Blackout Risk And Electricity Prices Are Spiking In California

Yves here. This post may seem almost mundane, unless you live in California. Yup, PG&E is a mess and the state has been unwilling to take measures up to the scale of the problem, no doubt because the cost would have to be built into the rate base and the price hikes would be so massive as to choke household and business budgets. But even without a full bore cleanup, costs are still spiking. Yup, drought and high temps mean blackouts, both rolling blackouts due to air-conditioning induced demand and fires sometimes taking power lines down. And these conditions are taking a toll. In 2020, California suffered its first population decline since 1850.

The more relevant issue is that California is giving a preview of what much of the US can expect in the not-too-distant future. As William Gibson said, the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.

By Charles Kennedy, a writer for OilPrice. Originally published at OilPrice

Electricity prices for Californians are spiking, but so is the danger of blackouts—both planned and unplanned.

Exceptional drought forecasts for this summer prompted PG&E to warnearlier this month that it might need to implement more rolling blackouts. The utility added, however, that they would likely last less than last year’s.

Then, last week, the California Independent System Operator issued a so-called flex alert, which effectively means it asked people to use less electricity between 5 pm and 10 pm because of heightened energy consumption during that time of day.

Last year, RealClear Energy’s Robert Bryce wrote this week, electricity prices in California jumped by 7.5 percent. This was the highest price hike for electricity across the States and seven times the average for the country. This means that as of end-2020, Californians were paying 70 percent more for electricity than people living in other states. At the same time, the security of their energy supply is increasingly questionable.

A more severe than usual drought in the state this year has depleted reservoirs and lakes, including the ones feeding some of the largest hydropower facilities. This means lower output from hydropower stations. This may well force the state with ambitious emission-reduction targets to rely more on its remaining natural gas-powered plants for baseload electricity supply.

These problems, which are set to deepen with time, have their roots far in the past, according to a recent New York Times interview with Ed Hirs, an energy fellow at the University of Houston.

According to Hirs, decades ago, California swam in excess generation capacity that sat idle for most of the year because of the mild climate. To reduce this capacity overhang, the state began closing these power plants and replacing them with wind and solar farms—and with imports.

To date, the expert noted, California imports some 35 percent of its electricity.

“That’s a big problem, because now it’s not just California’s grid reliability you have to worry about, it’s your neighbors,” Hirs said. “That’s what happened last August: The heat wave got everybody.”

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  1. Dirk77

    I drove through the San Joaquin valley down and up 99 and 5 two weeks ago. I was struck by how green it was. Last time six years ago there were places that were almost desert. It was late June then as opposed to early June now but still. I am not sure what it means but I pass it on.

    1. Wukchumni

      Of course it was green, if Big Ag doesn’t water all those fruit & nut trees in the Central Valley with well water, well, they’d look like the Sierra Nevada right now, with lots of newlydead trees all over the place-the unfortunates not watered by the hand of man.

      1. Felix_47

        If big Ag did not have cheap water from Uncle Sugar, cheap fossil fuel, and free benefits for its employees courtesy the state taxpayers, price supports courtesy Uncle Sugar again, and cheap cash courtesy the Fed and money center banks and investment funds what would the millions of Mexican and Central American citizens do that depend on this work for sustenance? Big Ag is not a bunch of family farmers supporting themselves farming although there may be some exceptions. US agriculture is a US government subsidy to countries importing our product such as China or Saudi Arabia, and countries providing the labor force, such as Mexico and Central America. It is a subsidy like any other and it does not seem to benefit the average American. If the US grew no more alfalfa in the Mohave desert, and no more almonds in the central valley it is not clear to me that it would be a national disaster. It benefits Big Ag, the big rent seeker. And if prices went up those migrants workers could make a living in their own home countries which would save the taxpayer a ton of support money for education, health care etc. And small farmers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama and the midwest would thrive on higher prices as well. And don’t even think about the idiocy of ethanol mandates……kind of like cutting down trees to make wood pellets and calling it CO2 reduction.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          ” If the US grew no more alfalfa in the Mohave desert, and no more almonds in the central valley it is not clear to me that it would be a national disaster.”

