Author Topic: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!  (Read 8553 times)

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Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #75 on: October 14, 2019, 03:33:13 am »
California gets lot of earthquakes so I imagine underground anything is a very bad idea.  Wonder how they do gas lines, or guess they don't have any?  Don't really need heating there and if you do a heat pump probably works fine.

For HV transmission it would be hard to do underground too.  Very expensive to maintain. Imagine the isolation you'd need for those cables too.
 

Offline don.r

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #76 on: October 14, 2019, 03:45:02 am »
I live in an earthquake prone area and have an underground gas line. I'm sure they are engineered for a certain amount of flex. The biggest problem for underground power here is surface bedrock requiring blasting and water intrusion. Unfortunately we also have a LOT of very tall trees and big windstorms in November/December so above ground lines are not much good either. Had 6 days without power last year, not fun after day 2. Most of the newer homes have natural gas powered backup generators.
 

Offline windsmurf

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #77 on: October 14, 2019, 04:28:00 am »
But electricity companies should be fined for this. They are supposed to survey their lines and cut back trees to maintain adequate clearance. There is no excuse for lack of maintenance.

Utilities are regulated by the State. The people demand low energy prices, NYMBY, etc. Politicians running for election promise the impossible and get elected. Raising prices would backfire immediately while keeping low prices means delayed maintenance which will come back to bite you later... when some other politician is running.

PG&E had a net loss of some billion in 2018 so there's no way they could pay for all the needed improvements. But the people of California will continue to demand the impossible and politicians will continue to promise to deliver the impossible. That's democracy in action. The people want the impossible and they want it now.

The same thing is happening with pensions and other expenses like infrastructure maintenance and modernization.

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Offline floobydust

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #78 on: October 14, 2019, 04:41:39 am »
There's lots we don't know aggravating the calamity:
California made it very difficult to do controlled brush burns, due to "smoke management regulations".

There's "a wildfire liability bill... Assembly Bill 1054, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in July, allows cost recovery from ratepayers if utilities meet safety certification requirements and act “reasonably,” and it created a $21 billion state wildfire fund paid for by ratepayers and utility companies equally. The law has been challenged in a federal lawsuit by San Diego attorney Michael Aguirre on behalf of a PG&E ratepayer, and it may not survive legal scrutiny."

“inverse condemnation.” "In its simplest terms, it means privately owned utilities in California that have been given the right to run power lines through private property are held to “strict liability” for damage that is caused by their equipment, even if they are not negligent. That means the companies are on the hook for the full cost of wildfire damage if the fire was started by even one spark from their power lines in a hot, dry windstorm."

OP ed https://www.sbsun.com/2019/10/12/why-the-power-is-going-out-in-california-susan-shelley/
 

Offline windsmurf

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #79 on: October 14, 2019, 04:43:19 am »
...Different cultures have different attitudes. In Spain we build houses with stone, brick and concrete, built to withstand whatever the weather can throw at them. In America they prefer to build cheaper, lumber and drywall, that the first wind will carry away. ...

From what I understand, the wooden frame houses are more resistant to earthquakes than stone/brick/concrete homes.  This is particularly important in earthquake-prone California.
 
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Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #80 on: October 14, 2019, 07:21:27 am »
You sound like a Marxist.  >:D


Grouchist Marxist all the way! :)
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Online tggzzz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #81 on: October 14, 2019, 07:28:18 am »
Or just teach Americans to put the damn distribution wiring into the ground, like the developed central Europe does.

Distribution only tends to be underground in built-up areas. It's unnecessarily expensive to bury cables when there are no buildings and streets nearby. Here's just a random example from the UK (I stuck a pin in the map), but from living my life in Britain I can assure you it is nothing exceptional. Notice all the trees and bushes nearby. Britain is absolutely covered in aerial distribution lines just like these:

https://goo.gl/maps/yMztXmCUTvgUNSme9

Even in built-up suburban areas there are such aerial distribution lines, e.g.

