Author Topic: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!  (Read 8710 times)

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Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #125 on: October 16, 2019, 12:21:53 am »
Something will light the forest sooner or later regardless.

Without a doubt.  Again, what's an "act of God" exactly?

The wisdom of building homes in a natural fire pit seems questionable.  The fact they can get home owners insurance, also questionable.  I guess if the insurance company can suck billions out of a public utility, its subsidizing insurance rates passed on to all electric customers in CA.  The whole situation stinks to high hell. 

Its CA, they have their own way of doing things.  Hopefully, they keep it to themselves.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 02:20:27 am by orion242 »
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #126 on: October 16, 2019, 02:18:47 am »
So, if PG&E decided to do more maintenance, they would petition the CPUC for funding and the CPUC would reject passing the costs on to the ratepayers who elect the Governor who appoints the members.

I appreciate all the points you have made and have to say that I am not at all an expert in California's governance. So you may be right about all this. The one thing that doesn't ring true with me is that electricity transmission and distribution has been around for decades, maybe getting on for 100 years. Maintenance is not a new thing you have to do more of, it is a routine thing you have always had to do for as long as anyone can remember. It effectively should be an operating cost that would be "grandfathered in".

There is also a commercial argument. PG&E have to set an operating budget required to run the business safely and successfully. If they find the CPUC won't let them set a proper budget they can step aside and give up the franchise. That leaves the state holding the baby. Nobody can force a company to operate at a loss if they don't choose to. (PG&E is not exactly a small operation. They can explore other business opportunities.)
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Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #127 on: October 16, 2019, 02:32:04 am »
In every area in the US I have resided, public utilities are regulated by a local body.

Their profit margins are controlled and any rate increases need to be approved by said regulating body.  If maintenance was $hit, that body likely had right to force improvement and approve the cost increase.  Its not uncommon for a supplier to request a rate increase and be denied for whatever reason.  Nobody pays attention to whats going on unless its an increase.  So the incentive of the regulators are certainly to keep costs constant.

Where I'm at now, they barely maintain 10' clearance from the lines AFTER a trimming exercise.  That said, they will leave the canopy of trees over the lines.  Its a 10' circle around the lines on freshly maintained lines, best case.  That crap isn't surviving 70+ MPH wind.  Result, high winds we lose power.  Its not stupid dry here so the fire hazard is minor.  Its a local issue, and nobody pays attention to a small area without power.

Why do the regulators allow this non-sense.  Million residents contesting cutting trees in their front yards vs population that just gets a custom to this crap.  Kill their power for high winds, yep the population is going to go crazy of the state of things.  The writing been on the wall for years, nobody gave a crap till facebook didn't work for a week.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 03:02:42 am by orion242 »
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #128 on: October 16, 2019, 02:35:49 am »
Remember, during high wind events, there's probably no such thing as a right-of-way though a dry forest that doesn't get flying debris from outside the right-of-way.

Ditto.

Insurance companies meet "act of God" and charge rates that reflect actual risk.  Problem solves itself in short order without upending the whole population.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 02:37:27 am by orion242 »
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #129 on: October 16, 2019, 02:41:45 am »
And just in 5 min of looking into the CPUC they have regulations on a "public safety shutdown"

Any utility faced with billions of lawsuits vs safe space, is going to pick safe space.  The safe space laid out by the jokers that also oversee the same issues at the root of this problem.

"Regulatory capture" thank you soldar for the correct term.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 02:47:05 am by orion242 »
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #130 on: October 16, 2019, 09:05:33 am »
It is disingenuous to claim that the deferred maintenance is in the name of profit.  As a public utility, PG&E's profit margin is set by law.  Oddly, they make more profit when they encourage lower consumption.  The CPUC regulates all of this.  If the utility needed more money for maintenance, they would have to get the approval of the CPUC.

https://www.pge.com/en_US/small-medium-business/your-account/rates-and-rate-options/learn-more-about-rates/how-pge-makes-money.page

But the CPUC members are political appointees with absolutely no background in utilities or, probably, even working for a living.  They are hangers-on in the orbit of the Governor.

https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=710

So, if PG&E decided to do more maintenance, they would petition the CPUC for funding and the CPUC would reject passing the costs on to the ratepayers who elect the Governor who appoints the members.