          It would be, at most, a national inconvenience. And only until growing alfalfa returned to the natural skywater parts of the US. And only until growers in the East and MidWest learned to work with the winter hardy Ukrainian-type almond trees.

  2. Wukchumni

    I’d guess it wont be too long before our 120 year old hydroelectric plant stops making energy as the water levels are so low, this also happened in 2015 during the worst epoch of the 2012-16 drought.

    Add in just one nuclear energy possibility in Cali along with the rest of the western grid maxed out from largely a/c need, and you’ve got the potential of something like what happened in Europe in a heatwave in 2003, tens of thousands of heat related deaths.

    1. Monte McKenzie

      it’s because of it all being “a for profit” system !
      If all electricity in America were people owned and controled, Every State would by now be better managed, and by now, almost all would have been converted to “geothermal or thorium” electric generation! Both are and have been available since 1965 or’80 and all hydro would have been replaced allowing fish to run all rivers increasing food supply ! “America is dying” killed by capitolism’s excesses and the FF industry working together for profits for the 1% !
      Americans seem to have “dead” brains and want “TV games” more than “LIFE”! Facts are on the web available to any one who wants to learn! Media will never tell the Am People the truth It’s owned and controled by the people who profit from the system! It’s no wonder the 1% have all the money ! That will eventually kill capitolism as nobody has money to by the crap they are trying to sell ! even now there are more jobs provided by people to people work or government jobs at several levels than corporate jobs! look carefully at the stats from USDL ,you’ll see!

      1. ambrit

        I wouldn’t blame the people for their intellectual blinkers. I would squarely blame the degraded educational system. From what I observe, today’s students are given even less of a grounding in the process of education. Many, especially here and on like minded sites, can use logic and sckepticism to parse the infotainment flow down to it’s underlying components. Most of the population cannot, and do not know that fact.
        As I’ve mentioned to many over the years, (and received all sorts of ‘negative’ feedback for,) America doesn’t have a strong “True Left” movement. No one of high social visibility is calling for the nationalization of public infrastructure. So, I’m with you in calling for a fully nationalized power generation and transmission system. Such a system would include Texas and make it adjust accordingly.
        We can dream, can’t we?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I would exclude Texas in the most rigid possible terms. If Texas is allowed to contact the National Grids in any way whatsoever, the Texas Ruling Class establishment will immediately tear the National Grids all the way down to Texas’s own level. This must NOT be allowed to happen. NEVER EVER.

          Don’t Texantaminate the National Grids.

          Preserve Texas forever as its very own standalone Freedom Grid to show which system is better over the long run. If the Texas Freedom Grid turns out better over the next decades to come, then Texas will have the last laugh and we can then all adopt the Texas methods of grid management and ownership.

          As to not having a left, that is so. It was destroyed by America’s most evil President Woodrow Wilson under cover of World War I.

          A re-emergent left was then destroyed by the Axis of Truman-McCarthy in the Great Anti-New-Deal Reaction. It was also compromised by penetration and subversion from within by the Communists and other Marxists and turned into a Hasbara outlet for Gulag Socialism in the Soviet Empire.

          The leftover remnants were then Mao-ised and then Woke-ised by the Social Justice Warriors after that. The “left” has been so polluted and mutated after all this time that it will never re-emerge on the sterilized toxic-waste-radioactive ground left for it to grow in.

          Sorry about that.

          Change-seekers will have to try something else other than some sorf of “left”.

          Why not look back to the Indian Nations who had worked all the issues out quite nicely before the Age of Extermination?

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        The New-Deal-Era PUHCA-regulated utility industry was also a ” for profit” system. But was a heavily and tightly government regulated for profit system. It was guaranteed permission to make its 4-5% profit per year in return for being heavily and closely regulated by the Federal authorities and the Public Utility Commissions. It was ” ordered capitalism under law”.

        The power companies spent decades slowly subverting the PUHCA-legacy regulation system and finally got their government to repeal PUHCA itself. Then they could de-regulate with gay abandon.
        So we could either re-PUHCAfy the utilities, or people in those states where ” the people” have enough brute force power at their command could totally municipalize and/or otherwise government takeover the utilities in their states or substate regions. Either approach could allow for the forcible imposition of improvements upon a probably deeply-embedded culture of crapitude among the utility management personnel.