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4304236,-2.6580448,3a,23.7y,77.2h,95.07t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s9xNPGr4BGMIKWjWILhm3LA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en
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Online Zero999

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #82 on: October 14, 2019, 08:13:13 am »
If I lived there I'd have an off grid solar setup given how much sun there is.  It only makes sense.  That said it's way too hot so I would not want to live there in first place. :P
California is quite large, so it depends on how hot it is. It ranges from very hot in the death valley and south to rather cold in the mountains and around San Francisco. For most people dry heat is relatively comfortable for living.
Yes, parts of coastal northern California have cool summers, even compared to some parts of Northern Canada, but winters are much milder.
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Offline richard.cs

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #83 on: October 14, 2019, 09:28:28 am »
Or just teach Americans to put the damn distribution wiring into the ground, like the developed central Europe does.

Distribution only tends to be underground in built-up areas. It's unnecessarily expensive to bury cables when there are no buildings and streets nearby. Here's just a random example from the UK (I stuck a pin in the map), but from living my life in Britain I can assure you it is nothing exceptional. Notice all the trees and bushes nearby. Britain is absolutely covered in aerial distribution lines just like these:

https://goo.gl/maps/yMztXmCUTvgUNSme9

Even in built-up suburban areas there are such aerial distribution lines, e.g.

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4304236,-2.6580448,3a,23.7y,77.2h,95.07t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s9xNPGr4BGMIKWjWILhm3LA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

Those bare copper low-voltage lines are being gradually replaced with insulated bundles, more like this: https://goo.gl/maps/Vj1YA5sf4sttQBaG9

What we don't do in Britain is this kind of thing: https://goo.gl/maps/bGGKUDGQVCZjfe2S8 with higher voltage distribution on poles in urban areas. That's partly because we use fewer, larger, transformers serving more properties. We do have small pole-mount transformers, but generally only in rural areas https://goo.gl/maps/QzoApPjeV2DDuj8v6

In cities all our distribution is underground, in older suburban areas low voltage is sometimes on poles with the incoming HV feed generally either terminating in a transformer at the edge of town or going underground from there. We generally use wooden poles or underground cable for distribution at 33 kV and lower, and steel towers for transmission >100 kV.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #84 on: October 14, 2019, 10:08:18 am »
What we don't do in Britain is this kind of thing:

Along the frontage of my home in Washington DC were poles that carried (1) at the top high voltage (10 KV?) for distribution, (2) below that the 120/240 V distribution lines to which the homes were connected, (3) below those were cable TV and phone lines.

Many parts had trees near and above the lines and a heavy snow would collapse the tree limbs on to the wires and the wires would be damaged. Every heavy snow storm there would be power outages.

I never understood how that was allowed. I could see a high voltage wire falling on the lower voltage wires below and doing some major damage or even electrocuting someone.

One time I had an argument with a line worker who connected the house next door with a cable hanging across and over a corner of my property. I told him I did not want that and it took some arguing to get him to move it.
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Online Nusa

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #85 on: October 14, 2019, 05:26:13 pm »
It's a matter of practicality. These days NEW housing developments have everything underground from the start. But older developments tend to stay as they are, especially when homeowners are collectively unwilling to accept the additional property tax assessments (in the US, anyway) to pay for it.

Remember, when you underground electric, you also have to underground all the other infrastructure that share the same poles (TV, phone, internet), since the immediate goal of modern undergrounding drives are usually focused on getting rid of unsightly poles rather than safety concerns.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #86 on: October 14, 2019, 05:54:46 pm »
Or just teach Americans to put the damn distribution wiring into the ground, like the developed central Europe does.

Distribution only tends to be underground in built-up areas. It's unnecessarily expensive to bury cables when there are no buildings and streets nearby. Here's just a random example from the UK (I stuck a pin in the map), but from living my life in Britain I can assure you it is nothing exceptional. Notice all the trees and bushes nearby. Britain is absolutely covered in aerial distribution lines just like these:

https://goo.gl/maps/yMztXmCUTvgUNSme9

Even in built-up suburban areas there are such aerial distribution lines, e.g.