It's pretty easy to understand why this system fails.

There is incompetence built into the system at every level.  it is unfair to blame PG&E for all of the issues when they very probably did ask for additional funding.  Nobody will ever admit to it because it would make the CPUC seem even more incompetent and, by extension, the Governor's choice in appointees, so PG&E goes along with the charade because they are regulated by the CPUC.

Again, I'm not a great fan of PG&E but I know enough about how the system is set up to realize that it isn't all their fault.  They had a lot help!


It is not just PG&E and not just California. This is a very common and widespread arrangement around the world in any government-regulated industry. It is exactly what happens in Spain. The electric utilities are regulated by the Ministry of Industry. Every minister and every prime minister, as soon as they are out of that job, join the board or directors of some big utility. A sinecure which gives them status and money in exchange for nothing. Or rather, in exchange for their services while they were in the government. It is totally transparent.

Politicians, especially the left-leaning, may talk about controlling and reining-in this or that industry but once they are in power it is all forgotten. It does not matter if they were conservative or extra-ultra-extreme-communist. They get a sinecure and you never hear from them again.

In Spain most privately owned banks did OK during the crisis but the Savings & Loan (Cajas de Ahorro) which were run by governments *all* failed catastrophically. The boards of those S&L were all populated by politicians which just gave money and loans to their pet disastrous projects while they collected huge salaries.  When the whole thing came crashing down and millions of people lost their life savings the politicians on the boards, the ones who were supposed to be in charge, just claimed they knew or understood nothing about the banking system and just signed off whatever was put in front of them.

After the debacle leftist politicians running in elections claim the banking system needs to be nationalized. Um, it was the state controlled banks that failed and the privately owned and professionally managed banks that did well. But the common voter has the attention span of a goldfish and the intellect of a gnat and likes the idea of sticking it to someone so millions vote for that kind of nonsense.

There are many other industries which have captured their regulators in the same way. The government wants to create jobs and starts a program building toll highways. Private industry knows they cannot be profitable so they don't do it. The government makes an agreement with them that the State will guarantee their profit. OK, then. Highways are built, fail to make a profit, as predicted, and the government buys them back while the building companies laugh all the way to the bank. The public blames the "greedy" building companies and their directors but not the politicians they elected. This is a "good cop, bad cop" arrangement. In the end they are both working together and the public is stiffed.

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Offline rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #131 on: October 16, 2019, 03:41:47 pm »
So, if PG&E decided to do more maintenance, they would petition the CPUC for funding and the CPUC would reject passing the costs on to the ratepayers who elect the Governor who appoints the members.

I appreciate all the points you have made and have to say that I am not at all an expert in California's governance. So you may be right about all this. The one thing that doesn't ring true with me is that electricity transmission and distribution has been around for decades, maybe getting on for 100 years. Maintenance is not a new thing you have to do more of, it is a routine thing you have always had to do for as long as anyone can remember. It effectively should be an operating cost that would be "grandfathered in".

Except for the part where the environmentalists control logging and burns.  Simply cutting back on the trees is pretty useless if the cuttings are left behind.  PG&E has about 125,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines and they actually clear about 100 miles per year.  So, in about 1000 years they will be finished with the first pass.

Typical of MANY articles complaining about the trimming:
https://www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/article/Radical-tree-trimming-Critics-say-PG-E-s-14305225.php

Quote
There is also a commercial argument. PG&E have to set an operating budget required to run the business safely and successfully. If they find the CPUC won't let them set a proper budget they can step aside and give up the franchise. That leaves the state holding the baby. Nobody can force a company to operate at a loss if they don't choose to. (PG&E is not exactly a small operation. They can explore other business opportunities.)

It wouldn't matter if PG&E had the budget or not, they can't get enough tree trimmers.  The largest contractor in the state allowed their contract to expire because of liability laws that held the tree trimmers responsible for any damage their equipment might cause.  This isn't a bad thing unless the vegetation is so dense that a fire is likely and the liability so high that contractors walk away.

https://www.kqed.org/news/11745335/pge-lost-longtime-tree-trimming-contractor-as-scrutiny-on-utility-mounted-over-wildfires

Notice in the article that the largest tree trimmers aren't from around here!