        So “for profit” wasn’t in itself the source of the problem. The introduction of anarcho-crapitalism set all these problems into motion.

        1. witters

          You let profit taking in the door, and you have people with profits cashed up to get more – and how better to do that than to use those profits for political/regulatory manipulation?

      3. c_heale

        Geothermal energy production releases a lot of hydrogen sulfide, which not only is poisonous, but a potent greenhouse gas (I have a relative in the industry).

  3. The Rev Kev

    Yves says that the main problem is raising the money to undertake all the repairs needed for that grid. I don’t know if it would work or not but could they not raise a bond to raise that money? Interest rates are almost flat so even a reasonable one would attract investors. In fact, the State of California could pay that interest on that bond to the bond-holders themselves. Why would they do that? Consider the amount of economic spanners being thrown into the Californian economy annually by blackouts and the like. That has to cost more than a few pennies so it may be worthwhile paying this one off cost to end these problems. But where to raise the money from? I have an idea about that. Consider a possible phone call-

    ‘Hello, Marcie Frost? Governor Newson here. Yeah, things are good her. Look, I have a question to ask. You know that I am raising a bond to repair California’s grid, right? I thought that CalPERS could be the bond-holder here as you are always looking for good investments. It’s creating a lot of work for me but if it does not happen, I guess that I will have to do that audit & investigation of CalPERS like some are demanding. I really don’t have time for both. What’s that? You’re in? Good. I’m emailing you the contracts now and I will have someone from my staff to pick it up before the end of the day. Send my best to Henry, will you? Bye.’

    1. Monte McKenzie

      Rev Kev get on the web, study GEOTHERMAL Electric Gen. and “SMU GEOTHERMAL REPORTS!
      Google; Thorium electric generation! by Kirk Sorensen!

      Go to USDE web site and lookup cost of generation of electricity by method of generation !

      Next Google ? how many USA Electric generation companies are for profit enterprises?
      Put it all together and publish your result!

  4. TimH

    I stuck with ADSL rather than go cable because it still works when the block’s power goes down. Which it did 10 days ago, for 3 1/2 hours. Helps that I have no interest in streaming TV etc.

    1. ambrit

      If you still have copper wire service. Here, the local AT&T subsidiary ditched the copper lines in favour of WiFi several years ago.
      The South is a mess, but always has been.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I will keep my copper landline phone until AT&T themselves tear it out of the wall.

        1. d w

          well, if what we were told many years ago, they arent going to tear them up, will just abandon them, so they dont connect to any where. thats if they even have wires at all. you can sort of see their view, it costs lots to a) bury them to start (or put them on poles..)…B) they dont have to maintain those wires

          they seem to be moving on to cell service

          1. Timh

            When I took ADSL 7 years ago, AT&T refused to sell it, despite my copper phone from them. SO I went to 3rd party provider… which was actually cheaper, using AT&T DSLAM of course.

            Interestingly there are some anti-slamming provisions that make it more difficult for AT&T to kill the service because it’s 3rd party…

  5. Mantid

    Perhaps Cali could tap into Biden’s, or should I say the Republican’s, less than 1 trillion dollar infrastructure dollars? Well, darn, maybe not. Toss public dollars (the well t’do are too busy to help) at a few bridges, a couple levies, raising the roads in Miami and the Florida keys, and there won’t be much left. Have a nice day California.

  6. Edward

    I wonder if privatization fits into this story. Puerto Rico just privatized its electricity system and now faces blackouts. Privatization often has bad outcomes but it keeps happening, meaning the politicians don’t care about the bad outcomes. Presumably, they still get their bribes/campaign contributions or establishment support or something.

    1. David in Santa Cruz

      “Privatization” is precisely what is driving this crisis!

      California had a publicly regulated vertically-integrated power generation and delivery system for over 75 years, until a confederation of dunces led by Republicans governor Pete Wilson and State Senator Jim Brulte forced the utilities to sell-off the power plants that they had built with public subsidies, requiring them to purchase electricity and gas at “market rates” while delivering them to consumers at regulated prices. This happened over a quarter century ago; PG&E has declared bankruptcy twice in that timeframe and a hundred people have died as a direct result of their collapsing infrastructure.

