California Energy Crisis

Two part question

Being from Illinois can someone please explain, as simply as possible, what the current situation in CA is and how it got that way.

I’ve read a lot but I get these 12 page web sites tht give a lot of opinions and no facts.

Second part. How badly will this effect CA. I heard on my PBS station how business are starting to pull up and move, notably to Arizona, which still has cheap power and lots of it.

They set a price cap for retail electric prices, but not for wholesale. The utilities are paying many times more for power than what they can sell it for. The other problem is that most of the utilities sold thier generators to private companies. Thats all I know

I have a friend in politics, here’s his take:
They were deregulating so the power companies (PC) had time to get together and say, in effect “We can either cut each others throat or OPEC this situation”. Which they did. Problem 2: The State does want Edison (et al) to go out of biz, soooo…they buy elect CHEAP (they have the power) sell it to the power co’s who turn around and sell it to us at a huge profit - the screwing.
My take: Fuck Edison (et al- it’s a free marketplace!), have the State buy the plants,buy cheap, sell it to us cheap.
Face it, Everything was fine until de-reg and power went WAAAAY up.Chance? I dont thik so.

Sorry. thay should habe been DON"T want them to go out of biz

Warning: Posting uner DR’s care…so. sorry again.

Sure, mark, we did talk about this a few times here lately & things haven’t changed too much. That flight you see isn’t because of the power situation its because the economy slowdown & dot coms aren’t anymore…

Basically:1. some cities in Calif have their own power plants e.g. Sac., they are not effected. 2. there is plenty of electricity & gas, few states want to sell it to us for what we would pay for it (But Mexico is going to). 3. People in my Calif city are using less electricity (stores are using half as many lights) because it’s very expensive (what cost $50 in 2000 is $125.00 in 2001) & using less keeps them from having blackouts.

Anything else Mark?

There was a very recent GQ on this, at least one, very recently. A quick search within the last 30 days will provide you with all the dope.

In brief, it has been a complex of a number of factors. (1) Cal. only partly deregulating the utilities. The utilities ability to sell was regulated. so consumers would not have to pay more than a fixed amount. In addition, the utilities had to divest themselves of the power plants they had. However, providers, who bought the plants, selling the energy to the utilities could charge what they wanted, and have. Some have made tremendous profits. And the utilities were forced to cough up to get the power, since their ability to make new power plants has been severely limited to the environmental powers (“not in my neighborhood”). (This is a multi-faceted (1).)

(2) Demand has gone up beyond expectations, due to new industries, companies, etc., which use a lot of computers.

That in brief are the reasons, as I see it.

“…a lot of computers?” Are you kidding, barbitu? While there are certainly a lot of them, computers are extremely low in power consumption, about the equivalent of a single light bulb, if you don’t count the monitor.

The take in most of the country outside CA is that CA has screwed itself royally and will have to bail itself out. A half-assed deregulation scheme, combined with success by the tree-huggers in keeping the number of new generating plants to zero during a decade when the state’s population roughly doubled, has left CA looking pretty stupid and rather dark at times.

Now I hear that the CA legislature wants to step in and take over the utilities that are going broke, whereupon the state will promptly do the one thing it forbade the utilities from doing – raise the friggin’ rates.

Ohio may be boring, but sometimes that ain’t so bad…


have you actually looked at the power supply for your puter??? it’s probably about 300 watts (you can buy power supplies with a lot higher rating than that, and you can buy some with a slightly lower rating, but we’re talking averages)

a normal incandescent is about 120 watts, and a power-efficient flourescent is about 1/3 of that… my tower burns 375 watts, and that’s not rare…

an addendum… personal computer power supplies burn between 250 <crappy!> and 450 <kick ass> watts… however something like an 8 processor Alpha machine will use more, and a 64 processor SUN will use a lot more, and one of those crays that needs the special coolant liquid will use a sh*t load more…

<cocky statement>
what kind of light bulbs are you using? do you live in the super dome?
</cocky statement>

Typical lightbulb = 75-100 watts.

Keep in mind that just because your power supply is rated for 400 watts doesn’t mean it’s drawing that much power. With hard drives and fans spun down, a computer does not draw much more than 100 watts.

Yeah, I live about 25 miles from the only Nuclear Power plant to ever be decommisioned before it got brought on-line by public vote.

Almost everything is still there, including the core rods and other essentials… what’s missing is the steam generator and the minds of the lemminglike voters out here in Cali.

My dad did some research, and he figures a crash plan to get back up and running would take around a year… by which time either shit will have been fixed or the massive social convulsions will make it not worthwhile to fix anything!

Sometimes I hate people.

Some economists pointed out today that one of the side effects of an economic turndown due to the energy crisis in California is that if the economy goes sour, demand for electricity drops, easing the crisis.

As for what burns the most electricity, our computers may burn a lot, but according to an energy audit I did online with Southern California Edison, nearly 50% of my electricity is consumed by my refrigerator and my computer was only around 5%.
I have gas heat and gas appliances.

you shouldn’t spin drives down, that’s when abrasive friction sets in… your drives are very well balanced ‘tops’, they only time that they get physically damaged is when they startup and shutdown… and there aren’t that many fans in your puter, the powersupply (always needs cooling)… the main chip sets (also always need cooling)…

and since you’re converting 120vAC to 12v and 5v DC you’re always running that powersupply… it doesn’t care what you draw, it dumps out what it ever it can… and it produces heat all the while…

ps… notice I said chip sets… the intel/amd/etc chip isn’t the only one that needs colling… gloriaII is a great video card… :wink:


“the only time that they get physically damaged…”

sorry typo

I really shouldn’t type when I get excited…

cooling… not colling… dmanit… err damnit…


Bush told them that they have to give us power, but that order is only for one more week.

We also won’t have natural gas soon…sigh

A personal PC doesn’t use that much electricity, true, but computer & chip manufacturing & bank computers use a lot!