January 07, 2008

Sacramento Up to No Good Again

IF YOU EVER WANT to find out whether your new neighbor or coworker from California is an economic refugee from the Golden State, just ask him what he thinks of the state's capital. If various expletives are used prior to or following the word "Sacramento," you'll have a pretty good guess. Although people living in California generally view their famously worthless and corrupt Government with contempt and scorn, those who no longer live there generally place it one notch below cholera in terms of the things they'd prefer dealing with in life.

Well, now the geniuses in charge of California have come up with yet another scheme to make life in the Golden State intolerable. It's bad enough they screwed up deregulating the state's electricity market, but now they're going to directly put the burdens of their incompetence on California homeowners, viz. and to wit:

What should be controversial in the proposed revisions to Title 24 is the requirement for what is called a "programmable communicating thermostat" or PCT. Every new home and every change to existing homes' central heating and air conditioning systems will required to be fitted with a PCT beginning next year following the issuance of the revision. Each PCT will be fitted with a "non-removable " FM receiver that will allow the power authorities to increase your air conditioning temperature setpoint or decrease your heater temperature setpoint to any value they chose. During "price events" those changes are limited to +/- four degrees F and you would be able to manually override the changes. During "emergency events" the new setpoints can be whatever the power authority desires and you would not be able to alter them.

In other words, the temperature of your home will no longer be yours to control. Your desires and needs can and will be overridden by the state of California through its public and private utility organizations. All this is for the common good, of course.

For the full story on this latest brilliant idea, visit the American Thinker, which has a big story about the proposed regulation. What makes the story really amazing, though, is that the proposal for this came out of Sacramento, which last time I checked was roughly six degrees cooler than hell itself during the summer. For that matter, most of California is just a few degrees cooler than hell itself during the summer.

Thus, this proposal is completely insane. The last thing the long-suffering people of California need is for the technocrats in Sacramento to start deciding what allowable interior temperatures will be, particularly if some of those people have weak constitutions or otherwise need their homes rather cool. There's no way individual situations can be accommodated in a one-size fits all demand-restriction scheme.

Of course, demand issues wouldn't be a concern if California had adequate power supplies. Making the supplies adequate means building power plants. Although plenty of people in California hate the idea of having a power plant next door to them -- or within 100 miles of them -- there is a solution to this. Namely, put the stupid plants out in the desert.

There are vast swathes of desert in eastern California and they are perfect spots for power plants -- even nuclear power plants. It's understandable that people in Santa Barbara don't want a power plant in their neck of the woods. People in Barstow, however, would probably be down with one. Hell, you could put a nuke plant in Needles and even if the thing blew like Chernobyl nobody would notice for days. What's that? You think I'm joking? Have you ever been to Needles?


TOURIST: I didn't realize they had casinos in Needles.
LOCAL: Uh, we don't.
TOURIST: Well, what's with the neon blue glow around everything?
LOCAL: Oh! That's part of our celebrations for the Needles cactus festival!
TOURIST: No kidding?
LOCAL: Yeah! We do this every year!
TOURIST: On a Tuesday?
LOCAL: Yes! The second Tuesday in April! Yeah, that's the ticket. I'll ring that up in a minute for you, I've got to get my containment suit -- I mean, my special ceremonial Indian craft handling suit -- ready.
TOURIST: Well, that makes ... hey! Wait a minute! Isn't there a nuclear plant around here?
LOCAL: It's only a model.


Anyway, my point is clear: California needs power but doesn't want the plants producing it near people. There are millions of acres of empty space out in the desert: space now home to sand and rocks. Problem solved, and solved without having Sacramento keep your house at 80 degrees at night.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at January 7, 2008 11:16 AM | TrackBack

I'd say L.A. is pretty tolerable for most of the summer, save a couple of weeks around July where it gets really hot. Northern California summers are pretty mild, too, at least along the coastal areas. But Sacramento? It's not just a few degrees cooler than Hell. It *is* Hell.

Posted by: Emily at January 9, 2008 01:44 PM
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