Re: [gardeners] utilities

Ron Hay (
Fri, 15 Dec 2000 08:05:53 -0800

Good morning, George,

Our utility rates in California have skyrocketed because of half-assed
attempts (sorry; I can barely control my anger!) attmpts at
deregulation. The major electric utilities (with the notable exception
of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power--yay, team!) have sold
off their power generating plants, thus forcing them to buy electricity
at the prevailing market rate. Since water supplies in Northern
California and the Pacific Northwest are low, so is hydroelectric
generating capacity.

Add to that, an attemtp to ameliorate the phenomenal rate spike for
SoCal Edison customers, at least in San Diego County), by imposing a cap
on rates, we are in dire straits, since the local untilites cannot pass
on the astronomical rates to the consumers. Result: California Edison
may go bankrupt within the next week. It has taken federal intervention
to keep the electricity flowing to California utilities on the verge of

And natural gas! Some claim the rates in California really went up when
that huge pipeline exploded in New Mexico this summer, killing several
nearby campers. But that is only the beginning. So Cal Gas Company, a
Sempra Energy Company, is just a distributer of natural gas, and is
subject to the slings and arrows of outrageous rates, and they,  ever so
kindly, pass them on to us.

Our home in Van Nuys averages about 70-80 dollars per month in the
cooler months (November through April) for gas charges. We heat with
gas, cook with it and heat water with it. On our level pay plan, we have
paid 40 dollars per month, year round, to lessen the load. I can hardly
wait to see this month's bill...which will still carry a 40 dollar
credit from our extremely low usage during the warmer months (when hang
out our clothes to dry, most times, year round.)

Electricical usage varies widely here, between the warmer months, when,
in our hot inland climate, we utilize (utilized?) air conditioning. Our
bills for our modest 1419 sq ft home fluctuate between under $100/mo
during the cooler months, to about 250/month during the hot weather,
with the judicious use of window fans and never turning on the air until
it is over 85 in the house. It will be interesting to see what our
December/January bill is, with a Christmas tree and some modest outdoor
Christmas lights.

The next horror story will be water, which was also deregulated some
years back. With increasing amounts of Colorado River water being used
by Arizona and Nevada, SoCal is getting increasingly less. We are
increasingly dependent upon water from the Sierra Snowpack, brought, in
our case, south, by aquaducts.

With rapidly increasing population  and the increasing use of energy, we
find ourselves in quite a pickle. It blew me away to hear that 60% of
the WORLD'S computer servers are located in California, using quantum
reams of power in rooms that must be airconditioned 24/7.

Mary-Anne, I know that we come from different sides of the political
aisle, but what is your take on the situation in  your part of the

Pray, brethren!

Van Nuys, Ca

P.S  Sorry to get up on my soapbox, but this situation is truly scary,
especially for the vast majority of Californians who do not earn CEO