Early Morning Planning

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as
(my
do
climate
Keep her. She's a rare one :)
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I wonder just how much oil we could save by turning out some lights. Flying into a city airport in the wee hours I see thousands of street lights, but don't see any traffic. Entire industrial parks are well lit but no one working. Businesses have signs lit on their closed stores and no on on the streets to read them. Just seems plain silly.

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Oddly, we could probably save a bundle of oil and or coal but it may cost us more for less light. A couple of years ago I went to the PUC web site to compare electricity charges by different companies that produce electricity. I was shocked to find that home owners pay about double the price that big users use. IIRC some where around 7500- 10,000 kwh of usage per month the price of electricity came in at 5 cents per kwh. I pay about 10 cents per kwh.
I am sure there is some law against it but why couldn't a whole neighborhood be a single customer/customer and each home owner pay for his usage of that total billed to the neighborhood.
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<snip>

It is the notion of municipal retail utility distribution. Where the city manages the 'natural monopoly' portion of electric and/or gas distribution.
I've lived in a town with such a system. It was just fine, and less expensive than one would expect. They now are installing some of the fastest residential and business broadband services in the country, at aggressively low prices, after waiting for the 'big boys' to get off their backsides for years. That REALLY gets the lobbyists and propagandists going.
As to whether there are laws against it, it differs in every area. However, laws can be changed.
Patriarch, closet populist
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I am sure that you could if you were willing to build out the distribution network for the community and keep it maintained and do all the individual billing and collections, with the inevitable bad debt but you have to keep supplying them anyhow, and absorb the costs during low usage periods when the overhead charge you apply doesn't actually cover the overhead required to maintain sufficient capacity to serve everyone's needs during the peak usage periods..... (any idea what the cost is when a single neighborhhood step-down transformer blows and needs replaced on an emergency basis while it is 10 below outside)
Dave Hall
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The electrical company is responsable for maintaining lines. The company that maintains the lines is not the one that I buy electricity from. I live in Houston and buy my electricity from a company in Dallas.
with the inevitable bad debt but you have to keep supplying them anyhow, and absorb the costs

If the HOA took care of the billing it could cut the power off to the family that does not pay the bill. I suspect that the home owners in my small subdivision could save at least $225,000.00 per year. 3 years ago a family was ecvicted from their home and their home repaired and sold. They refused to pay the HOA anual bill of $250.00. I really do not think there would be problem with non payment.
(any idea

That will never happen in Houston. Transformers will blow but still the electric company will be responsible for the repair.
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Leon wrote:

Texas is different from most of the country in that they have separated generation from infrastructure maintenance. Presumably there is some arrangement whereby the Local Wires Companies are paid by the Retail Electric Providers. You may not buy electricity from them but one way or another you're paying for their services.
One reason that large consumers get a discount is that the distribution infrastructure on the customer's campus is the customer's responsibility, not the power company's. In residential use the power company (in Texas the Local Wires Company) is responsible for everything up to the connector on the customer side of the meter.
If the home owners' association wanted to take care of the infrastructure the same way that GM does in their plants then I'm sure the power company would give them the same kind of discount. In effect they'd be becoming their own Local Wires Company for their neighborhood.
Personally I would not want to live in any community where the home owners association was responsible for keeping the power going.

If the applicable statutes allowed it. Do they really want the lawsuit when the baby freezes to death because they cut the power off when it was 30 below?

Fascinating. So the home owners association actually owns the property. I would not want to live anywhere that I was in the position of renting property that I had paid for. I'm really kind of disappointed in Texans--there was a time when anything that high-handed would have gotten somebody shot.

Then why would they want to give you a discount?
--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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I suspect that most homeowners in the entire U S of A are already in that situation. I know I am. Today, I received my annual "rent" bill from the county. They call it "real estate tax", but if I don't pay it, I can be evicted.
I don't see much _effective_ difference between that and paying rent to a landlord except that the landlord would have more legal difficulty evicting me from his property than the county would have evicting me from my own property.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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Sorry I just can't resist. About twenty years ago I was the !@#$%^&* who raised electric rates. Done the expert witness thing etc. Two points:
1-In most NA electrical systems the energy used for street lights comes from a hydro, coal or nuclear unit. Rarely do we need to run an oil fired unit to cover early AM load. Sorry we can't stop buying Mid East oil for that use.
2-Yes, there is a stark difference in price from small customers to medium and large ones. The larger customers buy their electricity at higher voltages and the costs of those pole mounted transformers, distribution wires, etc. don't exist. Second, they tend to buy a higher percentage during those lower cost back hours. Third, it costs just slightly more to read a meter and bill a large customer so there can be a volume difference. Fourth, customer service costs are generally lower so there can be a volume discount, big customers don't call in nearly as often. Fifth, problems with no pay and slow pay are higher with residential and small commercial customers so that is factored into the rates. And it goes on.
The PUC is supposed to examine in detail whether a class of customers is paying more or less than their "fair share". The large customers have their own lawyers in the process and residential customers are usually well represented by public advocates (well funded also usually from your electric bill). The customers that tend to get "oppressed" are the small commercial ones. That's why you want to avoid a separate meter for your shop.
Yes a whole neighborhood can buy in bulk under some conditions. For example many large apartment/condo buildings in NYC do just that. However the building (neighborhood) then has to provide individual billing, transfomers, meters etc. If its provided by the landlord there is no savings. Otherwise there are some but offset by costs.
Final point-In states where you can buy your own energy (like TX) big customers are doing relatively well, but the costs of marketing to and serving small customers chews up a lot of the savings. Unfortunately for TX they bet on many new natural gas generating units and their fuel costs have doubled in the last two years raising costs on the "free market" substantially.
Howard