      Lambert’s Two Laws of Neoliberalism in action:

      1. Because Markets!
      2. Go die!

      1. 1 Kings

        Preach David.
        We’ve had this discussion many times but always needs repeating. Before the privatization in the 90’s California electric system and it’s economy was the greatest in the US and equal to many countries.
        Post Enron, deposing a weak Governor(and installing The Arnold with the same Enron stolen billions), it has spiraled into the chaos we see today.
        Was working at a restaurant and we had our first blackouts in 2000. It was so suprising and suspicious that after 30 years of living in Calif I was experiencing Third World problems, or tactics, or straight up extortion.
        We asked out loud how can we have blackouts in one of the richest states in the world? Still rhe question 20 years later.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Slow motion stealth value-stripping. Keep taking in revenue from sales of power. Spend as little as possible on equipment maintainance. Pocket the unspent money and let the grid run all the way down to zero, slowly enough that the public doesn’t realize this was the plan all along, and when the public realizes, the company owners and the money have quietly snuck out of town.

          The endpoint is for you to have one long blackout forever more and no grid at all. The cure is to repeal all the statewide de-regulation laws, re-regulate, take-over the grids if necessary. Whether that can be done in a “democracy” without the mass-roundup and mass-slaughter of thousands or hundreds of thousands of opponents to re-regulation is an interesting question.

          1. ambrit

            It is going to require a modern day version of the Terror. Both sides will lose large numbers of members. The “lower classes” have the advantage of numbers. Add in some targeted ‘removals’ of malefactors and you see a glimmer of hope for the downtrodden masses, or what’s left of them.
            Worst case scenario is that it devolves into a war of attrition. That is, paradoxically, also the best case scenario.
            We’re well and truly buggered, without lube.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              One side will either passively outwait and outsurvive the other side . . . .
              or march to victory on a road of the other side’s bones.

              Since the Upper Class has all the effective violence and all the rightwing TeaTard Trumpanon supporters who have all the civilian guns, the other side may be safer off trying to passively outwait and survive. Unplug, detach, hide in plain sight, etc.
              Do not help the system survive. Let the system die and hope to survive its death in small groups here and there.

              1. Edward

                I think the U.S. is going to become uncompetitive with better run countries, if it isn’t already. It will be like some failing business that can’t make products that compete with its rivals.

                1. Felix_47

                  How can the US compete? Health care per capita in the US is 11,000 per year, 450 per year in China, Germany is the next highest at 6000 per year per capita. Anyone who wants to start a productive, non rent seeking business in California needs to have his head examined. The internet companies thrive because they have so few employees. The Big Ag sector thrives because they can offload employee expenses to the government and they can hire undocumented ad lib through labor contractors who take the PR and legal liability just like the homebuilders.

                  1. Edward

                    We live in “Griftopia”, as Matt Tiabbi once put it. A society of grifters doesn’t function very well.

                2. Fritzi

                  Which is why it is only going to get ever more militaristic and aggressive.

                  Violence, military “strenght”, destruction, those are the things it will still be able to fall back on for far too long.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      The privatization politicians are probably rewarded after leaving office for their good work privatizing things while in office.

      They see how well Clinton and Obama have been rewarded.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have read that they bought their house on the “White” side of the Island, thereby revealing whom they truly understand their “real people” to really be.

          Jesus wept. And so did Black Agenda Report.

          1. Edward

            I think Obama was barred from joining a Country Club because its members didn’t feel he was sufficiently pro-Isral, or there were at least some objections.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Really? I would like to see a link to a verified proven-true story about THAT claim.
              That kind of behavior could expose the particular denizens of that particular country club to being excluded from other country clubs for “reasons” . . . if that were true and known to be true.

              That would have been an ill-advised move, if it actually happened.

  7. Paul Whittaker

    ” thorium” electric generation! ” Thorium cannot cause a nuclear reaction until it is itself exposed to one. At that time all the same crap applies: what to do with the waste, possibility of a whoopse etc SEE a paper by Dr Gordon Edwards (Canada) on Thorium.

