Friday, June 12, 2015

Water & Light, Gas and Technology

It seems people believe that new technology will make things cheaper. Well, tell that to my phone bill or my TV bill. Even people that do not have cable are paying more with DVR's and so forth.

Look at your car. Our roads and bridges in America are decaying not because the government does not care but because the car you are driving gets much much better gas mileage then 15 years ago and you are using less gas, plus there are more and more electric cars that use only a tiny amount of gas.

What happens when there are no gas cars, how do roads get paid for then!  At the moment the only way to fund infrastructure is gas tax and people are using less and less gas. The gas tax is the single largest revenue for the DOT and has not been raised since 2006.    

Less gas being used, less roads can be fixed. Yet everybody thinks that raising the gas tax is horrible and then they complain about the roads. 

If you want a smooth road, you have to pay for it. 

Then there is the hub bub across the country with utility companies needing to charge more because more and more people are using solar energy.  People seem to think utilities are lashing back to squash all this tree hugging liberal OH SAVE THE EARTH crap.

NO NO NO

Think about this a second. Let's put this is real basic terms.  

You have farm land and you're going to make a city.  First thing you need is energy to run homes right? 

You take out a 30 year bond for 10 million dollars and run electricity to all the homes being built. You charge enough for the electric to pay for the 30 year loan AND you charge a little extra to pay for when people run into power poles and build new factories that need electricity and all the other stuff needed to run the power plant daily and everybody is happy.  You bring in 6% profit and everything is being paid for for what is needed now and what is needed for the future. Like a good business.

BUT - all of a sudden new technology happens. Solar becomes cheap. A family can be off the grid on sunny days. They don't need to buy electricity.  Good for the families as they can save a ton of money and on cloudy days and at night they just click the switch and have electricity.  Add to the fact that LED lights use only a fraction of electricity and the Tesla battery and other money saving things.

BUT, people are still running into power poles, the 30 year loan still has to be paid for and all the other stuff that runs the plant still needs to happen. Your customers still need electricity on demand. The city is still growing and new stuff needs to be purchased but instead of 6% it's only 1% profit because homes are getting "free" electricity.

Yet, if you talk about raising prices to cover your infrastructure costs you are called evil. 

Just like roads, technology is creating a problem because people are finding ways to do things cheaper which is messing with the unseen and unthought about infrastructure.  

Just sayin'. 

That is why I thought it was a good idea for the Columbus Water and Light to look into a solar farm. Have the utility company sell the cheap electricity to the home owner. The home owner would not have to spend the $10,000 for their own infrastructure. Have the utility company have that headache. 

But that is a different though process.

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Columbus received 1.52 inches of needed rain in the last 24 hours!  Portage had about 2.5 inches.  The drizzle and showers will diminish through the morning and will stay cloudy.  A protective ridge of high pressure will keep rain to the south of us tomorrow and temps will SLOWLY rise throughout the day with the high happening about 5:00 at 75.  There is still a lot of moisture around for Sunday and another inch of rain is likely. 

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Congrats to Hydro Street Brewing for the large piece in the Isthmus this week. 

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It's get'r done day for the Art Fair at Hilldale tomorrow.  Load'm up and move'm out!       

Have a great weekend.