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4304236,-2.6580448,3a,23.7y,77.2h,95.07t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s9xNPGr4BGMIKWjWILhm3LA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

Those bare copper low-voltage lines are being gradually replaced with insulated bundles, more like this: https://goo.gl/maps/Vj1YA5sf4sttQBaG9

Not necessarily.

The ones outside my house were replaced maybe a decade ago, and they have a transparent plastic covering.

Quote
What we don't do in Britain is this kind of thing: https://goo.gl/maps/bGGKUDGQVCZjfe2S8 with higher voltage distribution on poles in urban areas. That's partly because we use fewer, larger, transformers serving more properties. We do have small pole-mount transformers, but generally only in rural areas https://goo.gl/maps/QzoApPjeV2DDuj8v6

I suspect pole mount transformers are for farms, and similar. That isn't exactly residential, although it will also feed a farmhouse. Example from further along that road in my example:

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4357131,-2.6464248,3a,75y,91.35h,83.92t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sXwSFLr1oCPSFUF0fnIqKaQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en

There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Online Gyro

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #87 on: October 14, 2019, 05:55:50 pm »
It's a matter of practicality. These days NEW housing developments have everything underground from the start. But older developments tend to stay as they are, especially when homeowners are collectively unwilling to accept the additional property tax assessments (in the US, anyway) to pay for it.

Remember, when you underground electric, you also have to underground all the other infrastructure that share the same poles (TV, phone, internet), since the immediate goal of modern undergrounding drives are usually focused on getting rid of unsightly poles rather than safety concerns.

Maybe that's the difference. In the UK it is the responsibility of the relevant Utility company to take the service to at least the property boundary - Gas and Electricity to the their meters either inside the house or in cabinets set into the outside wall. It is the Phone / internet company's responsibility to maintain the line to their provided master socket inside the house. Water it to a stop-tap / meter at the boundary and the householder's responsibility into the house. Even drainage is now adopted by the water company for all shared runs, even if under the householder's land (only runs that are not shared are the householder's responsibility).

Cable TV/Internet companies have long been the bane of the bunch, leaving poor pavement repairs after moving into new areas and burying their cables about 2" down when running into householder's property. They are never pole mounted.

It's only in older city streets and villages these days that you will find poles for phone services, mainly trunked underground and then fanning out from the top of the pole to the eaves of adjacent houses.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 06:02:47 pm by Gyro »
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Offline fourfathom

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #88 on: October 14, 2019, 06:04:29 pm »
Interestingly enough, the San Francisco area (San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose) are beginning to require that new residential and commercial construction not have natural gas hook-ups and instead use all-electric. 
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Berkeley becomes first U.S. city to ban natural gas in new homes
Quote
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted to mandate new construction projects over 500,000 square to rely fully on renewable electricity by 2022
No doubt the big commercial installations will still have those evil hydrocarbon-powered emergency generators, but I doubt if many of the in-town residential homes will make the investment.

There's no way that PG&E in California will be able to fully create fuel-free zones around their high-voltage transmission lines.  Where we live these lines run on tall poles through extremely rugged and forested terrain.  Undergrounding these would be damn near impossible, and if you want to see the locals protest, just try cutting down one of our "old growth" redwoods.  Even minor trimming often creates an outrage.

I understand that much of the complaining after the local power shut-downs was due to the several days delay before the power could be restored.  This delay was in large part due to the inspection procedure required by state regulators, where virtually every switch-point and distribution junction requires visual inspection by PG&E crews.  This obviously takes a while.