    1. Michael McK

      Thank you. All the claims I have seen touting Thorium as a solution to our energy woes are flawed if not also contradictory.
      For instance: It is claimed to be proliferation proof (because of the very nasty Americium in the waste which fries the people that would be turning it into bombs then traces of it left in the core would fry a bomb’s electronics if it sat on the shelf for long). Of course said bomb could be used right away by suicidal processors or used for a dirty bomb. At the same time the process is claimed to burn nuclear waste when it is really turning ‘depleted’ Uranium or Thorium, which both are technically nuclear waste and certainly horrid stuff though standing next to them won’t kill you quickly, into a far far worse Americium laden stew. Both are flawed assertions about the technology and inherently contradictory since the Americium can’t be useful in the first instance yet glossed over in the second.

      1. John Wright

        We have Harold McCluskey (Hanford Washington nuclear plant employee) to show that one can live for quite a while after a massive exposure to Americium.

        So Americium “fries the people” might not be a short term event.

        His death is not attributed to the radiation exposure.

        “He died on August 17, 1987, of coronary artery disease. He had this disease before the accident, and a post mortem examination found no signs of cancer. At the time of his death he had 55 kBq of americium in his soft tissues (27.9 kBq in the liver), 470 kBq in the mineral surfaces of the bones, and 20 kBq in his bone marrow.”

  8. kareninca

    I live in a 1068 sf condo; three adults and a dog in Silicon Valley. We do not have air conditioning; thankfully I had the sense when we bought 25 years ago to get a ground floor unit (I was thinking of aging dogs not being able to use stairs), so it stays pretty cool in summer. The upstairs units can get horrifically hot in summer, but technically air conditioners are not even allowed (some people sneak them in out of desperation). We never use the electric heat; when we first turned it on 25 years ago, that month’s electric bill was $250, so it has been off ever since.

    So we have lights, a fridge, a stove, fans, air filters, a small stand-alone freezer, one TV, and computers. We use space heaters very judiciously in winter. And our typical monthly electric bill is about $200; sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. I suppose I should expect it to go up now.

    On a similar topic, the cheapest gas at the nearby gas station that I go to is now $4.59/gallon. It was $4.49/gallon for weeks but I guess they couldn’t hold it down any longer.

  9. WhoaMolly

    We live in the semi-rural, hot, dry foothills of California. We’ve had 3-5 days of summer blackouts for the last three or four years. Two years ago I built a marine battery backup for my CPAP for about $200. When fully charged it will keep CPAP running and various computers and mobile devices charged for about 5 days.

    Have resisted advice to buy a generator. Don’t want to have to store fuel, and don’t like the small-engine maintenance that would be required. (In my experience, small engines tend to die if they sit un-tended for most of the year)

    Maybe our next purchase should be solar panels for the roof. One friend made the conversion, and it supplies all the power he needs. He even sells some power back to the grid in the summer months.

    Can’t help thinking the real solution would be to move to a place with responsible governance. Someplace where the grid is stable (where would that be? Don’t know.) My advanced age and local family connections probably make such a move impractical and thus unlikely.

    1. Eye 65

      Generators need to be exercised once per week for 10 minutes. Both portable gasoline and stationary natural gas types. The small Honda gasoline generators are very quiet.

  10. sharron

    In Texas, if you have grid tied solar, it is automatically shut down by the power company if the power goes down. You might around it with some sort of isolation switch you could throw to keep your solar feeding your home when the power goes down. We are considering adding some solar, but not tying it to the grid here at our home.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I don’t know solar power because I have never worked with it. I “know” “about” solar power because I have read “about” it.

      Here are two things-or-places I have read about which might offer relevant help in crafting a stand-alone home solar survival system with zero contaminating points of contact with a politically and economically corrupt grid.

      This is purely historical legacy. I tried finding a link to a book I read about the “re-discovery” of all this which was written just recently. But today’s Search Obstruction Engines prevent me from finding it. If I can find it in the teeth of Search Obstruction Engine obstruction, I will bring it here. Meanwhile, here is the ancient fossil history link.