PG&E planned to trim about 750 miles of trees (out of 100,000 miles of overhead wires) and is less than 1/3 done.  Even if they trim 1,000 miles per year, it will still take 100 years to trim it all.  Of course, they have to prioritize and some areas are more risky than others but unless they can recruit a few thousand more tree trimmers, with equipment and liability insurance, nothing is going to improve.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/PG-E-is-less-than-one-third-done-with-its-2019-14483596.php

Laying this all at the feet of PG&E is not correct.  They are not blameless but there are external factors that make matters difficult.

As to giving up on the electrical transmission and distribution business, what else can they do?  That's the business they are in unless they get liquidated in bankruptcy.

MANY years ago I was involved with constructing high tech facilities in Silicon Valley.  It was a period with an abundance of empty space so I asked one of the developers "Why are you building more buildings?".  He told me "Because that's the business we are in.".  I guess it makes sense and when business turned around, all the buildings filled up, more building were built and, well, that's the business they're in.

You have to wonder how deregulation played into this situation.  Generation was split away from transmission and distribution and while PG&E has a generation division, they compete with other generators while still having to wheel the power from the T&D division.  Generation is controlled by what is euphemistically called an Independent System Operator (CAISO).  Not only does the CPUC regulate, so does the CAISO.  To the point where the CAISO has 'build or not' control over the proposed transmission lines from Southern California to Northern California.  PG&E has been working for decades to add another 500 kV circuit without success.

http://www.caiso.com/Documents/ISOResponsestoComments_2018-2019TransmissionPlanningProcessMeeting-Sept20-21-2018.pdf

Electricity in California is a very weird situation.  It would be comical if it weren't so important.  I had a project one time, back around 2002, where outages were expected due to gamesmanship surrounding generation where I had to install generators and transfer switches on 3 1000 kVA substations such that we could ride through the outages.  You would not believe the nightmare involved with getting permits for above ground storage of diesel fuel.  I spent a metric buttload of money installing this equipment (while not shutting down the plant to do it) just to get around the games.

Talk about a game:  There are a lot of small generators as well as a few large ones.  The small generators would stay off-line until the spot price got high enough (CAISO again) and then they would turn on.  The way it worked is that ALL generators got the same spot price for the entire day.  Think about it!  Hold off on generating until the price goes high and then everybody eats from the same trough.  Pretty sweet game!  It's called 'gaming' in the following document.

This document is impossible to understand but you will find the word 'gaming' in 4 places having to do with bid pricing of generation:
http://www.caiso.com/Documents/2017AnnualReportonMarketIssuesandPerformance.pdf  Even the regulators know it is going on.  The ratepayers probably don't...

You just have to live here to enjoy watching this train wreck!


 

Online nctnico

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #132 on: October 16, 2019, 04:27:35 pm »
Highways are built, fail to make a profit, as predicted, and the government buys them back while the building companies laugh all the way to the bank. The public blames the "greedy" building companies and their directors but not the politicians they elected. This is a "good cop, bad cop" arrangement. In the end they are both working together and the public is stiffed.
I don't see how you can get stiffed while ending up with a good piece of road to drive on.
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Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #133 on: October 16, 2019, 06:42:59 pm »
I don't see how you can get stiffed while ending up with a good piece of road to drive on.


Really? Let me see if I can explain it in simple terms.

The minister in charge of public works proposes to company X that they build a toll road.

Minister of Public Works: Hey, I could give you a license to build a toll road from A to B and would expect a nice kickback from you.

Company X: Nah. There would never be enough traffic to make it profitable.

MPW: Oh, come on! how am I going to get a kickback then?

CX: Why don't you build the road yourself and stop bothering me?

MPW: No. That would not work. I would have to get the expense approved in the national budget and that would never pass because, you know, it would never be profitable. I tell you what. You propose an unrealistic forecast of traffic that makes it profitable and we guarantee that if you don't get that traffic we would compensate you.