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Snip

Yup, I live in Texas. I just wish that the power companies would let us buy electricity when we needed it. During peak periods the price world be more expansive and during the winter, weekends, and night hours the price would be cheaper. I was part of a pilot program in 1996-1997 that my local electricity company tried out. My electric bill was less than $1,077.00 for that whole that year. My electric bill the following year after the program was terminated went up to $1,339.00 with only a 5% increase of usage.
That said, my electric rates last year were basically the same as they were in 1998.
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OK maybe not oil, but we could burn less coal. There is still cost associated with the lighting and if it is not needed, someone, someplace, has to save money, pollute less or otherwise come out ahead.
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Consider joining or contributing to the International Dark Sky Association" http://www.darksky.org/ or, better yet, bringing their recommendations and your concerns to the attention of the local/state government officials who oversee public lighting.
These are exactly the problems they formed to combat and they have achieved some success in some states and localities. Yes, outdoor lighting can be designed to shine only in controlled directions (downward). In fact, its more efficient (saves money) that way.
David Merrill

suffering
church
every
and two

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"Charlie Self"

In a recent vacation to Kona Hawaii, I was struck by the lack of light in the evenings. It didn't take long to figure out that the whole island has a light restriction. The Keck Observatory. It really was nice, compared to the virtual daylight of LA.
Palomar,North of San Diego also has light restrictions, but not nearly the scale of the big island.
Dave
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a
Might just have to move there. I'm bucking for a job that allows working from home 100% of the time, so maybe this time next year it's worth investigating. hmm.....
I do love my dark nights.
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On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 12:18:43 -0500, TeamCasa wrote:

The light restrictions on the big island are certainly true. However, both Kona and Hilo still send a large quantity of light upwards. I've conducted astronomical observations several times a year over the past few years on the summit of Mauna Kea, and can vouch that both Kona and Hilo are quite bright at night. They certainly are not as bright as other cities of the same size that don't have light restrictions. But it is becoming a problem at the observatory. Waimea and Honokaa are also quite visible from the summit.
What people seem to not understand is that lighting the sky does not provide added ground level security and also wastes energy. Using smartly designed lights that direct all of their light downward can make the street level considerably brighter and safer, while significantly reducing sky brightness and energy usage. Unfortunately, these light fixtures are generally more expensive up front, which seems to trump their long term energy efficiency benefits in most consumers minds.
Chad
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Chad's right. I'm also an amateur astronomer and can vouch for better lighting. See my post elsewhere in thsi thread for information on the International Dark-Sky Assocoation. The price of sensible lighting fixtures is coming down, and the payback time lessened considerably. A number of communities nationwide and around the world have adopted reasonable lighting ordinances, but the problem is growing. As long as we insist on providing circus lighting for our homes and businesses it won't be solved.
Bob
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wrote:

Boy, I wish the municiple sheds across the street would jump on the sensible lighting wagon... directly out my window, there are six high-power arc-sodium floodlights to illuminate pole sheds with no one in them. They run year-round, and all the sheds are there for is to hold snowplows. The entire block is bright enough to read by day and night, year-round.

Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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that
want
I love the change of seasons. The occasional gray day, after weeks of bright sunlight. That crispness, after months of heat. The first snowflakes.
The days get shorter. The first green buds that appear. The days that grow longer...
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Sky & Telescope magazine, the Fine Woodworking of that hobby, estimates that more than half the people in the world, and 2/3 of those in the United States, cannot see the Milky Way. During the recent blackout in New York, people were calling the police to report a strange huge cloud over the city. Yep--our galaxy.
I have a famous poster of the United States (there's one of Europe also) at night, taken by satellites, that shows the entire country lit by unrestricted lighting. It's easy to pick out your own home town. The question is, why are they visible from space? Aren't lights supposed to illuminate the ground?
The loss of the night sky is not only saddening, it is unnecessary. As an amateur astronomer I know that a high percentage of our lighting is misdirected, and that proper shielding would not only preserve the sky but--more importantly for most people--save huge amounts of money. San Diego changed to a more sophisticated lighting some years ago and saved the taxpayers about $300,000.
And of course we all know the effect of bright lighting in reducing crime?
The International Dark-Sky Association (http://www.darksky.org /) has drafted sensible lighting ordinances that would both preserve the night sky AND our security and safety. Rush Limbaugh has, of course, labeled them a bunch of left-wing nuts. He's wrong--their purpose is simply as stated in the first sentence of this paragraph.
Bob
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when i fly over a city at night, a lot of light is reflected off the ground back into the sky. shielding the light wouldn't have any affect on this.
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