      There is a strictly private, strictly profit-based solar home-system electrification company in New Mexico called Zomeworks. It was started by solar energy engineer Steve Baer. ( I heard some years ago that he has Parkinson’s. Who knows if the company will outlive him).

      Zomeworks’ whole deal is strict and rigid Off Grid with Zero Connection to corrupt and corrupting power grids of any kind. Maybe it can offer what you are looking for.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If you end up discovering fairly conclusively that these links are either valuable or not valuable, I hope you will tell us either way.

          Obviously, it would make me happy if they turn out to be valuable. And it would be a hurtful disappointment to discover they were not valuable. But, it is better to know than to not know. So I hope you will tell us either way if/when the answer becomes known.

          These people might also have something useful. ( I am sorry that the first thing that comes up is some fluffy Yelp crap about what I think may be a good group. But that’s our Internet these days. The Infomercial Super Sewer.)

          This is a better link I hope.

    2. Grumpy Engineer

      In Texas, if you have grid tied solar, it is automatically shut down by the power company if the power goes down.

      This isn’t quite true, and it’s not just in Texas. All grid-tied solar inverters in the entire US are required to automatically disconnect when the power goes out. This is per UL rules, specifically UL1741. It’s a safety rule. If your inverter is forcing power into a de-energized parts of the grid, it could electrocute line workers doing repairs to restore power. [European inverters must also disconnect per IEC/CE rules.]

      There are fancier systems that will automatically disconnect your house from the grid when the power goes out and attempt to operate everything off of solar power, but they’re significantly more expensive and complex. And if your power draw exceeds what your solar array can supply, it’ll shut down anyway.

      1. Tom Pfotzer


        One way around this problem is to take some key parts of your house “off grid” and run them 24×7 off your solar system. Remember – you can take some of the circuits on your load center (circuit-breaker box) and move them onto another load center that is supplied by your solar system, rather than grid-power. Then when the grid goes down, your solar system keeps the essential circuits going, no fuss or muss. It’s a nice Plan B.

        If necessary, you might put dedicate one of your grid-supplied circuits to a battery charger that charges your solar batteries if/when the sun doesn’t shine. That way you don’t need as much battery capacity to tide you over a string of cloudy days.

        You could also consider having a generator that’s big enough to run the circuits connected to your solar system. Then, if you get a long outage and the solar batteries run down, you can switch from solar to generator power and keep on trucking.

        It’s nice to have options. Having a solar system beside / complementary to your grid system makes some sense, and might be worth a look.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I think people are worried about remote gridmasters secretly reaching into your own house and changing all your settings even if you are not solar power grid-input connected at all.

  11. drumlin woodchuckles

    California is the bluest Big Blue state.

    Texas is the reddest Big Red state.

    Both are having grid problems and both face blackouts this summer.

    There must be a deeper meaning here, if we care to admit to seeing it.

    1. Glen

      There is not much difference between Big Red and Big Blue.

      Remember the roles that these parties play:

      Big Red – do bad things
      Big Blue – stop good things

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        You have a point.

        I will halfway quibble over details by saying that I think that it is more technically accurate to say:

        Big Republican – do bad things
        Big Democrat – stop good things.

        I am viewing “Red” and “Blue” here as more vague mass-population cultural position affinity markers.

        Big Red Trumpanons.
        Big Blue Clintobamanons.

    2. WhoaMolly

      The comparison between Texas and California struck me.
      Provocative question:
      Are there *any* well managed states? One family member is moving to Florida.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If your family member is young enough to have decades of life ahead of themself, they might want to live far enough inland to avoid the worst force of a hurricane, and they might want to live high elevation enough to avoid a foot or so rise in sea level.

        And wherever in Florida they live, they might want to be prepared for a “Hurricane Harvey” type event where a hurricane decides to park itself overhead and rain in one place for day after day after day . . . after day . . .

        If they are already old and retiring there, they might want to buy the cheapest crappiest-while-still-yet-being-livable hut or hovel they can afford. And when global warming takes it, they will have lost very little money. And had fun in the sun in the meantime.

        A well run state? I don’t know. Many formerly well-run states have been infected with Tea Trumpanon Republicanitis of the brain. Any state with a heavily German or Scandinavian population might still have a legacy memory of well-run-ness.

