Author Topic: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!  (Read 7421 times)

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Offline MT

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What a fiasco! But heey Calif are run by socialist gov so what to expect!

 
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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2019, 07:26:22 pm »
Videos without a summary of a few lines does not make for a good thread start.
 
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Offline MT

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2019, 07:27:15 pm »
Why is there need for a summary? Its ongoing event since Wednesday! Instead of complain make a summary your self if you need one!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 07:29:26 pm by MT »
 
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Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2019, 07:46:49 pm »
What a fiasco! But heey Calif are run by socialist gov so what to expect!


I always expect a stupid comment and I am seldomly disappointed.

Maybe yoiu can tell us more about the California Socialist Government?

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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2019, 07:51:02 pm »
Why is there need for a summary? Its ongoing event since Wednesday! Instead of complain make a summary your self if you need one!
Because people don't want to watch a 17 minute video to see whether they're interested in it in the first place. You already watched it so it's trivial to summarise the gist of it. Not only that but you're obviously also interested in starting a discussion about it and the best way of getting people on board is providing a good incentive. I can't exactly summarise the video because I haven't watched it because I'm not about to waste 17 minutes on some video that may be good or may be total trash. Good thread starts lead to good discussions.
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2019, 07:53:45 pm »
It's either shut down the power or risk burning the state to the ground during these high wind events.  We tried burning it down last year and made pretty good progress.

California has a problem with cutting down trees - even when they know that the forests need to be thinned and control-burned.  Tree huggers just don't care how big the fires are just as long as their is enough money for the claims against PG&E.

PG&E isn't blameless in this but at least they are smart enough to not cause another raging inferno.  PG&E could have tried harder to clear the trees.  They are doing it now!  We have had tree services in our neighborhood for the past two weeks.  Every trimming company in the state has full time work right now.

The idea that we are "out of electricity" is nonsense!  As to getting gasoline, the residents just have to drive a bit farther if they wait until the outage is in effect before deciding they need fuel.

Hint:  I have no problem with the shutdowns.  They are targeted and of short duration (relatively).  If it saves a town and a lot of residents, it seems like a good idea to me.

Caveat:  At the moment, I am not affected by the outages.  I suppose that could change.  We had a few short duration outages last year.  It was always the sagging lines crossing the street out in front of our house.  You could see where the wires went through the neighbor's trees.  Of course they were going to short out when the trees got wet and blown by the wind!

« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 07:56:10 pm by rstofer »
 

Online maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2019, 08:01:05 pm »
Are they just talking about the outages around the active fires? Honestly if you're affected you're probably supposed to be evacuated. 100000 people about 5 miles from me were evacuated but that fire is nearly under control so most of them are allowed to return and SCE here is quick to reconfigure the grid as needed.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2019, 08:03:48 pm »
I get there's a lot of powerline ... but given the economic damage I can not imagine it's not cheaper to simply have a clear cutting program around the lines.
 

Offline floobydust

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Online IanB

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2019, 08:42:54 pm »
Caveat:  At the moment, I am not affected by the outages.  I suppose that could change.  We had a few short duration outages last year.  It was always the sagging lines crossing the street out in front of our house.  You could see where the wires went through the neighbor's trees.  Of course they were going to short out when the trees got wet and blown by the wind!

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.
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Online Cyberdragon

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2019, 09:04:56 pm »
Caveat:  At the moment, I am not affected by the outages.  I suppose that could change.  We had a few short duration outages last year.  It was always the sagging lines crossing the street out in front of our house.  You could see where the wires went through the neighbor's trees.  Of course they were going to short out when the trees got wet and blown by the wind!

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.

Here on the east cost they come and chop the shit out of your trees and charge you for it since you didn't (couldn't afford to) trim them yourself/hire someone. >:(
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Offline floobydust

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2019, 09:20:19 pm »
Running a critical infrastructure into the ground for profit.
There are no laws or penalties for corrupt corporate ethics in the utility industry.
google, facebook, apple - power would not get cut to their offices.

Con Edison New York is similar with many blackouts, transformer and underground cable fires, outraged politicians etc. Con Ed wants an 8.6% rate hike and it's pretty easy to use outages for blackmail to squeeze more cash out of customers.
 
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Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2019, 10:08:53 pm »
risk burning the state to the ground during these high wind events.  We tried burning it down last year and made pretty good progress.

You didn't even make a dent yet ... effective fire prevention is three quarters of a century old, that's a lot of extra fuel for forest fires. It's going to burn eventually and the higher it piles up and the lower the canopy gets the faster and more widespread it burns.

I suspect putting fire breaks around all infrastructure and stopping fire prevention almost entirely is the only real solution. There's too much surplus fuel to handle mechanically, it has to burn sometime.

PS. as for the rich people who want to live among the trees, let them pay for the privilege one way or another (I'd suggest putting a very wide firebreak deeper in the forest, football field wide, or just accepting your house will burn down eventually).
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 10:22:49 pm by Marco »
 

Online Yansi

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2019, 10:30:58 pm »
PS. as for the rich people who want to live among the trees, let them pay for the privilege one way or another (I'd suggest putting a very wide firebreak deeper in the forest, football field wide, or just accepting your house will burn down eventually).

Or just teach Americans to put the damn distribution wiring into the ground, like the developed central Europe does.
 
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Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2019, 10:53:52 pm »
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 Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2019, 10:55:01 pm »
Or just teach Americans to put the damn distribution wiring into the ground, like the developed central Europe does.

That won't diminish the fact they live in areas which have historically seen forest fires on decade time scales.

The forests people live next to have to become artificial forest, mechanically maintained. Isolated from the real forests, maintained by fires. Mechanical maintenance of all the forest is infeasible and stamping out every little fire before it could run its course has lead California to the current situation.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2019, 11:06:28 pm »
Forrests need to burn from time to time to prevent fatal buildup of combustible material. That's why controlled burns are being done regularly.
 
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Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2019, 11:23:06 pm »
How long before residents get fed up with expensive, unreliable power and just go off grid?
That won't diminish the fact they live in areas which have historically seen forest fires on decade time scales.

The forests people live next to have to become artificial forest, mechanically maintained. Isolated from the real forests, maintained by fires. Mechanical maintenance of all the forest is infeasible and stamping out every little fire before it could run its course has lead California to the current situation.
The solution is responsible harvesting of trees in order to not allow the forest to become too dense. If we're going to cut down trees for wood and paper, why not do it where there are too many trees?
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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2019, 11:25:58 pm »
How long before residents get fed up with expensive, unreliable power and just go off grid?

The solution is responsible harvesting of trees in order to not allow the forest to become too dense. If we're going to cut down trees for wood and paper, why not do it where there are too many trees?
It's not just the trees themselves. It's the material they shed and that's effectively impossible to remove mechanically except on a tiny scale.
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2019, 12:14:04 am »
The most amusing aspects of this:
* All the people with Teslas, no way to charge them, and 20 miles to the nearest food store.
* Everyone who installed commercial grid tied solar, thinking it would give them independent power. Now discovering that with approved design systems, no grid power = no power at all since the solar system refuses to run independently.

Not so amusing: The guy who required oxygen assist, was asleep when the power went out, and died 15 minutes later.
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Offline wilfred

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2019, 12:25:22 am »

PS. as for the rich people who want to live among the trees, let them pay for the privilege one way or another (I'd suggest putting a very wide firebreak deeper in the forest, football field wide, or just accepting your house will burn down eventually).

It isn't always rich people affected by these fires caused by powerlines. In rural areas it could be those most disadvantaged affected. Here in Victoria Australia where I am this debate flares up (sorry bad pun) from time to time as in this news report from 2013.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-28/powerline-failures-linked-to-bushfires/5050204

Different states have different policies regarding turning off power to prevent fires.

Will this give increased ratings to those doomsday prepper programs I see in the TV guide?

And in this thread there is an element of blaming the people who live in fire vulnerable areas. That reeks of blaming the victims. Which is not cool. 
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2019, 12:53:56 am »
Where is this Diablo wind, I don't see it. https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/500hPa/orthographic=-104.00,41.82,428

Go back a few days!  The outages are over for Northern California but the Santa Ana winds may pick up in Southern California.
https://www.sfgate.com/weather/article/PGE-power-shutdown-wind-was-it-a-strong-event-14506572.php
They weren't thinking this windstorm would be as bad as 2017 but 70 MPH is nothing to laugh at.

PG&E is at the mercy of the weather predictors.  If they overstate the windspeed, and they would rather do that than understate it, PG&E has to react.

The utility worries about the wind blowing the lines together or toppling the towers.  More likely is the winds blowing trees over or even just large branches across the wires.  I think they were predicting winds over 65 MPH.

And no, we can't underground the 500 kV lines.  At best, the technology is new and, at worst, it is 25 times as expensive.  True, once undergrounded things are a lot better but keeping high voltage in one place is no ease task.

https://www.apnews.com/5fe83d4daed64b5daa67ef5e5d81a936

The medium voltage lines could be undergrounded but these usually go to a clients neighborhood of, perhaps, 5 people.  Do you really think those customers want to pay the cost of undergrounding?  They paid the cost of getting power to their property, it wasn't free, but they certainly won't want to pay to replace what they already have.

Remember, PG&E isn't selling electricity when the customers are dark and they're in the business of selling.  They don't like the situation any more than the customers but they simply can't afford to wipe out a few more towns.

The environmentalists make it difficult to cut trees and clear undergrowth.  Controlled burns have a way of becoming uncontrolled.  And then there is arson.  Not every wildfire is PG&E's fault.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2019, 01:03:16 am »
And in this thread there is an element of blaming the people who live in fire vulnerable areas. That reeks of blaming the victims. Which is not cool.

Power is one thing, towns going up in flames is another. Paradise which went up in flames last year was literally build right up to the forest ...

You can't even do controlled burns near anything like that, which is why prescribed fire is not a solution. It can be done cheaper than mechanical clearing, but it's still not done on the scale of wild fires or everywhere it's necessary because of politics and the chance of it going out of control.

The only really option is isolating yourself, after which letting prescribed fire or wildfire do the job becomes mostly irrelevant.
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2019, 01:57:21 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
 

Online IanB

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2019, 02:03:31 am »
And no, we can't underground the 500 kV lines.  At best, the technology is new and, at worst, it is 25 times as expensive.  True, once undergrounded things are a lot better but keeping high voltage in one place is no ease task.

The 500 kV lines aren't at any risk from adverse weather conditions. They are suspended from strong metal towers high above the ground and far away from any trees. High winds just make them swing a bit.

Where the trouble comes is the low and medium voltage distribution lines suspended lower down from wooden poles at tree height. These are the ones affected by ice and winds and snow. Every country has these in rural areas, but usually the utility company cuts back encroaching trees every year to protect them.

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Online IanB

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2019, 02:06:29 am »
PG&E had a net loss of some billion in 2018 so there's no way they could pay for all the needed improvements.

Then they should lose their franchise and let it be handed to over to another company. Their loss was a result of corporate malfeasance.
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Offline KaneTW

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2019, 02:11:12 am »
I really should stop replying to MT posts (how do I ignore users on this forum?) but:

This isn't caused by "socialism," it's caused by an absolute lack of accountability and regulations, and greedy PG&E companies. Exactly the thing "socialism" would help with, actually.
 
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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2019, 02:11:25 am »
Power is one thing, towns going up in flames is another. Paradise which went up in flames last year was literally build right up to the forest ...

You can't even do controlled burns near anything like that, which is why prescribed fire is not a solution. It can be done cheaper than mechanical clearing, but it's still not done on the scale of wild fires or everywhere it's necessary because of politics and the chance of it going out of control.

The only really option is isolating yourself, after which letting prescribed fire or wildfire do the job becomes mostly irrelevant.
Isolation isn't feasible when fires become large enough. A big fire essentially creates its own weather system and rains fire across vast distances. You can't cut a 50 square mile desert to live in for everyone.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #28 on: October 13, 2019, 02:17:22 am »
Isolation isn't feasible when fires become large enough. A big fire essentially creates its own weather system and rains fire across vast distances. You can't cut a 50 square mile desert to live in for everyone.

