisions (so no, the blame was not entirely on the part of the providers!) eventually cost the then-governor his job.

    Not that anything was really fixed; with a moratorium on nuclear plant construction -- another decision demonstrating an astounding lack of foresight -- utilities look for band-aids like the remote control thermostat proposal which could just as easily be used as a form of 'demand clipping' to push back on energy providers' price increases.

    Speculation, and other mechanisms of abusing markets -- whether energy in any of its forms, real estate, or (gosh!) mortgage credit -- for short-term gain, really amount to nothing more than rape. A few benefit at the expense of the rest of us.
  • Communism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by minion ( 162631 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @12:43PM (#22015320)
    Anyone pick up on the very obvious communist statement:
      Dr. Rosenfeld said. If you can control rotating outages by letting everyone in the state share the pain, he said, theres a lot less pain to go around.
    First they're going to tell us what lightbulbs we're allowed to use, now this?
    You know how many old/infirm people die every year due to the heat or cold?
    Another poster had it right: We pay for a service, make the #(*& service perform like its supposed to. Stop being afraid of atom energy and build more reactors. Right now, its the safest form of energy with the greatest amount of return we can produce.
  • Re:Reasonable idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:05PM (#22016246) Homepage
    Do you really need air conditioning? What do you think they did a hundred years ago? Air conditioning is a comfort thing. You don't need it. Just drink some more water.
  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:49PM (#22016760) Homepage

    So why not? Why not build more capacity to California and other parts of US?

    Because that capacity is only needed for a very short period annually, which means the amortized cost of the plants in extremely high - far too high to afford. Kinda like buying a brand new pickup truck, and then only using it to purchase your Christmas tree and a couple of weeks later to haul it away.
    Like most systems, the power grid is designed handle the maximum average load - not the maximum possible spikes. Even if we were 100% nuclear, the same problem would remain.
  • Re:Reasonable idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kymermosst ( 33885 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:58PM (#22017514) Journal
    Look people, if we want to be smarter about our energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we need to take measures like this. This buys us time to implement better methods of extracting renewable energy. Sophomoric and overprotective statements like "don't touch my AC" are based on ignorance. Understand the technology and how it really affects you before crying foul.

    I have a better idea: Go fuck yourself and keep your regulations out of my home. It's already bad enough the kind of regulation that's been placed on the home. There used to be a saying: "A man's home is his castle." People like you have destroyed that concept.

    Again, go fuck yourself.

    (Oh, if there's a problem with supply vs. demand of electricity, here's an idea: charge more for the electricity to reduce demand!)

  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:07PM (#22017612)
    Computers run at 160F plus, a room getting to 120F won't faze them. You'll be unhappy about other things before your computer gets sad, well, unless you built it wrong. Any computer you buy has been tested in a 140F hot room before sale, of course one you built yourself may be different.

    As to your baby, rashes and sores like that are due to friction from humidity, not from heat. Computers don't care about humidity much either.

    I live in California without A/C. No problems. I grew up in Michigan (similar to Minnesota, very humid and at times very hot) without A/C. I know humans aren't the best adapted to harsh environments, but Minnesota was populated by families with babies for decades before A/C.
  • Re:Reasonable idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kymermosst ( 33885 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @06:00PM (#22018732) Journal
    First of all, I'll apologize for the pissed-in-my-cheerios post up above. It was first thing in the morning and I had a headache. I probably should have been more awake before posting. Anyway....

    We're talking about California here. Since when does any "good idea" the government dreams up get implemented on a voluntary basis in California?

    Energy is not limitless, that is a fact.

    For all practical purposes, solar energy is limitless. When it comes down to it, almost all energy we have on Earth except for geothermal energy originated from the Sun. Even oil was generated from the Sun supplying energy to the life forms that eventually became the oil (unless the other theory on oil is true: that the source hydrocarbons were primordial, which is a possibility).

    But, there are people would rather punish the end-user of the energy. People who spend more time trying to figure out how to make me deal with rolling blackouts and/or thermostats that might let my home office get to 90 degrees without my consent or control. People who would rather spend their time dreaming up ways to control me, rather than put their creative minds at harvesting energy from the Sun.

    ... is up to the politicians, who answer to the voters.

    Hah, if you paid attention, you'd realize that politicians only answer to voters while running for office, not while actually in office.

    I stopped writing letters to my congresspeople because it is often the case they send a letter back saying they agree with me, and then vote the other way on the relevant bill. So, evidently my elected officials (Dems and Reps alike) agree with me 100% of the time, yet they don't seem to vote the way I would 100% of the time. Imagine that.

  • Re:Reasonable idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:01PM (#22019344) Journal

    Do you really need air conditioning? What do you think they did a hundred years ago?

    1) They stayed the hell away from the south western US.
    2) They used the evaporative cooling.
    3) They had ice shipped in, and paid exorbitant fees for it.
    4) The old and infirm, quite simply, died.

    What do I win?

Happiness is twin floppies.