Electricity Hell – Econlib
In California, the state government is pushing us Californians away from gasoline and natural gas and towards electricity. The California Air Resources Board wants to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles and even hybrid vehicles effective in 2035. I say “wants to” rather than “will” because I don’t think it will succeed. It also plans to mandate, in 2025, but effective in 2030, a ban on new purchases of natural gas-powered water heaters and space heaters. I guess CARB prefers that natural gas be used to produce electricity, with the attendant loss of efficiency in transmission, over the direct use in homes. I’m not sure why.
What CARB is doing is gradually reducing diversity in energy usage. That makes us more vulnerable when the electric power goes out. My wife and I lost electric power 6 times between December 10 and today. Typically it was for a few hours. On New Year’s eve, it was for 9 hours. I remember when it came on after the 6th time, we commented to each other that electricity and light felt like a luxury. (Why did it go out? Heavy rain that uprooted trees that have shallow roots, causing the trees to fall on power lines.)
A friend of mine in an apartment in San Francisco had a much worse experience on Friday. His power was out for many hours. He works from home on a desktop computer, not a laptop computer. So he couldn’t work. He thought, therefore, of driving somewhere in his car. But his car is parked in a garage attached to the apartment block and the gate to the garage opens electronically. So he couldn’t get his car out.
How about, then, going for a walk? Surely he could do that. Two problems. First, because the power was out, there was no light in the hallway or the stairwell. Both have emergency lighting but because the outage lasted so long, were out of juice. I asked him if he could have used a flashlight to go down the 5 stories to the outside but he said that at his age, he didn’t feel safe doing so. Second, the door to get back into his apartment complex is attached to electric power. So yes, he could have gone for a walk. But he wouldn’t have been able to get back into his apartment.
Oh, and because the water heating system in his apartment has an electric component, he couldn’t get a nice hot shower.
This is electricity hell, and it’s what the state government is planning for millions of Californians.
Note: My friend read this in advance to make sure I got the facts right. He wanted me to add that his cat didn’t like it either.
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