A couple embers flying across a large fire break can be handled by a garden hose, fighting the beginnings of a fire across a firebreak is a problem of an entirely different order than trying to put out a forest fire ... and a surmountable problem.
 

Online maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #29 on: October 13, 2019, 02:58:52 am »
Except nobody is there to use a garden hose because they already evacuated. Every single year we have fires in southern california, there is nothing you can do to keep it from spreading until you have a clear idea of what it's doing and you have the resources in place to respond. They start and spread fast. Here SCE cuts trees near power lines couple times a year.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #30 on: October 13, 2019, 03:09:49 am »
Isolation isn't feasible when fires become large enough. A big fire essentially creates its own weather system and rains fire across vast distances. You can't cut a 50 square mile desert to live in for everyone.

A couple embers flying across a large fire break can be handled by a garden hose, fighting the beginnings of a fire across a firebreak is a problem of an entirely different order than trying to put out a forest fire ... and a surmountable problem.

Many of these fires occur because someone was sure that they could control a couple of embers with a garden hose.  Under high wind, high fuel, high temp and low humidity conditions it is truly stunning how rapidly a fire can grow from match size to hectare size.  And the flying embers from these large fires are not small.  Burning branches nearly a meter long have been observed landing three and more kilometers from the nearest flame front.   Often they don't arrive alone, but are in a shower of branches.

The best, and partial solution for this is deliberate burns during less stressful times of year.  But less stressful is relative and these "controlled burns" do get out of hand fairly often.  No one likes the smoke they generate, and the rabid environmentalists can't see beyond the current trees dying and the politicos and bureaucrats hate the high costs involved in doing them, so it isn't likely to happen.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #31 on: October 13, 2019, 03:42:42 am »
An urban environment is not a high fuel environment. The fires in Paradise and similar situations couldn't be fought because the actual high fuel fire from the forest simultaneously lights the entire side of the town, while spewing heat which make staying anywhere near impossible. You are not fighting embers with a garden hose next to an actual forest fire right next to your home ... you will be dead.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 03:55:03 am by Marco »
 

Offline don.r

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2019, 04:01:50 am »
If only you had raked your forests like those crafty Finns.
 

Online Someone

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2019, 04:10:09 am »
And no, we can't underground the 500 kV lines.  At best, the technology is new and, at worst, it is 25 times as expensive.  True, once undergrounded things are a lot better but keeping high voltage in one place is no ease task.

The 500 kV lines aren't at any risk from adverse weather conditions. They are suspended from strong metal towers high above the ground and far away from any trees. High winds just make them swing a bit.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-28/damaged-power-transmission-tower-near-melrose-south-australia/8393000
Adverse weather seems to be alive and well.
 

Online IanB

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2019, 04:46:34 am »
Adverse weather seems to be alive and well.

Yeah, well, tornadoes are something special. They are not just regular high winds.
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Offline MyHeadHz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2019, 04:47:28 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

You're right- logically.  It isn't nearly that easy here, though, for reasons outside of logic.  There are several unfortunate obstacles, but two main ones.   

1.  Part of the agreement with the state and utility monopolies includes the inability for a customer to get out of the utility agreement, even if it was from a previous owner.  Even if you are connected to the grid but produce 100% of your own solar, you would still have to pay various fees and taxes on it, even if the grid actually did nothing for you.  The short version is that once a property is connected to the grid, it cannot be disconnected.  The only exception is destruction of the property (through fire, demolition, etc).  After that destruction, there is no carryover requirement, so you could go off-grid.  For some situations, it would make sense to go that route.... well, if it weren't for...

2.  Property taxes (there is a point to this, bear with me).  In California, residential property taxes are simply calculated as a base rate times your purchase price valuation, and that valuation goes up by exactly 1% annually, regardless of market or other factors.  This is all automatic.  Because of this tax situation, the majority of property owners in CA pay very low (real) property tax rates, since property values grow by far more than that 1% tax valuation every year.   Also, demolition is considered as all walls demolished.  So, if you have a tiny house, you can turn it into a mansion and keep the same property tax valuation... so long as you maintain that one original wall in tact.  Now, that "demolition" from above is what matters.  Sure, you can go "off-grid," BUT you will have to destroy all walls, which means a new property valuation, and you will need to build/buy a new house.  Then and only then can you go off-grid.  Obviously, there are very few situations where that would make sense financially.  (And before you say "just go with a camper!", CA has thrown a wrench in that method as well.  There is now "personal property tax", paid every year, for RV's and such, to keep people from getting out of property taxes.)

Then just go solar on-grid, right?! There are also issues with that here now.  The subsidies that we were told would eventually be perpetual (because of the environment) are probably going to be stopped sooner than later (because of electric companies, politics, and greed).  Another big one is the mandatory change to "smart meters."  That's just a big F-U to solar owners.  With this new setup the times you will be producing power give you far less money, but as a double-whammy, you get charged more when you are using instead of producing.  For solar it all boils down to meaning that you will have to produce 4x or more power than you consume just to break even.

The above is a short synopsis.  There also loads of zoning and other reasons why it never caught on in CA.  I've ran the numbers every way that I could to try to make solar work for environmental/ethical reasons, but the financial disincentives are overwhelming in CA.  This is despite the abundance of this natural and clean energy source, and our state's claims of environmental friendliness.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 05:09:23 am by MyHeadHz »
 

Online Nusa

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2019, 05:51:47 am »
Not so amusing: The guy who required oxygen assist, was asleep when the power went out, and died 15 minutes later.

Doesn't pass the sniff test. In the western world, life-dependent medical equipment always has sufficient backup power for short power outages, which 15 minutes falls within. And care-givers always have action plans in place for longer-term outages, such as a back-up generator or a large oxygen cylinder (no power required). Also smaller cylinders for mobility purposes.

Not saying a guy didn't die, but either someone was seriously negligent with the medical equipment or the time of death was a coincidence, not cause and effect.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2019, 06:43:20 am »
PG&E had a net loss of some billion in 2018 so there's no way they could pay for all the needed improvements.

Then they should lose their franchise and let it be handed to over to another company. Their loss was a result of corporate malfeasance.

Oh, that settles it then. Because I am sure your assertion is based on provable facts and the solution is simple and clear. They lost money because they are crooks so the solution is to just give the whole thing to another company who are not crooks. Easy peasy. The kind of thing people love to hear and politicians love to promise.

This bears repeating:
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"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"
"There is always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible, and wrong."

- H. L. Mencken
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 06:47:09 am by soldar »
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2019, 06:55:37 am »
Not so amusing: The guy who required oxygen assist, was asleep when the power went out, and died 15 minutes later.

Doesn't pass the sniff test. In the western world, life-dependent medical equipment always has sufficient backup power for short power outages, which 15 minutes falls within. And care-givers always have action plans in place for longer-term outages, such as a back-up generator or a large oxygen cylinder (no power required). Also smaller cylinders for mobility purposes.

Not saying a guy didn't die, but either someone was seriously negligent with the medical equipment or the time of death was a coincidence, not cause and effect.

Not just that, but in Australia, those with critical medical devices need to register this with the energy provider/distributor so when there are scheduled outages, advanced notice can be given and/or alternative supply can be arranged. I would suggest this is the same in most other western countries?
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2019, 10:09:15 am »
There's nothing "socialist" about this problem (and really, California isn't socialist, they're neoliberal.)

PG&E is owned by private entities, they've determined that fires could result from the HV cabling, and they don't want to be liable for that nonsense.

You want to blame someone, blame everyone that drives a petrol car spewing emissions into the atmosphere, warming it and increasing the frequency of dry seasons which can trigger wildfires.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2019, 12:32:12 pm »
PG&E is owned by private entities, they've determined that fires could result from the HV cabling, and they don't want to be liable for that nonsense.

One year the electrical transmission wires cause wildfires and the public is up in arms claiming the evil corporation put their homes and limbs and lives at risk and something should be done by someone!

The next year the utility company decides to play it safe and shut off power if there is any risk of the same thing happening again. And the public is up in arms complaining they can't watch TV.

You can't win for losing.

My conclusion is that the public are spoiled brats who believe they are owed everything in exchange for nothing. They don't want to pay more for their energy, but they want improvements to the infrastructure needed to deliver it reliably and safely.  And if they can't get the impossible it can only be because corporations are evil.
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Offline KaneTW

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2019, 12:49:12 pm »
Am I misremembering things or did the CO2 emission composition in studies change

A while back I was sure that passenger vehicles were a tiny contributor to greenhouse emissions, but current statistics show around 60% of all transport related emissions (so about 10% of all emissions) to be from light duty passenger transport.

Is my brain playing tricks or was it always this way?
 
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Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2019, 12:49:55 pm »
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
If you think California is hot, you have never been to Texas during the summer.
You want to blame someone, blame everyone that drives a petrol car spewing emissions into the atmosphere, warming it and increasing the frequency of dry seasons which can trigger wildfires.
They should have required all new cars to get at least 30 MPG highway like a decade ago, if not earlier.
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Offline Kleinstein

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2019, 01:36:06 pm »
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.

The normal grid tied solar installations do not work of grid for safety reasons. However with relatively frequent power outage in the US, I wonder if they could have systems that do allow operation as a backup. This would need some extra effort and costs, but it could be possible. There are people with backup generators, that can switch over from the grid.

I wild fire can be hard to stop. When I was is the US there was wild-fire reaching the town. The fire department had a hard time stopping the fire at a 6 lane wide road. They somehow made it - though not with a garden hose, more like a fire truck every 20-50 meters and air support as a backup.  The typical US wooden houses provide quite some fuel to a fire, so it can spread even without the trees.

One can put the grid under ground, but it is more expensive. Very high power may prefer different technologies (e.g. DC). However lines frequently damaged by wind or ice are also not for free.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2019, 01:53:34 pm »
Videos without a summary of a few lines does not make for a good thread start.

Doubly so when the OP's comment is overtly political :(

What a fiasco! But heey Calif are run by socialist gov so what to expect!
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Offline MyHeadHz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #45 on: October 13, 2019, 02:13:47 pm »
Am I misremembering things or did the CO2 emission composition in studies change

A while back I was sure that passenger vehicles were a tiny contributor to greenhouse emissions, but current statistics show around 60% of all transport related emissions (so about 10% of all emissions) to be from light duty passenger transport.

Is my brain playing tricks or was it always this way?

There are two factors at play, the science/math, and the marketing.   Both things that you quoted sound similar to numbers I've heard, but they are not contradictory.  The key is limiting the subject to transportation-related emissions, or to human-related co2 emissions, or similar areas of focus.  Either way you cut it, humans are responsible for a small portion of green house emissions and other parameters.  However, everything we do is in excess of the green house gases in our original balanced system.  Instead of taking many thousands of years to have a cycle, that small tip to the balance can make the cycle only in the hundreds of years, and cause other unforeseen consequences like mass extinction due to the increased rate of change and magnitude.  Evolution vs Chaos Theory
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #46 on: October 13, 2019, 02:26:49 pm »
You want to blame someone, blame everyone that drives a petrol car spewing emissions into the atmosphere, warming it and increasing the frequency of dry seasons which can trigger wildfires.
They should have required all new cars to get at least 30 MPG highway like a decade ago, if not earlier.
That would be a good solution but even then cars are not a significant source of CO2 to start with. In the NL it is about 13% for the entire transport sector.

But more on-topic: controlling wild fires is a pure maintenance problem. Over here we have quite a bit of forrest too but these are divided in sections with slow burning trees at the borders of each section. If power lines cause sparks then these should be fixed but this will come at higher prices for electricity. Unfortunately the US typically seems to be more inclined to clean up the mess afterwards rather than prevent a problem.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 02:31:22 pm by nctnico »
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Offline don.r

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #47 on: October 13, 2019, 03:43:48 pm »
Am I misremembering things or did the CO2 emission composition in studies change

A while back I was sure that passenger vehicles were a tiny contributor to greenhouse emissions, but current statistics show around 60% of all transport related emissions (so about 10% of all emissions) to be from light duty passenger transport.