PG&E is going to get the blame even when they have committed nothing wrong.  This is because they are the "deep pockets" and are the source of billions of $$$ of compensation payments.  You should have heard the screams of anguish here when a local fire agency found that one of the recent fires was not caused by PG&E, but instead was started where someone had an illegal power connection to a home in the woods.  The lawyers are not done though, and no doubt PG&E (and the state ratepayers) will still end up paying.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #89 on: October 14, 2019, 06:07:34 pm »
Cable TV/Internet companies have long been the bane of the bunch, leaving poor pavement repairs after moving into new areas and burying their cables about 2" down when running into householder's property. They are never pole mounted.

It's only in older city streets and villages these days that you will find poles for phone services, mainly trunked underground and then fanning out from the top of the pole to the eaves of adjacent houses.

Buried? I should be so lucky. All I've got is a bit of green corrugated cable trunking! And there are many examples of cables and connectors hanging free in the air :(

As for phone services, your statement is correct in my limited experience. About 5 years ago OpenReach replaced the lead sheathed waxed paper twisted enamel wire cables under the road. I have a section for amusement; it would also make a good cosh :)
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Offline rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #90 on: October 14, 2019, 06:50:16 pm »
California gets lot of earthquakes so I imagine underground anything is a very bad idea.  Wonder how they do gas lines, or guess they don't have any?  Don't really need heating there and if you do a heat pump probably works fine.

For HV transmission it would be hard to do underground too.  Very expensive to maintain. Imagine the isolation you'd need for those cables too.

Of course we have gas lines - all over the place!  Even in the Central Valley, south of Sacramento, overnight temperatures below freezing are fairly common in the winter.  Not for days at a time but it is still pretty cold.  Right now, our heater is running to keep the indoor temperature at 72 deg F.  That is a bit cool for short sleeve shirts and later in the evening I will put on a long sleeve shirt.  Newer houses, say newer than 1978 when Title 14 was adopted, will be pretty well insulated.  Over the years, the requirements have increased.  New houses should be pretty well insulated.

Natural gas is a lot cheaper than electricity so heat pumps aren't that common.  Perhaps new developments will be built without gas piping but there are many millions of residences that do have it.

It's fairly common to have voltages up to about 35 kV underground.  Transmission voltages above that, like 69 kV, 115kV and upwards, are always on poles or towers.  I suspect most housing developments are served underground at 12 kV.  It could be less but, of the stuff I've seen, most of it tends to be 12 kV.  Underground, that is.  On the poles, the high voltage might be as low as 4160 (2400 to ground/neutral).

My neighborhood is spread out and all of our electric and telephone cables are on poles.  And we have really big trees that the utility is still in the process of trimming.
 

Offline richard.cs

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #91 on: October 14, 2019, 07:58:38 pm »

Those bare copper low-voltage lines are being gradually replaced with insulated bundles, more like this: https://goo.gl/maps/Vj1YA5sf4sttQBaG9

Not necessarily.

The ones outside my house were replaced maybe a decade ago, and they have a transparent plastic covering.
That's a while ago now. In my area (SSE) every time they do any work they change to ABC (aerial bundled cable) and have been doing so for at least that long. There are plenty of places it's not been touched since it was new though, and many where there's a single awkward span (near HV lines, over a major road or a railway) where it's in singles and ABC both sides.

ABC is considered safer for providing TNC-S supplies as there's a lower probability of a fallen tree or similar breaking the neutral and not the lives, plus the obvious lower contact risks.

I'm aware of the insulated singles used on low spans and similar, but have never seen any clear ones. There are also velcro socks that get fitted over the bare ones where they are close enough to things that they'd benefit from insulation. You often see them added around scaffolding and similar.
 