CX: Oh, OK. That way we cannot lose money.

Company X builds the road which, surprise, surprise, does not have enough traffic to make it profitable. A big debacle ensues when it is found out the State would have to pay money to the greedy company. All negative public opinion is directed against greedy, unscrupulous company X. But company X got what they contracted for, the corrupt government officers got their kickbacks and the public got screwed because they paid for a road that was not worth building in the first place and has much less traffic than "predicted". If realistic traffic projections had been considered the road would not have been considered worth building.

And it is not only roads. There are many other constructions in the same situation. Buildings, airports, bridges, etc which sit idle and have no use whatsoever. Yeah, the public paid for an airport and got an airport. ... which was not needed and which now has no use.

If you can't see how that is getting stiffed, well, I don't know what to say.

The same thing happened with the second Panama Canal. A Spanish Company was the lowest bidder outbidding an American company. Everybody said it was impossible to do it for that price but Spain wanted the contract and the Spanish government guaranteed it. Well, dontcha know it, they said it couldn't be done and the Spanish company found out it couldn't be done. Then nobody wanted to take responsibility. The company said it had found unexpected geological problems, the Spanish government said it would rather not pay. I don't know how it was resolved in the end but I assume it was the usual way: another round of kickbacks to everyone involved.

Just because the taxpayer paid for a [road, bridge, airport, etc.] and that was built and delivered does not mean the taxpayer got their money's worth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravina_Island_Bridge

Do you understand it now? Or would a diagram help?
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Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #134 on: October 16, 2019, 06:56:41 pm »
Talk about a game:  There are a lot of small generators as well as a few large ones.  The small generators would stay off-line until the spot price got high enough (CAISO again) and then they would turn on.  The way it worked is that ALL generators got the same spot price for the entire day.  Think about it!  Hold off on generating until the price goes high and then everybody eats from the same trough.  Pretty sweet game!  It's called 'gaming' in the following document.

This document is impossible to understand but you will find the word 'gaming' in 4 places having to do with bid pricing of generation:
http://www.caiso.com/Documents/2017AnnualReportonMarketIssuesandPerformance.pdf  Even the regulators know it is going on.  The ratepayers probably don't...

You just have to live here to enjoy watching this train wreck!

Hey! We have the same system in Spain. We have these weird auctions where producers offer chunks of electric power in rising prices. When the last chunk is bought at the highest price then everybody gets that price.  Electric power is always paid to producers at the most expensive price anyone has asked.
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Online CatalinaWOW

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #135 on: October 16, 2019, 10:00:00 pm »
So, if PG&E decided to do more maintenance, they would petition the CPUC for funding and the CPUC would reject passing the costs on to the ratepayers who elect the Governor who appoints the members.

I appreciate all the points you have made and have to say that I am not at all an expert in California's governance. So you may be right about all this. The one thing that doesn't ring true with me is that electricity transmission and distribution has been around for decades, maybe getting on for 100 years. Maintenance is not a new thing you have to do more of, it is a routine thing you have always had to do for as long as anyone can remember. It effectively should be an operating cost that would be "grandfathered in".

There is also a commercial argument. PG&E have to set an operating budget required to run the business safely and successfully. If they find the CPUC won't let them set a proper budget they can step aside and give up the franchise. That leaves the state holding the baby. Nobody can force a company to operate at a loss if they don't choose to. (PG&E is not exactly a small operation. They can explore other business opportunities.)

Yes maintenance has existed for a century.  And if you could find folks that would work for the wages of a century ago and buy equipment and supplies at the prices of a century ago all would be good.  Unfortunately 100 years of even modest inflation makes a huge difference.

To you other point, you cannot force a company to operate at a loss.  But for large, specialized companies like utilities the options are limited.  Go out of business or take risks.  Both options are unappealing.  In retrospect PG&E perhaps should have taken the other path, but that is hindsite.  It is also unclear how the result would be different.  One likely outcome would be for the state to buy the assets and run the utility themselves. The financial constraints probably would have remained the same and the fires happened anyway.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #136 on: October 17, 2019, 12:16:40 am »
Simply cutting back on the trees is pretty useless if the cuttings are left behind.