Is my brain playing tricks or was it always this way?
I was always under the impressions that the top 10 or 20 biggest ships accounted for more emissions than all vehicles worldwide because they burned high sulfur oil out at sea.
 

Online maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #48 on: October 13, 2019, 04:23:37 pm »
You want to blame someone, blame everyone that drives a petrol car spewing emissions into the atmosphere, warming it and increasing the frequency of dry seasons which can trigger wildfires.
They should have required all new cars to get at least 30 MPG highway like a decade ago, if not earlier.
That would be a good solution but even then cars are not a significant source of CO2 to start with. In the NL it is about 13% for the entire transport sector.

But more on-topic: controlling wild fires is a pure maintenance problem. Over here we have quite a bit of forrest too but these are divided in sections with slow burning trees at the borders of each section. If power lines cause sparks then these should be fixed but this will come at higher prices for electricity. Unfortunately the US typically seems to be more inclined to clean up the mess afterwards rather than prevent a problem.

You can't have a forest in the desert, and the US is BIG. There is no way you could control all of it.

Just California is as big as: Cameroon, France, Iraq, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Yemen
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #49 on: October 13, 2019, 04:37:12 pm »
But most of these countries don't have the financial resources that California has and yet they don't have huge raging wild fires (or need to shut down electricity because the wires cause sparks).
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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #50 on: October 13, 2019, 04:39:33 pm »
You can't have a forest in the desert, and the US is BIG. There is no way you could control all of it.

Just California is as big as: Cameroon, France, Iraq, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Yemen
It's also wealthier than most of those. Size is a non issue.
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #51 on: October 13, 2019, 04:48:48 pm »
Am I misremembering things or did the CO2 emission composition in studies change

A while back I was sure that passenger vehicles were a tiny contributor to greenhouse emissions, but current statistics show around 60% of all transport related emissions (so about 10% of all emissions) to be from light duty passenger transport.

Is my brain playing tricks or was it always this way?

It's always been this way? Passenger cars & trucks contribute about 20% of emissions in the EU for instance (transport contributes 30% of which private cars are ~55% of this, light+heavy trucks ~30%, public transit ~5% and aircraft the balance.)

Hence the push towards electrification of vehicles - only way to stop them killing the planet we all live on.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #52 on: October 13, 2019, 04:59:42 pm »
According to this: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.CO2.TRAN.ZS

The % of global CO2 emissions from transport is about 20%, only a fraction of this being from private transportation (the fraction depends on the region of the world obviously, and I don't have the world average, if someone does... but I remember figures like maybe 10% to 20% of the overall transport, which would mean that private transportation would account for only 4% of the total at worst...)

Interestingly, note that this % hasn't increased significantly since the 60's. Only a little bit. The overall tendency seems to be on the rise, but it's still not that spectacular.

Take a look at the other contributors. The only one that has increased A LOT in proportion is the CO2 emissions "from electricity and heat production". Which, if we speak of CO2 only, would (at least until there is a major change in electricity production worldwide), would make the switch to electric vehicles on a global scale a non-sense.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 05:02:21 pm by SiliconWizard »
 
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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #53 on: October 13, 2019, 05:01:39 pm »
Am I misremembering things or did the CO2 emission composition in studies change

A while back I was sure that passenger vehicles were a tiny contributor to greenhouse emissions, but current statistics show around 60% of all transport related emissions (so about 10% of all emissions) to be from light duty passenger transport.

Is my brain playing tricks or was it always this way?
I have the same feeling. Various sources seem to list quite different numbers.

 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #54 on: October 13, 2019, 05:11:33 pm »
But most of these countries don't have the financial resources that California has and yet they don't have huge raging wild fires (or need to shut down electricity because the wires cause sparks).

You are misinformed. All southern European countries have tremendous wildfires every year and they are getting worse, it seems. The news keep talking about how it is all due to global warming.  Just search for "Portugal wildfires" and you will find plenty. Same thing with Spain, Italy or Greece.

Now, I do not know if any are caused by electric distribution lines but it is difficult to compare these things as there are many variables. European countries are generally more densely populated than America which means lower km of line per customer so the lines can be maintained better. Spain has very high cost of electric power which means they should be able to maintain the infrastructure better (if there is anything left over after all the graft and corruption).

Anyone who proposes burying all lines is talking out of their ass. In no country in the world are all lines buried (maybe excepting the Vatican and the private republic I have in my bathroom). The cost would be prohibitive and it would make no sense. Only in urban and suburban areas does it make sense to bury lines.

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. Then they just claim the insurance and rebuild. They prefer to have a bigger but less sturdy house. Or a cheaper house so they can have money for other things.  Same thing with electric distribution wires. Yes, you see wires on poles that you would not see in Spain but that is a choice. Probably many Spanish people would prefer to pay less for electricity in exchange for seeing wires in front of their homes. You can't please everybody.
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Online nctnico

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #55 on: October 13, 2019, 05:17:22 pm »
Am I misremembering things or did the CO2 emission composition in studies change

A while back I was sure that passenger vehicles were a tiny contributor to greenhouse emissions, but current statistics show around 60% of all transport related emissions (so about 10% of all emissions) to be from light duty passenger transport.

Is my brain playing tricks or was it always this way?

It's always been this way? Passenger cars & trucks contribute about 20% of emissions in the EU for instance (transport contributes 30% of which private cars are ~55% of this, light+heavy trucks ~30%, public transit ~5% and aircraft the balance.)

Hence the push towards electrification of vehicles - only way to stop them killing the planet we all live on.
I'd like to see a source for those numbers because I can't find anything to back up your claim of 30% of emissions for transport. The numbers I can find point towards 25% for the entire transport sector including aviation https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/pdfscache/1180.pdf . I don't want to derail this into another EV thread but electrification of automotive transport is a dead end. In the end it needs more resources (primarily to manufacture batteries but also for the infrastructure) which cause more CO2 output. Industry and energy production together already account for 62% of the greenhouse gas emissions so creating a car which needs more industry and energy to built is not a good idea. A recent study from Germany based on VW Golf class cars showed that on the German electricity mix an EV breaks even after 135k km compared to gas, hardly break even compared to diesel and doesn't win from a car on CNG: https://www.adac.de/verkehr/tanken-kraftstoff-antrieb/alternative-antriebe/co2-treibhausgasbilanz-studie/ . In order to reduce emissions we need cars which need less CO2 to built, produce less CO2 while driving, don't need massively costly infrastructure updates for infrastructure which is already outdated / overloaded and last but not least remain affordable for the masses. Current technology has only one answer for that: hybrids and a continuing increase of the use of bio-fuels. A simple tax on inefficient cars already goes a long way to get a significant CO2 reduction. Just make people think twice about buying a gas guzzler.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 05:28:30 pm by nctnico »
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Online nctnico

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #56 on: October 13, 2019, 05:25:12 pm »
But most of these countries don't have the financial resources that California has and yet they don't have huge raging wild fires (or need to shut down electricity because the wires cause sparks).

You are misinformed. All southern European countries have tremendous wildfires every year and they are getting worse, it seems. The news keep talking about how it is all due to global warming.  Just search for "Portugal wildfires" and you will find plenty. Same thing with Spain, Italy or Greece.
I know but AFAIK it is not like these wild fires get completely out of control.
Quote
Anyone who proposes burying all lines is talking out of their ass. In no country in the world are all lines buried (maybe excepting the Vatican and the private republic I have in my bathroom). The cost would be prohibitive and it would make no sense. Only in urban and suburban areas does it make sense to bury lines.
I think it will be difficult to find a place in the NL where they have electricity on poles. But even if it exists then the wires are likely insulated (at least that is what I see in Germany and France) so there isn't a problem when wires touch due to the wind. Actually it seems the wires are twisted together in most cases.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 05:30:13 pm by nctnico »
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Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #57 on: October 13, 2019, 05:38:23 pm »
I know but AFAIK it is not like these wild fires get completely out of control.
They don't? What would you call "out of control"? Here's a couple examples.
Quote
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_2017_Portugal_wildfires

A series of four initial deadly wildfires erupted across central Portugal in the afternoon of 17 June 2017 within minutes of each other, resulting in at least 66 deaths and 204 injured people.

The majority of deaths took place in the Pedrógão Grande municipality, when a fire swept across a road filled with evacuees escaping in their cars. Portuguese officials dispatched more than 1,700 firefighters nationwide to combat the blazes and Prime Minister António Costa declared three days of national mourning. Spain, France, Morocco and Italy deployed firefighters and Water Bombers Canadairs to help extinguish the fires. Although most early official reports pointed to a dry thunderstorm as the cause of the tragedy, the President of the Portuguese Firefighters League expressed his conviction the fire was sparked by arsonists.


Quote
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_2017_Iberian_wildfires

October 2017 Iberian wildfires was a series of more than 7,900 forest fires affecting Northern Portugal and Northwestern Spain between 13 and 18 October. The wildfires claimed the lives of at least 49 individuals, including 45 in Portugal and four in Spain, and dozens more were injured.

Would you call that "out of control"? Huge areas burnt, farms and homesteads burnt to the ground, huge loss of life and property. 2017 was a particularly bad year but these things happen every single year. I guess you don't follow the news much.

Quote
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Canary_Islands_wildfires

During August 2019, a number of forest fires broke out in the Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote. The fires on the island of Gran Canaria were the most severe, resulting in the loss of large areas of the island's forests and leading to the evacuation of thousands of residents from a number of towns and villages. The intense heat brought by a heat wave and the presence of strong winds, combined with the island's mountainous terrain, made extinguishing activities exceptionally difficult.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 05:41:18 pm by soldar »
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Online nctnico

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #58 on: October 13, 2019, 05:41:45 pm »
Those didn't make the news here. The ones in California seem to be larger and have a much bigger impact.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #59 on: October 13, 2019, 06:04:26 pm »
Those didn't make the news here. The ones in California seem to be larger and have a much bigger impact.


Larger? Bigger impact? Over 100 people died here. How many have died in California? How do you know they are "bigger"?  Bigger in what way?

The "impact" is in how the news is controlled. A car accident in America where one died is deemed more newsworthy than an event in the third world where hundreds died. Electric blackout in California! Big news! Thousands inconvenienced! People can't use the microwave to prepare a TV dinner! In the meanwhile hundreds or thousands of refugees are drowning in the sea, or dying or suffering abuse and misery, but that is not newsworthy. That says a lot about us.
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Online nctnico

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #60 on: October 13, 2019, 07:16:31 pm »
Those didn't make the news here. The ones in California seem to be larger and have a much bigger impact.

Larger? Bigger impact? Over 100 people died here. How many have died in California? How do you know they are "bigger"?  Bigger in what way?
Don't shoot the messenger. I don't select what is on the news.
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #61 on: October 13, 2019, 07:43:06 pm »
Regardless of which side of the debate your opinion lies, let's not turn this into an irrelevant discussion about climate change. Lack of controlled burning and clearing around power lines seems to be the culprit here. Fires are a natural part of the environment and have been since before humans roamed the Earth.
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #62 on: October 13, 2019, 07:52:40 pm »
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

You're right- logically.  It isn't nearly that easy here, though, for reasons outside of logic.  There are several unfortunate obstacles, but two main ones.   

1.  Part of the agreement with the state and utility monopolies includes the inability for a customer to get out of the utility agreement, even if it was from a previous owner.  ...
Then just go solar on-grid, right?! There are also issues with that here now.  The subsidies that we were told would eventually be perpetual (because of the environment) are probably going to be stopped sooner than later (because of electric companies, politics, and greed).  Another big one is the mandatory change to "smart meters."  That's just a big F-U to solar owners.  With this new setup the times you will be producing power give you far less money, but as a double-whammy, you get charged more when you are using instead of producing.  For solar it all boils down to meaning that you will have to produce 4x or more power than you consume just to break even.