What we don't do in Britain is this kind of thing: https://goo.gl/maps/bGGKUDGQVCZjfe2S8 with higher voltage distribution on poles in urban areas. That's partly because we use fewer, larger, transformers serving more properties. We do have small pole-mount transformers, but generally only in rural areas https://goo.gl/maps/QzoApPjeV2DDuj8v6


I suspect pole mount transformers are for farms, and similar. That isn't exactly residential, although it will also feed a farmhouse. Example from further along that road in my example:

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4357131,-2.6464248,3a,75y,91.35h,83.92t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sXwSFLr1oCPSFUF0fnIqKaQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en

My link actually was a farm, on the edge of a village where all the HV is underground. Yours is also pretty typical of rural UK, there are many villages like this. If you look just up the road by The Angel there's a branch in ABC going off towards the church. If you go further along the road to here https://goo.gl/maps/JbHPnYrED2PrvAqt7 there's another section of ABC on clearly new poles.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #92 on: October 14, 2019, 08:22:17 pm »
ABC is considered safer for providing TNC-S supplies as there's a lower probability of a fallen tree or similar breaking the neutral and not the lives, plus the obvious lower contact risks.

In my examples the neutral is the lowest of the four conductors, presumably for that reason.

Quote
My link actually was a farm, on the edge of a village where all the HV is underground. Yours is also pretty typical of rural UK, there are many villages like this. If you look just up the road by The Angel there's a branch in ABC going off towards the church. If you go further along the road to here https://goo.gl/maps/JbHPnYrED2PrvAqt7 there's another section of ABC on clearly new poles.

"Rural" can be misleading in this case.

The Angel is <3 miles from the centre of the 11th largest UK city with a population of >450k :) There's also a deer farm between the Angel and the city - and wild deer in the city.
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Offline IanB

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #93 on: October 14, 2019, 08:30:41 pm »
Interestingly enough, the San Francisco area (San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose) are beginning to require that new residential and commercial construction not have natural gas hook-ups and instead use all-electric.

In the UK electricity costs about 5x as much per kWh as gas does. So I wouldn't see electric-only going down very well. Usually in places without piped gas people resort to propane or fuel oil for heating. Electricity is a last resort.

I don't recall what the gas/electricity price difference is in my part of California, but I do know I have a gas clothes drier instead of an electric one to save on running costs.
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Offline maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #94 on: October 14, 2019, 08:35:42 pm »
Yea here in Southern California we have a gas water heater, clothes drier, oven, and HVAC heater since it's so much cheaper than electric.
 

Online Nusa

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #95 on: October 14, 2019, 08:44:47 pm »
In the US, pole transformers are pretty common in residential areas that have poles, including urban areas. Of course, remember that we're talking ~120 V legs in the US, not ~240 V like most of the EU, which surely changes the energy math. I couldn't tell you what voltage the local distribution lines to the transformers are running at, however. Not my field.

Yea here in Southern California we have a gas water heater, clothes drier, oven, and HVAC heater since it's so much cheaper than electric.

Pretty much ditto (close to ocean, so no AC at all and gas wall heater I rarely use), except I stick with gas primarily because I only have 30 amp service in this 1950's house.
 

Offline maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #96 on: October 14, 2019, 08:49:12 pm »
When I lived in Torrance it was similar. No AC and a gas wall heater. The house had more power going to the detached garage than the house. In the valley... I can't imagine NOT having AC. I have a small permanently installed unit in my bedroom to keep it cold and primary AC stays off mostly.
 

Offline KaneTW

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #97 on: October 14, 2019, 11:43:39 pm »
Yeah, electricity is like 0.25ct/kWh here. I've seen exactly one place with an electric heating system and it was stupid expensive.
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #98 on: October 15, 2019, 01:54:42 am »
When I lived in California, the apartments pretty much all had electric heat. Never used it, however, because mining earnhoney would net very cheap heat even on a dated Sandy Bridge-E.
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Offline maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #99 on: October 15, 2019, 02:38:30 am »
When I lived in California, the apartments pretty much all had electric heat. Never used it, however, because mining earnhoney would net very cheap heat even on a dated Sandy Bridge-E.

Apartments are more worried about safety of their property I think. I've never had a gas stove at an apartment, heaters typically gas but you can't access any of the HVAC stuff, same with water heaters. I think most of the apartments I've lived in the only gas that was accessible was a dryer hookup.
 


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