Drop the trees towards the forest, they will dry out and it will be taken care of with the next burn. All the maintenance can do is prevent the trees from falling on the lines.

BTW, given the amount of work/money we are talking about here we can safely call the needed maintenance in California a megaproject ... so treat it as such. Don't think in "what can we do with existing means", think "what do we have to build to do this is efficiently as possible". You shouldn't have crews going in there with chain saws, you should have a fleet of purpose build tracked machines going in there which can simultaneously clear the brush, cut a tree, push it out of the way and grind the stump in a minute or so.

Somewhere in that multi-billion dollar price tag there is easily enough money for a R&D project to design them and manufacture them ...
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 12:34:18 am by Marco »
 

Online schmitt trigger

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #137 on: October 17, 2019, 01:14:50 am »

There are many other industries which have captured their regulators in the same way. The government wants to create jobs and starts a program building toll highways. Private industry knows they cannot be profitable so they don't do it. The government makes an agreement with them that the State will guarantee their profit. OK, then. Highways are built, fail to make a profit, as predicted, and the government buys them back while the building companies laugh all the way to the bank. The public blames the "greedy" building companies and their directors but not the politicians they elected. This is a "good cop, bad cop" arrangement. In the end they are both working together and the public is stiffed.


If you hadn't mentioned Spain, I would believe that you were talking about Mexico.
Because the scenario you are describing happened exactly like that in the late 1990s.

Of course, once that the government "nationalized" all of the tollways from the crony capitalists, it immediately; a) suspended maintenance on the free roads, and b) tripled the tolls on the tollways.

The free roads, after decades of neglect, have eventually become ultra congested, dangerous and slow. There are areas where there is no real choice but to pay the exorbitant tolls.

 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #138 on: October 17, 2019, 02:38:29 am »
You shouldn't have crews going in there with chain saws, you should have a fleet of purpose build tracked machines going in there which can simultaneously clear the brush, cut a tree, push it out of the way and grind the stump in a minute or so.

The helo flung buzz saw looked interesting. 

Requirements

-Pilot must have steel balls or need not apply.
-Bring your own transport.  Fuel, saw and materials provided
-Insurance coverage in excess of crazy amount required on self supplied transport

Benefits

-Work as much as you want.  24/7/365 or more prefered.

Sorry little Johnny, you need to stay inside for a few minutes.  There's a 40' flying saw hanging around out front.

Like any efficient solution is going to fly at the scale required in CA.  That's the real comedy here.  The problem is massive and every tom, dick and harry is going to freak out because a 6" diameter redwood is 5 foot of the lines.  That said, they also freak if rolling blackouts once again settle in CA.  Hello Enron all over.

Could be a reality show.  Tonight!  Protestor chained to the tree vs incoming massive flying saw.  Protestor scramble to unlock or does the chain catch up in the saw pulling helo instantly to ground?  Stay tuned!
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 03:59:41 am by orion242 »
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #139 on: October 17, 2019, 02:47:34 am »
PG&E planned to trim about 750 miles of trees (out of 100,000 miles of overhead wires) and is less than 1/3 done.  Even if they trim 1,000 miles per year, it will still take 100 years to trim it all.  Of course, they have to prioritize and some areas are more risky than others but unless they can recruit a few thousand more tree trimmers, with equipment and liability insurance, nothing is going to improve.

And that's just PG&E.  That other utility just sparked a fire, so add in their mileage and likely others.

The scale of the problem is insane at this point.  Its not getting fixed any time soon, and the cost is going to match the scale.

Get your check book out CA and don't expect fewer PSPS anytime soon.  And after they catch up, don't expect any rate reductions.  What they "capture" is almost never returned.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #140 on: October 17, 2019, 09:17:57 am »
I don't see how you can get stiffed while ending up with a good piece of road to drive on.

Really? Let me see if I can explain it in simple terms.

If you can't see how that is getting stiffed, well, I don't know what to say.