The above is a short synopsis.
...

But what if you install a solar for portions of your house off-grid.  Basically, you have two power zones in the house.  Let the old-agreement solar or gas-powered generator run (say for example) just your living room lighting, install a parallel power panel and supply most of the house via that?
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #63 on: October 13, 2019, 07:57:36 pm »
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

You're right- logically.  It isn't nearly that easy here, though, for reasons outside of logic.  There are several unfortunate obstacles, but two main ones.   

1.  Part of the agreement with the state and utility monopolies includes the inability for a customer to get out of the utility agreement, even if it was from a previous owner.  ...
Then just go solar on-grid, right?! There are also issues with that here now.  The subsidies that we were told would eventually be perpetual (because of the environment) are probably going to be stopped sooner than later (because of electric companies, politics, and greed).  Another big one is the mandatory change to "smart meters."  That's just a big F-U to solar owners.  With this new setup the times you will be producing power give you far less money, but as a double-whammy, you get charged more when you are using instead of producing.  For solar it all boils down to meaning that you will have to produce 4x or more power than you consume just to break even.

The above is a short synopsis.
...

But what if you install a solar for portions of your house off-grid.  Basically, you have two power zones in the house.  Let the old-agreement solar or gas-powered generator run (say for example) just your living room lighting, install a parallel power panel and supply most of the house via that?

Yeah that's probably what I would do, or I would just install a transfer switch to transfer the DC power over to a charge controller and battery bank and inverter.  Not surprised they would have tons of politics making this stuff hard though.   Heard horror stories of people trying to go off grid in some places (don't recall where) and the city basically condemns their house saying it's illegal to be off grid.   The trick is to be good at hiding it I guess.  If you're forced to be on grid you still get hydro service and just hardly use it and run off your solar setup.  Though they might be able to tell based on your lack of usage that something fishy is up.

I fear the day that governments start to tax green energy and EVs.  Once it starts hurting utilities and oil industry pockets, they most likely will.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 07:59:14 pm by Red Squirrel »
 
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Online nctnico

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #64 on: October 13, 2019, 08:02:11 pm »
Regardless of which side of the debate your opinion lies, let's not turn this into an irrelevant discussion about climate change. Lack of controlled burning and clearing around power lines seems to be the culprit here. Fires are a natural part of the environment and have been since before humans roamed the Earth.
Exactly!
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Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #65 on: October 13, 2019, 08:15:32 pm »
You are misinformed. All southern European countries have tremendous wildfires every year and they are getting worse, it seems. The news keep talking about how it is all due to global warming.  Just search for "Portugal wildfires" and you will find plenty. Same thing with Spain, Italy or Greece.

So, are wildfires getting more numerous and larger or is the media more in need of something to talk about?  This California thing was no big deal.  They talk about medicine spoiling due to lack of refrigeration.  Well, why didn't the patient simply put the meds in an ice chest with a bit of ice?  Even in 100 deg F heat, my beer stays cold for a couple of days in the ice chest on the patio.  And I mean REALLY cold!

One fellow died 10 minutes after the power was shut down when his ventilator stopped working while he was sleeping.  Well, sorry, but were it me, I would have been somewhere else, ventilator and all.  People need to accept some responsibility.

When you live in a forest, you have to expect forest fires.  Or, as a substitute, you have to expect power outages.  What really happens is you have the outage and then lightning starts the fires.

The outages were on the order of two days.  This is not a significant event, it is only newsworthy because it is kind of rare for a utility to shut down power and, of course, the need to fill space on the web or time on the nightly news.  Then the fact that it is PG&E and you have a feeding frenzy.

It's not like to residents didn't know the outages were coming, it was on the news for a week ahead of time.  They could have just taken a drive to a large town and camped out in a Costco parking lot.  Or Walmart... Or Cabela's  Or Cracker Barrel...  Seriously, you would think people who lived in these areas would have a plan.  There is a possibility of fire every year and now they can add power outages which were probably already unplanned events in the mountains.  My guess is that most of these people experienced unplanned outages a couple of times per year.  There are a lot of power poles jumping out in front of cars!

https://rvblogger.com/blog/is-overnight-rv-parking-at-costco-allowed/

Other states have hurricanes!  They happen every year.  Some make landfall with significant wind velocity, some don't.  It can't all be due to human activity.  I wonder if the utilities shut down power before the

Southern Cal Edison (southern California) as had 16 planned outages since 2013.
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/should-energy-companies-shut-off-power-during-windstorms-to-prevent-fires

This whole Northern California thing is much ado about nothing!
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #66 on: October 13, 2019, 08:23:04 pm »
Yeah that's probably what I would do, or I would just install a transfer switch to transfer the DC power over to a charge controller and battery bank and inverter.  Not surprised they would have tons of politics making this stuff hard though.

You can get pretty close to 'off grid' in the  PG&E service area.  We installed an 8 kW array on our last house and it generated so much energy that our net bill from the utility was just the $5/mo meter charge.  We had the advantage of a utility connection without the cost of their kWh.

I'm on my second EV, a Chevy Bolt after a Chevy Spark EV.  The state is looking at taxing the vehicles because our road maintenance is paid for by gasoline taxes.  After the money is ripped off for other things!  That probably explains why our highways are in such poor shape.

That Spark EV was a little hotrod with about 400 ft-lbs of torque.  Only a little over 100 HP but it could really scoot.  With the battery low to the ground, cornering was good.  It wasn't quite a muscle car but it was close.  I loved mashing the pedal on that thing.

Chevy toned down the performance on the Sparks and the Bolts but they still move out smartly.

Of course a retired EE is going to have an EV!
 

Offline Kleinstein

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #67 on: October 13, 2019, 08:37:10 pm »
Having enough power to not paying for ectra electricity is one thing. Still most solar systems don't work if the power goes away. That would be different systems made for real off grid installations with no grid at all.

The US Grid is known to be not really good. So some power outage is normal over there. In the 3 years I was in the US, I had way more power outage than in 50 years in Germany. More overhead lines and poor maintenance make is susceptible. The climate is also part of the problem. The longer distances are another problem.
A few years ago they had also a power problem from too much demand.
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #68 on: October 13, 2019, 09:18:05 pm »
Still most solar systems don't work if the power goes away. That would be different systems made for real off grid installations with no grid at all.
There are a few that have the capability to supply backup power during the day, without batteries. Not sure why that hasn't become a standard feature of modern solar inverters.
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Offline tom66

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #69 on: October 13, 2019, 09:20:01 pm »
I'd like to see a source for those numbers because I can't find anything to back up your claim of 30% of emissions for transport.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231018307295

Paragraph 1, 24% emissions from road transport, 70% of which from road transport, 60% of that from passenger cars and 30% from trucks.

(I was rounding figures from memory, so excuse the slight over-estimation here.)

Nonetheless this makes private cars, in the EU, responsible for more than 10% of all CO2 emissions.  It is a significant figure. 

We disagree on EVs - and many other papers have come to conclusions which suggest that the manufacturing process is less resource intensive than you claim.  German electricity is also very dirty, due to the stupid decision to shut down most of Germany's nuclear power facilities.

You also don't appear to account for the lower maintenance profile of EVs - no brake pads, no oil changes, no clutch replacements.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #70 on: October 13, 2019, 09:38:13 pm »
It's surprising how different these numbers are from other sources. The World Economic Forum lists the total EU transport and storage number as 12%.
 

Offline bson

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #71 on: October 13, 2019, 09:39:43 pm »
I can't but help think the net metering law is aggravating the maintenance problem.  If I produce electricity during the day and you consume it, then during the night our roles are swapped there is no net income for the utility, but they have to provide a grid for us to exchange power.  The California PUC also doesn't permit the extra cost burden to be reflected in energy pricing and has to be absorbed by the utility.  In fact, as far as I can tell the PUC only permits pricing to reflect production cost.  (For some bizarre reason California government(s) seem to consider infrastructure and equipment maintenance to be an investment and not an operational cost.)  If independent producers can produce it for less they will still get paid the full regulated rate, without price competition or bidding, or any applicable market dynamics.  The utility ends up overpaying for power, even more so when you factor in the cost of maintaining the grid.  And, as if this weren't bad enough, they're by law required to provide a cash subsidy for PV installations under the misguided idea that it somehow saves them money - when in reality it's incompatible with amortizing grid maintenance costs via the sale of power, which is how they're required to operate by regulation.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 09:41:23 pm by bson »
 

Offline KaneTW

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #72 on: October 13, 2019, 10:59:25 pm »
It's surprising how different these numbers are from other sources. The World Economic Forum lists the total EU transport and storage number as 12%.

Depending on whichever industry needs a boost, the numbers get fudged. Right now it seems to be beneficial to focus on the green craze to an extent that hurts the economy of Europe while countries that don't give a shit get a significant advantage.
 

Offline Ground_Loop

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #73 on: October 14, 2019, 12:55:01 am »
PS. as for the rich people who want to live among the trees, let them pay for the privilege one way or another (I'd suggest putting a very wide firebreak deeper in the forest, football field wide, or just accepting your house will burn down eventually).

Or just teach Americans to put the damn distribution wiring into the ground, like the developed central Europe does.

Much of our distribution is in the ground, but similar to Central Europe, our transmission is not.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 12:58:12 am by Ground_Loop »
 

Online IanB

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #74 on: October 14, 2019, 01:55:21 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
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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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Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
-H.L. Mencken

You sound like a Marxist.  >:D
 

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

Offline 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. 
Quote
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.
 

Offline 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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Online 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.
 

Offline 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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Online 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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Online 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.
 

Online 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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Online 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.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #100 on: October 15, 2019, 03:59:29 am »
50 years ago in a summer internship between college semesters I worked for a power company doing layout/estimates for residential service installations.  As I recall, overhead low voltage distribution was estimated at $1.35/foot.  That covered cost of poles, wires, hardware and labor.  Underground version of the same was $4.40/foot, which covered trenching, conductors, hardware and labor.  Any concrete or other hard surface cutting was additional charge.  Typical distance for the areas I was covering was around 90 feet.  In more rural areas that distance could easily be 100s of feet.  Multiply those per foot costs by roughly ten to cover inflation over that interval and you start to understand the sticker shock of going underground.  Lots of repairs can be done for the difference. Metric zealots can do the multiplication and make the ugly units go away.  It is the ratios, not the absolutes that are important.
 

Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #101 on: October 15, 2019, 06:27:55 am »
What a fiasco! But heey Calif are run by socialist gov so what to expect!

Indeed!

« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 06:29:26 am by GeorgeOfTheJungle »
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Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #102 on: October 15, 2019, 12:00:47 pm »
Looks like another power company might as well get ready to be sued.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/power-lines-may-be-fault-raging-fire-near-los-angeles-n1066106

I find it rather comical that PG&E gets sued to the point of bankruptcy because of the fires last year.  Now facing the fact PG&E simply cannot afford that happening again, they kill the power and everyone is up in arms.  What else can they do today?  Nothing is going to change anytime soon and without substantial costs.

Also funny when the politicians are asked about the maybe preventing development in fire prone areas, they all seem to shy away from that.  Housing is under supplied and costs are already insanely expensive.  Can't do that.

So pack in developments in areas that are well known to have fires.

Make sure its nearly impossible to clear the lines without environmental studies, protests, etc.  Same thing if they suggest relocating the main transmission lines.  Both of which would take a decade to do anyway.  How would you remove all combustible materials below the lines?  Spray 40' wide path of glyphosate every 4-6 months?  How's that going to go over?

Instead of the insurance companies charging what it really costs to cover these homes, they sue the power suppliers out of existence.   At what point does extreme weather become an "act of God"?

The power suppliers in CA are only going to get more careful if they know they are liable.  I can't see any other short term solution than killing the power.

