Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Power Crisis

More power crisis headlines in the papers yesterday, with dire warnings of power-cuts and brownouts. And of course, more calls for domestic users to save electricity. The problem is, we're not the problem.

Domestic users are ~35 to 40 percent of the electricity market. Calling on them to save power isn't going to do squat unless the people who are using the other 60% or so likewise cut back. People like ComalCo, for example, who reportedly use most of the power from the Manapouri hydro scheme. Or, if we're looking at people who can reduce their usage without having to chip aluminium out of their production line with jackhammers, the wankers in Wellington who light up every floor of their high-rises all night when there's noone there.

Domestic users are small fry, and there's simply no point in targeting them. The demand is fairly inelastic, and the possible savings are tiny. Turning your TV off at the wall will save a Watt or two on standby mode; turning off the unnecessary lighting in a twenty-story building saves thousands of times more. Unfortunately, the wankers will continue lighting up their buildings, while grannies freeze to death because they think they shouldn't turn the heater on...