        That’s all just my best speculative thoughts, to be sure.

    3. d w

      i suspect it has to do with the root of all problems


      in this case those who who pushed for deregulation had the money to push it through

      and the politicians are using that as a doge for blame

      if not saying look over there. to misdirect the publics anger for creating the problem, and not fixing (Texas legislature just finished their every 2 year duty cycle. and did nothing to fix it)

  12. drumlin woodchuckles

    I tried sending a comment and it insta-vanished into the digital ether. I will try again when I have more time.

    ( And this was supposed to next below Sharron’s comment but it didn’t).

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      That’s very Woke of California. Its also very performative. its also very stupid, for that reason among others.

      Any state or municipality that would do that is very stupidly run indeed. I would never live in a place which decides to ” ban gas hookups”. People who have no choice but to live there might well end up getting propane appliances and buying propane to operate them . . . . at least for when the power blacks out.

      I just thought up a new word. “Groke”. For ” green” plus “woke”. Groke. I’ll try injecting it into the language here and there. Banning new NatGas hookups is very groke.

      1. Anders K

        I like the sound of it, but its a bit close to the invented word “grok” (from Heinleins Stranger in a Strange Land), which means “to completely and utterly comprehend something” which I’ll posit is not what “groke” is about.

        I highly dislike the performative flogging of individuals that’s going on with greenification (and quite a bit of wokeness), while the main bad actors – companies, states etc – are let off mostly scot free.

        Nothing will convince me that power companies are just feeble reeds in the wind of personal choice by the lumpen proletariat.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          We could pronounce grok and groke differently enough from eachother so as to make the difference clear. Grok versus groke rhymes with clock versus cloak, for example. Also, the contexts would be different.

          Someone who is strutting their Green Wokeness with zero actual green knowledge would be groke. For example, people with zero knowledge of the in-soil carbon bio-sequestration that Gabe Brown and others are achieving with livestock-integrated agrosystems going around saying ” cattle heat the planet”. That’s very groke.

          Whereas green plus genius equals “greenius”. There’s another candidate for new word.
          The vastly under-known and under-celebrated Jean Pain of South France invented a system for using chipped brush for survival useful heat and compost. Green genius! Greenius!

          Or John Todd of The New Alchemy Institute and other things more recently.


          But now, imagine a Greta Tunberg type figure who doesn’t actually know anything about any green science or energy science or anything. ( I say a ” Greta Tunberg figure” instead of overtly saying “Greta Tunberg” because I don’t know what the real Greta Tunberg does and doesn’t actually know. So I will just imagine the caricatured figure come-to-life. Green-woke. Groke.

  13. Sound of the Suburbs

    The private sector is there to make a profit.
    The public sector is there to provide a service.

    Let’s get our advisers in from the private sector.
    Their aim is to flog as much of their kit as they can, not provide a reliable power supply.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  14. Grateful Dude

    California blackouts are routine whenever the temperature is hot, which it is all Summer, and there are high winds, usually from the Northeast, at the same time. Blackouts last from a day to several with no compensation for the inconvenience suffered by customers: gasoline generators and at least extensive extension cords but for the lucky, off-permit circuit-board modifications to power the house, bags of ice and big coolers, fans (no AC, naturally), and trips to the Community Center to get internet. It’s a social occasion!?!

    These blackouts are effected primarily because of the condition of the power lines that ignite the landscape and all the resulting bodies PG&E has scattered across the state. Helicopters scan their lines before power is restored.

    Why wasn’t PG&E seized by California after they admitted almost a hundred homicides in the Camp Fire (IIRC), the sacrifice of safety for shareholder value, and then bankruptcy?

    1. John k

      Because donations to governor. This is the best argument for recalling him… but will there be a reasonable alternate on offer? Hardly likely…

  15. Madgepetto

    Indeed..As a survivor of the Camp Fire in November 2018 I can only marvel at the depth of corruption that has allowed them to steer their own bankruptcy through the court and engineer a continuing rape of the victims in the so called “Fire Victim’s Trust”.They own the state from the Governor right on down through the Public Utilities Commission and a large part of the legal system.Gotta keep those contributions rolling in!

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