Really what would all EVs do to improve current situation?  Put the same grid under that more demand, more things will break.  When HV things break, sparks & flames are certainly possible.  Could the CA grid even offset all the energy currently supplied by gasoline & diesel today? 

There have been fires this time of year in CA for as long as I can remember.   40yrs ago, how many developments where in these locations compared to now?

I think CA electric rates are going to match the the price of gas in the near future.  Seems like the situation has hit a wall and it should be interesting to see how it shakes out.
 

Offline richard.cs

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #103 on: October 15, 2019, 01:17:33 pm »
How would you remove all combustible materials below the lines?  Spray 40' wide path of glyphosate every 4-6 months?  How's that going to go over?
It's not clear to me if the lines are so badly designed/built/maintained that in the wind they clash and shed sparks so any combustible material is a problem or if it's a problem of trees touching the lines or blowing into them. Nor is it really clear to me if the problem is the high voltage transmission grid on tall steel towers or the medium voltage distribution on wooden poles (pretty much by definition a wooden pole is less tall than at least some trees).

Clearly if the worry is falling sparks then you need to either fix that or spread glyphosphate/agent orange/arsenic everywhere, so clearly making them not spark (wider line spacings, etc.) is the only sensible solution. If it's trees contacting the lines then it's more like conventional scrub clearance, a few men with chainsaws twice a decade.

I am unsure how the HV protection works in the US, but in the UK fault current to earth (trees, etc.) is limited by impedance at the source end and there is fairly fast operating tripping for L-E faults. L-L faults can be much higher energy, and also have the problem that a mid-impedance short isn't really distinguishable from a heavy load. For dry, fire-prone conditions this energy-limited L-E fault is probably helpful, but it's still plenty enough to set fire to dry wood.
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #104 on: October 15, 2019, 02:13:07 pm »
Even if its trees, clearing how many miles of trees takes how long and cost what?

Wouldn't be a shocker if they haven't been on top of this.  Even here freshly trimmed 40' tall trees are within 10' of the lines.  Add 70+ MPH wind, there is going to be contact.

Just trimming them is got to be a nightmare.  Grandmas massive oak tree has been a feature in the front yard as long as she can remember and they ain't cutting it down without a fight.  Play that scenario out over the whole path of the grid.  Nightmare...

And the story just gets better...

https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/14/us/pge-customer-rebates-california-governor/index.html

So leave the power on, plan on settlements in the billions.  Or turn it off, payout a substantial amount of cash as well.

The governor there must think that a company that's filed for bankruptcy can just print money.  Perhaps if line maintenance was an issue, CA should have gotten involved a bit earlier.
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #105 on: October 15, 2019, 02:22:03 pm »
So leave the power on, plan on settlements in the billions.  Or turn it off, payout a substantial amount of cash as well.
So, PG&E shut down the power and is getting criticized for preventing a fire and Southern Cal Edison didn't shut down power and are getting criticized for starting a fire.  They just can't win!
Quote
The governor there must think that a company that's filed for bankruptcy can just print money.  Perhaps if line maintenance was an issue, CA should have gotten involved a bit earlier.
When PG&E eventually has to rebate a few hundred million dollars, where do the people think the money comes from?  The ratepayers!  That's PG&E's only source of revenue (I'm assuming they aren't investing in BitCoin).

The $250 amount being suggested for businesses will be nowhere near their losses and the $100 for homeowners won't cover much food spoilage either.  But the people knew when they moved to the mountains that they could expect outages and fires.  Why whine and snivel when the inevitable happens?
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #106 on: October 15, 2019, 02:37:11 pm »
Using helicopters with a giant chainsaw to clear rights of way:

https://youtu.be/Mfz1YrpMbBg?t=1

https://youtu.be/8n8xE-dsxT4?t=1

https://youtu.be/5zB6WvcZEYc?t=1
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Offline richard.cs

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #107 on: October 15, 2019, 02:37:37 pm »
Even if its trees, clearing how many miles of trees takes how long and cost what?
It turns out that maintaining distribution infrastructure costs money. This should surprise no-one.

Just trimming them is got to be a nightmare.  Grandmas massive oak tree has been a feature in the front yard as long as she can remember and they ain't cutting it down without a fight.  Play that scenario out over the whole path of the grid.  Nightmare...
Surely there were legal agreements put in place when the lines were first installed? The need to keep it clear from trees must have been known from day one.
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #108 on: October 15, 2019, 02:52:23 pm »
Surely there were legal agreements put in place when the lines were first installed? The need to keep it clear from trees must have been known from day one.

I would expect they have a right of way on any property they cross.  Is what was wide enough 100yrs ago going to satisfy the needs of today given even in these areas?  Even if they are, I assume any property owner can contest things slowing the process to an miserable rate.  Add in some protestors chaining themselves to the trees for good measure.

The ratepayers!

Exactly.

Line maintenance ignored by utility & PSC that over sees them, now requiring massive catch up...
Insurance claims against the utility...
Rebates for outages....
Relocate lines...

All ends up at the same spot and its looking like a rate hike.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #109 on: October 15, 2019, 04:00:55 pm »
Electric utilities are regulated by politicians. The public who votes are mostly fools who will vote for anything that sounds good even if it is utterly impossible or damaging. So politicians promise the impossible because all they care about is getting elected. Then, when in office, they try to get by with the least trouble even if it means worsening problems down the line.

In Spain the management of this sector has been atrocious. Something like 30 years ago costs were getting out of hand to the point that it was just impossible to raise rates to cover them so the government came up with the brilliant solution of having the electrics borrow and finance. That's right. Today we are paying for the mismanagement of decades past.

Spain has really bad management, due in equal parts to corruption, incompetence and inertia. As a result we have very high electricity rates and as a result of that any industry that uses electricity is at a disadvantage. Alcoa has been closing plants in Spain and thousands of jobs were lost.

Politicians can choose to explain the reality of the complicated situation to the voting public or can choose the simple message that it is all the fault of the electric companies and I'm gonna get them in line! Who do you think the voting fools will vote for?

The end result of the game is that the price of electricity remains high, politicians continue to live off the general public who pays their salaries while they are in office and later when they leave office and join the board of some electric company.

It is all a sham and we can only blame ourselves for not understanding how things work. We like to think someone can do some accounting magic and make us richer and things cheaper.  It ain't so.
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Online IanB

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #110 on: October 15, 2019, 04:27:10 pm »
Line maintenance ignored by utility & PSC that over sees them, now requiring massive catch up...

Quote
All ends up at the same spot and its looking like a rate hike.

Well, yes, but...

If the power companies neglected maintenance in order to inflate profits and give money to shareholders, then logically the shareholders should pay for the consequences, not the consumers. The company should be forced to borrow to make good, there should be no share dividends, and potentially legal action should be taken against the company officers to discourage others from doing the same thing in the future.
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Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #111 on: October 15, 2019, 04:54:58 pm »
They are a public utility and regulated by the CPUC.

"The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians' access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services.:-DD

Seems its more than just PG&E asleep at the wheel.  If this has been a long standing problem, why didn't the CPUC step in?  Did PG&E every ask and denied rate hikes for additional maintenance?  Does the typical right of way / easement for lines allow enough clearance to keep crap away?

This is about all the real meat I can find behind what really sparked the fires.  "Dry vegetation" could be about anything from grass below to towering trees falling on the lines.  Would have thought that the investigation results would be public by now, they seem to be keeping them quite yet.

https://www.fire.ca.gov/media/5038/campfire_cause.pdf
https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Hook-on-PGE-Tower-Eyed-as-Cause-of-Deadly-Camp-Fire-502035081.html
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 04:57:47 pm by orion242 »
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #112 on: October 15, 2019, 05:45:15 pm »
Quote
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture

Regulatory capture is a form of government failure which occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.[1] When regulatory capture occurs, the interests of firms, organizations, or political groups are prioritized over the interests of the public, leading to a net loss for society. Government agencies suffering regulatory capture are called "captured agencies."

It happens all too often.

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Online Yansi

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #113 on: October 15, 2019, 05:50:03 pm »
Since when are governments and Büros created for the interests of public?

(but I get your point  :-DD   ... actually... it is not funny.  >:( )
 

Online maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #114 on: October 15, 2019, 06:01:13 pm »
It's really easy because once the regulator is working for the regulated they all say everything is good and everyone involved keeps their jobs forever. Or until the politicians complicit die. I wish we could try term limits for all of our politicians. Lifelong politicians isn't a good idea.
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #115 on: October 15, 2019, 06:39:14 pm »
Public stoning / hanging of these jokers next public safety shutdown might be even more effective than term limits.

Just sniffing around the CPUC's site it seems fire migration plans have been in the works for some time.  Don't have the time to wad through all their crap, but I'm sure an appalling story of incompetence lies in there as well.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 06:42:09 pm by orion242 »
 

Online Nusa

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #116 on: October 15, 2019, 06:53:12 pm »
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. This years screaming was mostly about how much time it takes to inspect lines (e.g. actually doing maintenance required by events), not that anything was known to be in poor repair.

People who live remotely usually have generators because the power takes longer to fix when something does go wrong. Which it will, eventually. Neglecting to keep a sufficient supply of everything (including generator gas) for several days isn't a failure of the power companies. Even then, a few days of roughing it won't hurt most people. The exceptions must plan accordingly.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #117 on: October 15, 2019, 07:11:20 pm »
Regulators / supervisors not doing their jobs has lead to serious disasters. Chernobyl and Boeing are a couple.

In Spain a whole bunch of banks went bankrupt due to mismanagement and when the directors were prosecuted and tried they alleged in their defense that the state supervisors were aware of everything and did and said nothing so the responsibility must lie with the Bank of Spain and other regulatory agencies.
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Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #118 on: October 15, 2019, 07:51:36 pm »
they alleged in their defense that the state supervisors were aware of everything and did and said nothing so the responsibility must lie with the Bank of Spain and other regulatory agencies.

Shameless.  Sounds like candidates for public stoning / hanging...
 

Online Gyro

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #119 on: October 15, 2019, 08:26:03 pm »
It's kind of ironic that this is happening in the State with the highest GDP, in the world's largest economy.

It makes me wonder how the rest of us cope!  :-\
Chris

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Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #120 on: October 15, 2019, 09:29:59 pm »
Maybe PG&E is another ENRON in disguise?
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Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #121 on: October 15, 2019, 09:57:34 pm »
It's kind of ironic that this is happening in the State with the highest GDP, in the world's largest economy.

Just because you have money doesn't mean you use it wisely. Or, you may just have different priorities.
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #122 on: October 15, 2019, 11:29:58 pm »

Well, yes, but...

If the power companies neglected maintenance in order to inflate profits and give money to shareholders, then logically the shareholders should pay for the consequences, not the consumers. The company should be forced to borrow to make good, there should be no share dividends, and potentially legal action should be taken against the company officers to discourage others from doing the same thing in the future.

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!

« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 11:31:44 pm by rstofer »
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #123 on: October 15, 2019, 11:49:02 pm »
It's not clear to me if the lines are so badly designed/built/maintained that in the wind they clash and shed sparks so any combustible material is a problem or if it's a problem of trees touching the lines or blowing into them. Nor is it really clear to me if the problem is the high voltage transmission grid on tall steel towers or the medium voltage distribution on wooden poles (pretty much by definition a wooden pole is less tall than at least some trees).

Clearly if the worry is falling sparks then you need to either fix that or spread glyphosphate/agent orange/arsenic everywhere, so clearly making them not spark (wider line spacings, etc.) is the only sensible solution. If it's trees contacting the lines then it's more like conventional scrub clearance, a few men with chainsaws twice a decade.

I am unsure how the HV protection works in the US, but in the UK fault current to earth (trees, etc.) is limited by impedance at the source end and there is fairly fast operating tripping for L-E faults. L-L faults can be much higher energy, and also have the problem that a mid-impedance short isn't really distinguishable from a heavy load. For dry, fire-prone conditions this energy-limited L-E fault is probably helpful, but it's still plenty enough to set fire to dry wood.