Do you understand it now? Or would a diagram help?
I see and I just got much happier to live in the Netherlands where such sh*t happens next to never. The big trick is not to put too much power into a single person.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #141 on: October 17, 2019, 11:06:08 am »
The big trick is not to put too much power into a single person.

No, it's not a single person, there are tens of thousands.
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Online nctnico

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #142 on: October 17, 2019, 04:06:28 pm »
The big trick is not to put too much power into a single person.

No, it's not a single person, there are tens of thousands.
No. What you often see is a single person with a whole bunch of friends around (usually) him. Look at Erdogan, Putin or Trump. Things go to sh*t when that happens. In the NL's parliament about 80 people from different parties need to vote in favour of an idea. So if something gets a positive voting outcome it likely is a good idea. There isn't a single person who can veto or push an idea.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #143 on: October 17, 2019, 05:10:08 pm »
And then we have the California High Speed Rail from southern California to northern California, not stopping in any city of consequence.  I have a question:  Why would anybody in the south want to come north (and vice versa) in enough numbers to pay for a $77 billion dollar railroad (likely to cost well north of $100 billion by the time it is complete).  If they were going to build it, it should terminate in San Jose or San Francisco, not a cow-town like Sacramento.  That makes as much sense as dumping the passengers in Stockton which makes more sense than Merced because there is a rail line from the Central Valley to Silicon Valley.

Fortunately, this project has been cancelled but not before spending $5.4 billion to build 120 miles of railway that goes from nowhere (Bakersfield), to nowhere (Merced) and I don't think a train has ever run the route.  In fact, I don't think it is complete.  I'm reading number like $12 billion for the short piece.  It would be cheaper to buy all the passengers their own Ferrari and pay for the gas!  Think in terms of $100 million per MILE.

If you want people with money to ride the thing, it needs to start where people with money live and it needs to end where people with money want to go.  Bakersfield and Merced are not the financial or technological high spots of California.


 

Offline maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #144 on: October 17, 2019, 05:43:22 pm »
High speed rail has been considered a boondoggle since the beginning. I have no idea why any money was ever spent.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #145 on: October 17, 2019, 06:06:43 pm »
High speed rail has been considered a boondoggle since the beginning. I have no idea why any money was ever spent.

When Edmund G Brown was Governor, he condemned the ferries between San Diego and Coronado Island and built the Coronado Bay Bridge.  We always called it Governor Brown's last erection.

Along comes Junior (Jerry Brown) and he wants an even bigger project, something that will be a permanent memorial to his magnificence.  Hence the High Speed Rail.

And that's why it happened...

 

Offline Nusa

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #146 on: October 17, 2019, 06:12:17 pm »
And then we have the California High Speed Rail from southern California to northern California, not stopping in any city of consequence.  I have a question:  Why would anybody in the south want to come north (and vice versa) in enough numbers to pay for a $77 billion dollar railroad (likely to cost well north of $100 billion by the time it is complete).  If they were going to build it, it should terminate in San Jose or San Francisco, not a cow-town like Sacramento.  That makes as much sense as dumping the passengers in Stockton which makes more sense than Merced because there is a rail line from the Central Valley to Silicon Valley.

Fortunately, this project has been cancelled but not before spending $5.4 billion to build 120 miles of railway that goes from nowhere (Bakersfield), to nowhere (Merced) and I don't think a train has ever run the route.  In fact, I don't think it is complete.  I'm reading number like $12 billion for the short piece.  It would be cheaper to buy all the passengers their own Ferrari and pay for the gas!  Think in terms of $100 million per MILE.

If you want people with money to ride the thing, it needs to start where people with money live and it needs to end where people with money want to go.  Bakersfield and Merced are not the financial or technological high spots of California.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_High-Speed_Rail

I  think it's too early to say either that its been canceled completely (falls under Trump exaggerations) or that it's going to be completed as planned.
And you picked on only part of the plan..the whole thing does include all those cities you consider worthy.

