Thanks to our government’s penchant for regulation and control, power companies have to change the way they operate. And that means two things for customers: rising prices and poorer quality service. The former was even acknowledged by the President.
This is always what happens when government gets involved in the marketplace. It’s what’s been happening to healthcare, and it’s happening with the energy industry. And the excuse is always the same. It’s always some variation on the “greater good.”
In the context of energy production, one of the excuses is to fight “climate change.” That’s why the Obama administration has been so adamant about outlawing coal plants, or at least making so many mandates and regulations that the plants have no choice but to shut down.
So-called “smart grid” technology is yet another step in the direction of energy socialism. From CNS News:
The Obama administration is spending billions of dollars to modernize the nation’s power grid, with the goal of changing the way Americans use energy. Your electric bill will go way up, unless you allow the utility to control your energy load at times of peak demand.
“Smart grid” technology involves a wireless, two-way flow of information between individual homes and the power plant. This allows the utility to charge more for electricity, depending on when it is used; and it enables the utility to manage energy for the consumer, to reduce the impact on the grid.
For example, customers eventually will be able to program their “smart” appliances and thermostats so the utility company can turn them off at times of peak electricity usage.
Major appliance manufacturers like Whirlpool are already starting to make their products “smart grid” compatible so that you can monitor your energy usage and program your appliances to shut off at times of peak usage.
You wouldn’t have to program your appliances this way, of course. But if you don’t, you’ll just have to pay at the power company’s “peak-hour” rate, which will be much more expensive.
What’s the effect going to be? Eventually, angry customers will acclimate and give in. They’ll cut back on their energy usage, because they won’t be able to afford the increased cost. They’ll be careful not to go over their “limit.” There won’t be other choices, because the government’s involvement, mandates and regulations are universal.
In a few years, perhaps we’ll all have energy limits. Family size, house size and income among other things will factor in how they calculate each household’s “carbon allowance.” Maybe it’ll be like healthcare, and some people will qualify for taxpayer-funded energy subsidies to help offset the costs. That would also have the effect of placating outraged consumers.
There’s obviously nothing wrong with trying to cut costs and use natural resources wisely. That’s called being a good steward. The problem here is that this is a top-down government policy. When government gets involved, it always makes delivering products and services far more inefficient and costly. And when the government has its chosen few (or one) companies to generate power, that’s what we call corporatism or fascism.
If we lived in a free country, the government would not be involved in trying to control the market. A free market would be far superior to government in offering a wide variety of choices, and the competition would force companies to offer better quality services at cheaper prices. Exactly the opposite of what the government wants.