We had a total grid failure some time back and it was during an especially hot spell.  All of the air conditioning in the state was running and created a demand far above normal so the wires got hot and sagged until they hit the ground.  No wind, no sparks, no falling trees, just copper's coefficient of expansion.

Here's a paper on sag:
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.299.8246&rep=rep1&type=pdf
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #124 on: October 15, 2019, 11:53:18 pm »
Something will light the forest sooner or later regardless.
 

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 »
 

Online 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.

The voters get what they voted for, they just don't know what they are voting for.
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Online 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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Offline 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 »
 

Offline 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.
 

Online 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.
Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
 

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.
 

Online 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.


 

Online 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.
 

Online 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...

 

Online 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.
 

Offline 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 »
 

Online 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.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #150 on: October 17, 2019, 08:23:34 pm »
There is another practical reason why California's high speed rail project doesn't terminate in its richest, highest populated cities.  Where do you think the highest development costs are?  When a quarter acre house plot pushes a million dollars.
 

Online Nusa

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #151 on: October 17, 2019, 08:28:01 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.

Fresno is between those two points. 5th largest city in California.
Gotta start somewhere. I'm guessing that was a stretch that had minimal eminent domain fights for land. And you need that stretch to exist anyway if you're going to connect San Francisco with Los Angeles.

Whether we really need HIGH SPEED rail between all these points is a good question. Current light rail options are already pretty good between San Diego and Los Angeles. The San Diego Trolley connects to the LA Metro system in Oceanside, with many trips a day. There's also AMTRAK, but their schedule requires planning ahead. AMTRAK also serves the northern cities. As do airports.
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #152 on: October 17, 2019, 08:42:29 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.

It's complicated!  If a high tech company moved to the Central Valley, do they really think people would follow?  To a one-horse town?  The semiconductor business had this problem when they moved to Albuquerque (and even Austin) back in the '70s.  There was no infrastructure.  Nobody in the area knew the business, there were no trained employees, most current employees would rather go to the company across the street than relocate to a town with just one high tech employer and so on.

The companies would have to import talent from Silicon Valley!  There is one specific reason why Silicon Valley is where it is and that is Stanford.  The number of highly placed people in the tech world that are graduates of Stanford is staggering.

Yes, it would be cheaper to live in the Central Valley but, even in Stockton, the median home price is over $300k and there are a lot of low price, low rent houses pulling the median down.  A decent house, in a nice neighborhood, is likely to cost somewhere in the high $300s.  Move to a really nice neighborhood and you're looking at mid $600s and up.  And there isn't any high tech anywhere nearby.  That's just the result of being a bedroom community.  Those prices hold true for Modesto, Ceres and Sacramento.

There have been some abortive attempts to move high tech to Sacramento and it has been modestly successful but they aren't the bleeding edge companies.

Here's another problem:  Locational Diversity.  Companies are forced by their insurance companies to move operations outside of California.  That isn't specific to California but the earthquakes really are a factor.  I don't think anybody in the semiconductor business really wanted to move to Albuquerque or Austin but they had to build somewhere.  Loveland, CO was popular as is Colorado Springs.

Moving to the Central Valley doesn't provide locational diversity.

Kaiser Permanente (a gigantic HMO) has a huge hospital in Modesto but they have problems attracting enough qualified doctors and nurses.  Who would want to work in Modesto if they could get the same job in San Francisco where Kaiser has another large facility.  Sure, the cost of living will be cheaper in the Central Valley but likely the pay scale is as well.
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #153 on: October 17, 2019, 08:52:33 pm »
Do they really think people are going to do a daily commute from Los Angeles to Sacramento?  What is the reason for making the trip?  Why would anybody take the train?  I could see it if they ran the train up to the Emerald Triangle and folks could shop for quality marijuana.

It has never been explained to me who exactly would make that commute and why.
 

Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #154 on: October 17, 2019, 09:04:17 pm »
In Spain the two principal lines are used mainly by public employees politicians and MPs travelling back and forth from Madrid to the provinces where they come from in bussiness class on a daily basis. Oh, and a retinue of subordinates.
Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
 

Offline schmitt trigger

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #155 on: October 17, 2019, 09:05:39 pm »
I wrote: "....California's coastal cities already are, as they stand now, some of the world's most developed urban places in the world.:palm:

I just noticed the horrible redundancy in this phrase.
 

Online maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #156 on: October 17, 2019, 09:06:01 pm »
If I need to go north I'll either catch a plane or drive myself. Even if a rail project existed which didn't take hours. Last time I did Burbank to Sacramento it was about an hour. As far as I remember the rail option wasn't projected to beat it on price or time.
 

Online maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #157 on: October 17, 2019, 09:07:23 pm »
I wrote: "....California's coastal cities already are, as they stand now, some of the world's most developed urban places in the world.:palm:

I just noticed the horrible redundancy in this phrase.

I think you were clarifying they weren't on the moon or elsewhere. Those would still belong to the world without being here.
 

Offline MT

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #158 on: October 18, 2019, 02:15:01 am »
Blanco Lirio update, still stuff not over!


Californian residents in anger blasted PG&E workers company trucks with bullets!
https://www.technocracy.news/california-sinks-into-third-world-status-as-pge-cuts-power-to-millions/
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 03:30:00 am by MT »
 

Online dmills

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #159 on: October 18, 2019, 08:44:38 pm »
Yep because nothing gets things fixed faster then shooting at the guys doing the fixing!
Could be worse, they could be trying to do a full up black start!

Regards, Dan.

 

Online Gyro

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #160 on: October 25, 2019, 07:56:30 pm »
It looks as if PG&E are in the firing line again.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-50172228
Chris

"Victor Meldrew, the Crimson Avenger!"
 

Online Gregg

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #161 on: October 25, 2019, 08:22:25 pm »
I just received a call from a Darwin Award Candidate who is located in one of the PG&E power off areas.  I’m sure most of the members of this forum know people like this; the ones that know dangerously little, think they know a lot, but call for advice anyway only to argue over the advice and then do what they damn well please anyway. 
This person wanted to know if it would be OK to turn off the main 230V 100 amp main breaker and then back feed an outlet with a suicide cord.  After telling him “don’t do it” and giving a number of reasons why; I had to end the conversation by telling him that I gave him the advice he asked for and no amount of arguing was going to change my mind, goodbye! 
 

Offline richard.cs

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #162 on: October 25, 2019, 11:11:34 pm »
Clearly asking for advice and then arguing is a dick move, but I don't personally consider that especially dangerous in an appropriate, controlled situation. i.e. no children present, everyone else knows what not to touch, careful sequencing, cables secure against tugging, etc. After all life is about balancing risks, and candles / darkness / moudly food all have non-zero risks.
 

Offline fourfathom

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #163 on: October 25, 2019, 11:34:28 pm »
I've done the "Kill the main breaker and backfeed the 220V electric drier outlet with a Honda generator and a suicide cord" thing, and managed to not kill anybody.  We lived out in the woods, the utility power had a habit of going dead and not being restored for a week, and I was too poor to have a legal transfer switch.  But of course I'm a trained professional... So kids, don't try this at home.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #164 on: October 26, 2019, 01:06:51 am »
Probably not US legal, but here in commie Europe 300 Euros gets you a Kohler SDMO MTS which can break 100A from mains and is suited for a 40A generator ... and here in the Netherlands you could even install it yourself legally AFAIK.
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #165 on: October 26, 2019, 02:14:23 am »
It looks as if PG&E are in the firing line again.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-50172228

PG&E has shutdowns and another utility.  One of the current fires PG&E claims a HV transmission faulted in the area the fire started.  They are done if that's the case.  CA will own the $hitshow they created.

Outside of the extreme fire hazard conditions, its the same story across the US in highly populated areas.  CA just happens to have areas that are prime for fires and they plant housing developments in the middle of them because housing can't meet demand.  Politicians can't say no and insurance companies can blame anyone but themselves.  Self fulfilling prophecy IMO.

Maybe living without power in CA will bring the housing demand back in check.

If KWH costs are 4X norm and the power is flaky at best...how does an all EV future come to be in CA exactly??
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 02:19:31 am by orion242 »
 

Offline DimitriP

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #166 on: October 26, 2019, 02:36:37 am »
Quote
If KWH costs are 4X norm and the power is flaky at best...how does an all EV future come to be in CA exactly?

You only have to sell the cars, not keep them running anythime the driver wants to go somewhere.
In parts of CA, there isn't enough water, there isnt't enough electricity, there is too much traffic already but and real estate people complain  about "not enough inventory".
 In the meantime they keep building new "homes".. surrounded by dry brush.... then fires start and the cycle start all over again..
It all makes sense if you are going through an acute schizophrenic episode ....
meanwhile somoeone is making mega bucks out of all this... maybe I'm just jealous
   If three 100  Ohm resistors are connected in parallel, and in series with a 200 Ohm resistor, how many resistors do you have? 
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #167 on: October 26, 2019, 01:07:25 pm »

Is it so hard to bury power cables underground?  At least in new neighbourhoods / towns / subdivisions...
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #168 on: October 26, 2019, 01:23:26 pm »
Only prevents fires from the lines, would still take a decade to complete.

Lighting, arson, camp fires, cigarette tossed out the window.

Build in a natural fire pit, its going to burn.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #169 on: October 26, 2019, 01:48:12 pm »
Keeping a couple 100 meters clear around a village is only going to be a tiny percentage of a municipal budget. Housing pressure is not what pushes people to live right up to forests which historically burned at decade range intervals.

California forests by and large have never been wet enough to live among the trees safely. The results of doing it anyway have been obvious for decades, but because of global warming we can't just observe that anymore. Fire breaks aren't just not implemented, it's fundamentally impossible for them to even be a solution because it doesn't solve global warming. There is no alternative to just throwing our hands up, cut the power and pray as long as there is global warming, it's unpossible to do anything else.

Embers falling among a forest with heavy dessicated debree is obviously the same as them falling in an urban environment, because global warming. Fighting house fires right next to a forest fire is obviously the same as doing it next to a huge fire break separating you from the forest fire, because global warming. Global warming is the cause of all problems, fighting global warming the only solution. There Is No Alternative.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 02:13:58 pm by Marco »
 

Offline MT

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #170 on: October 26, 2019, 03:10:42 pm »
Probably not US legal, but here in commie Europe 300 Euros gets you a Kohler SDMO MTS which can break 100A from mains and is suited for a 40A generator ... and here in the Netherlands you could even install it yourself legally AFAIK.

Yep, here in identity gender correct commie Europe we dont give a hoot about the liberal globalists GRETA commie laws and do as we please by installing a Kohler SDMO MTS as the police on the urban country side have been absent for 10+ years. Every second year they quickly driveby not waving their hands , not stopping to chat with the local village jungle monkeys, not stopping the drunk 70+ year old local moped driver on his way to shop a bucket of milk in the now soon to close down 10m3 big supermarket! :)


Keeping a couple 100 meters clear around a village is only going to be a tiny percentage of a municipal budget. Housing pressure is not what pushes people to live right up to forests which historically burned at decade range intervals.

California forests by and large have never been wet enough to live among the trees safely. The results of doing it anyway have been obvious for decades, but because of global warming we can't just observe that anymore. Fire breaks aren't just not implemented, it's fundamentally impossible for them to even be a solution because it doesn't solve global warming. There is no alternative to just throwing our hands up, cut the power and pray as long as there is global warming, it's unpossible to do anything else.

Embers falling among a forest with heavy dessicated debree is obviously the same as them falling in an urban environment, because global warming. Fighting house fires right next to a forest fire is obviously the same as doing it next to a huge fire break separating you from the forest fire, because global warming. Global warming is the cause of all problems, fighting global warming the only solution. There Is No Alternative.

You mean the communist liberal globalists "man made" global warming of course?
 
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Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #171 on: October 26, 2019, 04:19:18 pm »
Thank you for making my point. I never disputed global warming, I merely treated it as almost irrelevant to the problem at hand and entirel irrelevant to solutions. That makes it a supposed alt-right dog whistle.