I have to be amused about your characterization of California cities that are of no consequence:
Sacramento, capital of California, 508K people, 6th largest city in California, 36th largest city in the USA.
Stockton, 311K people, 13th largest city in California,  61st largest city in the USA.
Modesto (not mentioned by you, but also a stop on that route), 215K people, 18th largest city in California, 104th largest city in the USA.
Merced only has 83K people, which is about the same size as the top-10 college town with 50K students I'm sitting in at the moment.
Oh, you also mentioned:
Bakersfield, 383K people, 9th largest city in California, 53rd largest city in USA.

Oh, the city that actually uses the nickname "cowtown" is Fort Worth, Texas. A city slightly larger than San Francisco. Apparently there was a lot of money in cows.
 

Offline fourfathom

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #147 on: October 17, 2019, 06:42:16 pm »
I have to be amused about your characterization of California cities that are of no consequence

The cities where a high-speed rail might make the most impact are San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento.  The current HS rail plan runs between Bakersfield and Merced.  This is not a good use of our tax dollars.
 

Online schmitt trigger

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #148 on: October 17, 2019, 08:11:25 pm »
I read once, but I cannot find the source now, that the rationale for California's high speed rail project was to assist with development of the state's vast interior. California's coastal cities already are, as they stand now, some of the world's most developed urban places in the world.

That is a noble and altruistic argument which nevertheless crashes with reality:
if money were not an issue, then by all means do it. But as others have mentioned, this is an ultra expensive project, and you better serve the areas which are both large in population centers and enjoy higher average income brackets. That is, if you want to recoup the investment in a reasonable time, if ever.

For that same reason, Japan's first Shinkansen was built between Tokyo-Osaka, and not between some villages in Kyushu.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 08:15:18 pm by schmitt trigger »
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #149 on: October 17, 2019, 08:19:06 pm »
I  think it's too early to say either that its been canceled completely (falls under Trump exaggerations) or that it's going to be completed as planned.
And you picked on only part of the plan..the whole thing does include all those cities you consider worthy.

I have to be amused about your characterization of California cities that are of no consequence:Francisco. Apparently there was a lot of money in cows.

But you overlooked the demographics.  If the central valley were an independent state, it would be the most impoverished state in the country.  There's no money out here, hence no need to travel.  It's true that Dublin, Tracy and Stockton are bedroom communities for Silicon Valley but the commute is ugly.  It wasn't bad when I moved to Tracy in '86 but by the time I retired in '03, it was truly grim.

Do they really think people are going to want to transfer from Stockton to San Jose?  Nobody wants to stand around in Stockton, it's among the top 10 most dangerous cities in the US.  The Amtrac train from Stockton to San Jose takes 1hr55min and if it happens to run on a compatible schedule, this may be faster than driving.  But not by much and you are at the mercy of the LightRail when you get to San Jose.

i understand why it runs up the Central Valley, there are far fewer people to sue over routing but the money is on the coast.

The high speed rail will never directly connect to the money centers of San Francisco, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara or even Milpitas.  It wasn't even intended to.  At best, to get from LA to San Francisco means a transfer to <something> in Sacramento.  And it's still 100 miles out of the way.  They are discussing 'blended' options of transfers to CalTrain to get to ultimate destinations.  There is also a discussion about routing through the Pachecho Pass south west of San Jose but I think that is a connecting low speed train.

Mass transit in a horizontal state like California is a money losing proposition.  It works fine in a confined vertical environment like NYC or the downtown portions of LA but there is a perception problem that is pretty close to reality:  I didn't spend 6 years in college to ride buses with gangsters.  And, yes, I lived in Inglewood for a while and took the bus over to Loyola Marymount, at night.  I wouldn't do it today!


When aerospace was king, the housing for the workers at Convair and Ryan was out in Santee - about 20 slow miles inland.  In fact, the entire Carlton Hills development was targeted at aerospace workers and Convair used to run a shuttle bus.  Today there is bus service - takes about 2 hours.  Of course, Convair is long gone but it was a great place to work!  Both of my parents and my brother and I all worked there over the years.

And, having taken a train to a stop nowhere near where you need to go, how do you get there?  Taxi, Uber, Lyft or do you keep a car at both ends?  Heck, I knew a guy who used to fly in from Oakdale (central valley) to Sunnyvale - about 90 miles.  I think he had a car on both ends.
 


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