Throwing your hands in the air turning off power and treating urban destruction in every burning season as punishment from the global warming God for our sins is science. Everything else is anti-science and alt-right.

When everything must be seen from the lens of global warming perspective is lost. In this specific case it's best to just completely ignore it. Compared to the changes in forest composition from firefighting and lack of firesetting, water distribution and urban development on the forest edge it's close to irrelevant. There is no historically stable situation being disturbed by global warming ... it was unstable from the start.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 04:59:35 pm by Marco »
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #172 on: October 26, 2019, 05:29:30 pm »

Is it so hard to bury power cables underground?  At least in new neighbourhoods / towns / subdivisions...

That's "Medium Voltage" and "Low Voltage" in utility terms and it is already standard practice for densely populated developments.  Even the transformers are underground.  Somewhere...  I never did find the one serving our other house.

OTOH, in less densely populated areas and older areas like where I live now, we have pole mounted transformers served from some "Medium Voltage" (maybe 12 kV, maybe less, I didn't ask) and we have trees.  Lots and lots of trees and the lines go right through the branches.  That's why the utility company has been trimming trees in the neighborhood.  We're not in any danger, it's not a forest but still, we had 3 outages last year caused by shorting lines in the neighbor's trees across the street.  The utility finally got tired of replacing fuses so they came along and cut the trees.

The problem with pole mount transformers is that there is a limit to how far the secondary voltage can run without excessive voltage drop.  Maybe a couple of hundred feet.  At our house, the secondary is underground, only the primary is on poles.

The problems seem primarily related to "Transmission Level" towers.  Voltages at 69 kV and above - probably up around 230 kV to 500 kV.  These towers are relatively far apart, the cables tend to flap around in high wind and, as a function of load, the cables sag.  It doesn't help that people shoot at the insulators.

Northern California is scheduled for more shutdowns today.  Apparently it is primarily the "Medium Voltage" lines because the transmission lines are going to stay energized.  They serve too many customers that aren't involved with forests.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Everybody missed the point!  These outages were only tangentially related to preventing fires and saving lives.  What they really were was pressure on the Legislature to come up with a $21 BILLION dollar compensation fund to protect the utilities.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-wildfire-legislation/california-governor-signs-bill-for-21-billion-wildfire-fund-idUSKCN1U72LI

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There's nothing like getting the press all riled up over shutdowns affecting a million customers to get the Governor to do anything you want.  This has been a taxpayer scam from the beginning. How else could they get the flatlanders to pay for fires in the hills?

Pay attention!

« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 05:43:44 pm by rstofer »
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #173 on: October 26, 2019, 06:33:00 pm »

[...] This has been a taxpayer scam from the beginning. [...]


Who, other than the taxpayers, should be footing the bill for building modern housing estates with safe utilities, managed forests, firebreaks, and the rest of it?

It looks like nobody has wanted to pay for developing and implementing an overall sensible approach to what looks like a fairly predictable problem?
 

Offline fourfathom

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #174 on: October 26, 2019, 06:40:04 pm »
Regarding undergrounding and clearing, take a look at this video of the current "Kincade" fire in northern California.  The terrain is forested and steep, and undergrounding is damn near impossible.  100 meter clearings?  The sparks from these wind-driven fires can travel much farther than that.  Some flying embers from the Kincade fire traveled over one mile before landing, where they ignited and burned down a house.

Here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=78&v=ZNEDHydWx-E

 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #175 on: October 26, 2019, 06:48:05 pm »

Well, if one mile firebreaks, or more, is what it takes to do it properly...  it kind of is what it is?

 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #176 on: October 26, 2019, 07:00:50 pm »
Who, other than the taxpayers, should be footing the bill for building modern housing estates with safe utilities, managed forests, firebreaks, and the rest of it?
How about the greedy housing developers ? Same house between CA and for example middle-of-nowhere Texas, or potato-county Idaho : In CA : 1.9 million. In middle Texas 700K, in Idaho : 300K ...
how can you logically explain the same time too build, same materials, same size to have such a difference in cost ? it's not labor or material cost. it's greedy developers examining the market, seeing there is a shortage and milking all they can.

Oh, and let's not forget politicians and city governments changing zoning so they can get lots more income as well. and get their re-election campaign coffers stuffed.
Politicians should be required to wear jackets like race car drivers : with the logos of their sponsored embroidered. the larger the logo the larger the donation was.

As for Pacific Greedy Executives ( PG&E) : they gave the CEO a 40 million $ bonus ... but ask em to mow the grass under their power-line trajectories and you will hear 'that costs too much money'.
This whole power-shut-of farce is a facade to break open a debate about that compensation fund.
Their infrastructure is old and creaky and they can't bear the costs of maintenance. In all the time i have lived here there have been numerous fires and they have NEVER shut off the power. But last year they got sued big time for negligence and now they come crying for help.

Time to change the system : micro-grids , street-level grids , solar on the roof, battery packs, bloom boxes and other stuff. You won't need big heavy distribution grids. And bury the cables. no risk for spitzensparken , no eye-sore in the landscape.
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Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #177 on: October 26, 2019, 07:08:16 pm »

[...] This has been a taxpayer scam from the beginning. [...]


Who, other than the taxpayers, should be footing the bill for building modern housing estates with safe utilities, managed forests, firebreaks, and the rest of it?

It looks like nobody has wanted to pay for developing and implementing an overall sensible approach to what looks like a fairly predictable problem?

Individual homeowners that live in the areas.  There's no reason for flatlander taxpayers to fund fire losses for the forest dwellers.

"Estates" is an interesting word.  I don't know what it means in this context but I associate it with very high density housing - like towers and such.  That's a crap way to live.  I much prefer a single family dwelling on a small piece of dirt.  Actually, I prefer a bigger piece of dirt but the commute becomes unreasonable.


 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #178 on: October 26, 2019, 07:22:26 pm »
Who, other than the taxpayers, should be footing the bill for building modern housing estates with safe utilities, managed forests, firebreaks, and the rest of it?
How about the greedy housing developers ? Same house between CA and for example middle-of-nowhere Texas, or potato-county Idaho : In CA : 1.9 million. In middle Texas 700K, in Idaho : 300K ...
how can you logically explain the same time too build, same materials, same size to have such a difference in cost ? it's not labor or material cost. it's greedy developers examining the market, seeing there is a shortage and milking all they can.


It is easily explained by scarcity.  There is only so much dirt and they aren't making any more.  There are inexpensive houses built in California all the time but they are so far away from the job centers that it isn't even possible to commute.

Then there is money.  There is so much money in and around Silicon Valley that house prices are not the primary concern.  The prices keep going up because the wages keep going up because the demand for magic keeps going up.

It's been a long time since I bought a house on the outskirts of the Silicon Valley.  I bought a SMALL 3 bedroom house in '86 for about $81k.  I sold it in '03 for $291k and it is now worth $390k.  But wages are much higher today than they were 33 years ago.  Even $81k was stupid when compared to the house I bought, brand new, for $35k in '72.

Not only have tech wages gone up, so have construction costs from wages, materials and new building codes.  Everything is more expensive.

And, yes, the developers need to make a profit.  I don't imagine, in aggregate, that it is obscene.  If it were, the news people would be all over it.  There are some very large developers building a lot of homes but nobody stands out as the next billionaire.

Then there are zoning laws.  Our City was sued by the Sierra Club into constraining all new housing into backfilling existing areas rather than expanding outwards.  That means tearing down old buildings and making new housing, probably high-rise, on the same site.  Great!  No money in it but great!  But then the City was sued into retaining the old buildings because they are historical.  OK, maybe we can still work something out.  Nope!  Fire and earthquake codes have changed and even the exterior construction can't be saved.  So, they stay abandoned because they can't be demolished and they can't be upgraded.  And then there is the asbestos problems...

So, even if somebody thought they could make money on low income, high-rise housing, it can't be built.  Not in our town!

And who wants to spend 6 years in college to live in high-rise housing?
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #179 on: October 26, 2019, 08:07:37 pm »
Time to change the system : micro-grids , street-level grids , solar on the roof, battery packs, bloom boxes and other stuff. You won't need big heavy distribution grids. And bury the cables. no risk for spitzensparken , no eye-sore in the landscape.

Starting Jan 1, 2020, all new residential housing in California will have solar panels.

https://fortune.com/2018/12/06/california-solar-panels-new-homes/

There are no real facts in the article, like how big is the array in kW, and the economists don't agree on cost or savings.

But here's the thing:  The cost to maintain electricity to the meter is paid for by energy consumed through the meter.  If PG&E isn't selling kWh, they can't afford to maintain the system at the residential level.  There's a reason why, in a solar enticing place like Hawaii, there is a 4 year wait for approval by the utility and that approval is required.  The utility is literally being forced out of business.

To be effective, an array probably needs to be around 8 kW in the Sacramento area.  We had that size and it covered all of our kWh for the year.  All we paid PG&E was the $5/month meter charge.  We were paying $0.15/kWh to the solar company instead of $0.35/kWh to PG&E,

One of the rules:  You can't be a 'net generator'.  PG&E doesn't want to buy back solar energy from residential so, at the end of the year, if you generate more than your needs, the utility will pay only $0.04/kWh, if that.

I don't know if these "Power Purchase Agreements" are still popular.  Maybe not.  We liked it because we didn't pay for the installation and only paid $0.15/kWh for actual generation.

Battery systems are going to be a maintenance nightmare.

I'm not sure that battery systems can provide enough kW to cook Thanksgiving dinner.  One of the things about solar is that it is useful for kWh but not so much for kW.  I doubt I can afford a battery system large enough to run a 5 ton HVAC unit along with the usual kitchen appliances along with another couple of horsepower for a garbage disposal and the all important well pump (also 2 HP, I believe).  There's a reason the house has a 200A service.

 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #180 on: October 26, 2019, 08:12:41 pm »

Well, if one mile firebreaks, or more, is what it takes to do it properly...  it kind of is what it is?

That kind of ruins the reason for living there!  Besides, you're overlooking the part where the environmentalists have blocked any logging, even firebreaks.  They're not too keen on burning the debris either.

Every group that gets a say puts limits on how people, other than themselves, can live.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #181 on: October 26, 2019, 08:44:03 pm »
Someone suggested housing pressure was the reason. Any way, I doubt a mile is necessary. Just use the minimum distance where fire fighters feel safe issuing no evacuation order. A pair of eyes for almost every building will spot fires a whole lot quicker than just the fire fighters.

Also, a more expensive alternative to putting the firebreak at the edge of a town is putting it farther out and carefully maintaining wooded vegetation near the town. A pretty fuel break with species selection and yearly raking next to the town then a proper firebreak next to that, because fuel breaks are half measures.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 08:52:51 pm by Marco »
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #182 on: October 26, 2019, 10:32:18 pm »

Well, if one mile firebreaks, or more, is what it takes to do it properly...  it kind of is what it is?

That kind of ruins the reason for living there!  [...]


Fine, then we just have to admit that the houses are disposable!   - Perhaps they could have really strong concrete basements, so only the above ground part needs to be rebuilt every few years?

The problem is similar to building on a flood plain:  you just know that it isn't a long term investment!
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #183 on: October 26, 2019, 11:16:14 pm »

Well, if one mile firebreaks, or more, is what it takes to do it properly...  it kind of is what it is?

That kind of ruins the reason for living there!  [...]


Fine, then we just have to admit that the houses are disposable!   - Perhaps they could have really strong concrete basements, so only the above ground part needs to be rebuilt every few years?

The problem is similar to building on a flood plain:  you just know that it isn't a long term investment!

That's pretty much what they do in tornado country.  Everybody has an ultra strong basement.  The house may wind up in Kansas but the basement is still in place.

"You know the difference between a tornado and divorce in the south? Nothing! Someone is losing a trailer." - Robin Williams

Of course, the Central Valley is very close to sea level.  The New Year's Day 1997 flood was pretty exciting:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floods_in_California

A lot of houses on farms were flooded up 3 feet or so.  They soon rebuilt but they built pads above that level.  It was surreal seeing all that water where there used to be dirt.
 
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Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #184 on: October 26, 2019, 11:19:05 pm »
I'm not sure that battery systems can provide enough kW to cook Thanksgiving dinner.  One of the things about solar is that it is useful for kWh but not so much for kW.  I doubt I can afford a battery system large enough to run a 5 ton HVAC unit along with the usual kitchen appliances along with another couple of horsepower for a garbage disposal and the all important well pump (also 2 HP, I believe).  There's a reason the house has a 200A service.
There's no real reason to run HVAC from battery (except as a buffer to get around the dynamic range limitations of standard compressors) when thermal storage is orders of magnitude cheaper. In fact, it turns out that running a conventional air conditioner from batteries at best only gives marginally more cooling per pound than simply making ice. Similarly, hot water can also make use of thermal storage and in most homes, already does to an extent.

Many large residential loads (e.g. cooking and power tools) tend to be "bursty" in that they need a lot of peak but don't actually run for long. (The only time I ever use the full 1.8kW of my induction cooker is at the start to heat up the pot, something that only takes minutes at most.)
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Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #185 on: October 27, 2019, 01:07:23 am »
In fact, it turns out that running a conventional air conditioner from batteries at best only gives marginally more cooling per pound than simply making ice.
Looking around, somewhere between 2 and 1.5 more.
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #186 on: October 27, 2019, 02:05:57 am »
Looking around, somewhere between 2 and 1.5 more.
The combination of more advanced battery technology and a super efficient air conditioner does sway it a bit (note that I specifically did not consider geothermal due to its high cost), but for a stationary application where weight is of little importance, it's hard to beat the really low cost of water as a thermal storage medium. (Actually, you could drain the tanks and end up with something that doesn't weigh much for transport...)
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Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #187 on: October 27, 2019, 02:51:27 am »
Actually I'm probably underestimating what an ice freezer could get as COP ... a couple degrees below zero instead of 18 below like a deep freezer should mostly close to gap to air conditioners.

But splits and window air conditioners are dirt cheap commodity items, ice storage air conditioning not so much.
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #188 on: October 27, 2019, 03:07:02 am »
Seems fire breaks could make sense, destroy lot of trees but prevents even more from being destroyed by fire.  Put solar farms on the fire break areas and put that power towards the general area and the extra towards desalination plants.  Kill two birds with one stone.
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #189 on: October 27, 2019, 03:22:50 am »
But splits and window air conditioners are dirt cheap commodity items, ice storage air conditioning not so much.
Could be as simple as a central A/C condensing unit connected to some copper tubing placed inside some storage tanks, then use a pump to circulate cold water through some radiators. Not much more complex than a conventional A/C.


What I actually plan to build is quite a bit more complex (e.g. a switchable displacement compressor and an oil separator right after the desuperheater), but that's mostly to get more dynamic range in order to be better able to adapt to the varying solar production. It's too bad that A/C compressors with provision to connect an external oil pump are so expensive, since that's what would allow a very wide dynamic range for the compressor itself. (And high dynamic range expansion valves are even harder to find, luckily there's a workaround by using several cheap "standard" expansion valves.)
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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #190 on: October 27, 2019, 03:50:16 am »
"Estates" is an interesting word.  I don't know what it means in this context but I associate it with very high density housing - like towers and such.  That's a crap way to live.  I much prefer a single family dwelling on a small piece of dirt.  Actually, I prefer a bigger piece of dirt but the commute becomes unreasonable.

"Housing estate" = "subdivision". A tract of land which is divided up into plots to build houses on.

(The word "subdivision" does not exist in Britain. If you use that word there you will not be understood.)
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Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #191 on: October 27, 2019, 05:24:51 am »
Looking around, somewhere between 2 and 1.5 more.
The combination of more advanced battery technology and a super efficient air conditioner does sway it a bit (note that I specifically did not consider geothermal due to its high cost), but for a stationary application where weight is of little importance, it's hard to beat the really low cost of water as a thermal storage medium. (Actually, you could drain the tanks and end up with something that doesn't weigh much for transport...)

Sounds good, and its done in commercial.  To do so in residential is silly expensive.   All the generation is mainly when there is no load.  When its needed its all storage.  All the extra gear required for the limited input, snowballs chance in hell there is a ROI in any reasonable time frame.  If you build the home and plan on dying in it, maybe you can make the math work.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2019, 05:31:21 am by orion242 »
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #192 on: October 27, 2019, 02:26:28 pm »
Sounds good, and its done in commercial.  To do so in residential is silly expensive.   All the generation is mainly when there is no load.  When its needed its all storage.  All the extra gear required for the limited input, snowballs chance in hell there is a ROI in any reasonable time frame.  If you build the home and plan on dying in it, maybe you can make the math work.
There's nothing in a basic thermal storage system that's particularly expensive, don't even need a fancy variable speed compressor if you just want to use grid power during off peak times.

What does get tricky is if you want to (try to) match the compressor power draw to solar production. There's currently little demand for "small" (a few tons of capacity or less) high dynamic range compressors outside of scientific equipment, meaning high costs. The minimum operating speed of a conventional compressor is usually limited by the use of a centrifugal oil pump. Hence my idea to use a switchable displacement compressor in order to get more dynamic range within the operating speed limits, which isn't that much more expensive than a fixed displacement compressor. The compressors that can have external oil pumps connected are way more expensive (haven't seen any under $1000, compared to switchable displacement compressors that are about $400 for a 4.5 ton), at which point I may as well just put the cost towards upsizing the battery a little to use as a buffer.

Oil collecting in the evaporator also limits the minimum capacity, hence the use of an oil separator. There's also the trick of adding a little bit of a higher boiling point hydrocarbon such as R600a to thin out oil in the evaporator and help carry it back to the compressor. (Sadly, compressors with oil level sight glasses are also really expensive, so I'll just have to stay conservative with handling the oil return problem.)
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Online Nusa

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #193 on: October 27, 2019, 03:50:05 pm »
"Estates" is an interesting word.  I don't know what it means in this context but I associate it with very high density housing - like towers and such.  That's a crap way to live.  I much prefer a single family dwelling on a small piece of dirt.  Actually, I prefer a bigger piece of dirt but the commute becomes unreasonable.

"Housing estate" = "subdivision". A tract of land which is divided up into plots to build houses on.

(The word "subdivision" does not exist in Britain. If you use that word there you will not be understood.)

But without the word "housing", estates are large pieces of land with a large residence for a single family on it. If it's near developing areas, it may become a housing estate if the family sells. Might be how that term evolved.

In any event, this thread has more to do with rural areas than densely developed ones. And the people that choose to live in them.
 

Online IanB

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #194 on: October 27, 2019, 06:00:25 pm »

"Housing estate" = "subdivision". A tract of land which is divided up into plots to build houses on.

(The word "subdivision" does not exist in Britain. If you use that word there you will not be understood.)

But without the word "housing", estates are large pieces of land with a large residence for a single family on it. If it's near developing areas, it may become a housing estate if the family sells. Might be how that term evolved.

Not necessarily so in Britain. An estate may be that, but it is also the standard term for a housing development in a town. Similarly there is no word "realtor" in British English. Real estate agents in Britain are known as estate agents.

Quote
In any event, this thread has more to do with rural areas than densely developed ones. And the people that choose to live in them.

As for fires, my experience of California wildfires is they have affected plenty of people in cities and densely populated areas. I my part of the world whole chunks of Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Carlsbad and even Del Mar have been evacuated due to nearby fires in recent years. Houses make perfectly good fuel for fires, and whole subdivisions have been incinerated. One house goes up and they all do.
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Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #195 on: October 27, 2019, 06:38:19 pm »
As for fires, my experience of California wildfires is they have affected plenty of people in cities and densely populated areas. I my part of the world whole chunks of Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Carlsbad and even Del Mar have been evacuated due to nearby fires in recent years. Houses make perfectly good fuel for fires, and whole subdivisions have been incinerated. One house goes up and they all do.
The houses are easy to ignite if they have the ever popular "shake shingle" roofing material - basically, split wood.
Our house has an aluminum roof as do a few others around here.  I don't know if it was installed for fire protection or just to frustrate the spooks.  In any event, we save a lot of money on tinfoil.

Almost all of California is capable of burning - except for the desert areas.  At the moment, utility sponsored fires are getting all the press but that isn't the normal situation.  More often than not, fires are started by lightning or human activity including arson.  We have a LOT of arson in the state.  Not all related to wildfires but enough.

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/crime_courts/2018/08/06/california-arson-how-common/912413002/

Sometimes fire fighters get into arson:

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

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #196 on: October 27, 2019, 08:50:52 pm »
Why isn't it more common to build houses out of more fire resistant materials like brick and steel in high fire risk areas?
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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #197 on: October 27, 2019, 09:33:21 pm »
Why isn't it more common to build houses out of more fire resistant materials like brick and steel in high fire risk areas?

Building code obviously doesn't require that.
Building code probably exists to avoid suing the builder not to protect the home owner
Otherwise when you see a house being build in 2019 it would look a little different than a house being built in 2000 or 1990 or 1980...yet...it's the same story.
A wooden frame just like in the 1800s with a bunch of plaster and lot of nails holding everything together... progress!!

Full disclosure...where I come from, we call 200 year old buildings "new".
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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #198 on: October 27, 2019, 09:42:08 pm »
Why isn't it more common to build houses out of more fire resistant materials like brick and steel in high fire risk areas?

or at least ..... https://californiachaparralblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/exterior-fire-sprinklers-saved-188-properties-wet-homes-dont-burn/

   If three 100  Ohm resistors are connected in parallel, and in series with a 200 Ohm resistor, how many resistors do you have? 
 
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #199 on: October 28, 2019, 01:37:52 am »
Full disclosure...where I come from, we call 200 year old buildings "new".[/i]   :)

Near me, New Alresford was founded in the 12th/13th century AD.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Alresford
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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #200 on: October 28, 2019, 02:34:10 am »
A little 3 minute reality check...



__________
BrianHG.
 

Online notsob

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #201 on: October 28, 2019, 04:33:30 am »
And there is always a heat pump system for your hot water ( works on ambient heat - obviously better with sunlight )

https://energieaustralia.com.au/thermodynamic-solar-system/
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #202 on: October 28, 2019, 10:56:02 am »
Why isn't it more common to build houses out of more fire resistant materials like brick and steel in high fire risk areas?

or at least ..... https://californiachaparralblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/exterior-fire-sprinklers-saved-188-properties-wet-homes-dont-burn/

Wonder how practical this really is.  System needs to be isolated and self contained.  Power source for the pump and water source. That link calls for a 10k gal tank which isn't a small item.  Does the typical CA lot in these areas have enough space for this?

Just trying to get an idea of the water required...

https://www.forestry.umn.edu/sites/forestry.umn.edu/files/cfans_asset_183520.pdf

60gpm?  So your 10k tank is just under 3hrs of runtime.  Better have perfect timing on activating that.  That said some are running these systems for hours prior to a fire to wet everything.  That's a ton of water in an area that doesn't have an massive supply for starters.

Seems pretty costly and the maintenance on these is probably alot more than most homeowners are capable of.
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #203 on: October 28, 2019, 11:49:20 am »
Wonder how practical this really is.  System needs to be isolated and self contained.  Power source for the pump and water source. That link calls for a 10k gal tank which isn't a small item.  Does the typical CA lot in these areas have enough space for this?

10k US gallons is about a 10 foot cube, doesn't sound unreasonable for an underground tank to me, not necessarily cheap though. It's used almost never, so trickle-filling it over many months sounds reasonable, and it could be filled with rainwater / greywater. I've not looked at these systems in any detail but I guess there's a diesel pump that needs to sit idle for years at a time and then reliably run when needed, this needs care and maintenance, but it's a well understood problem. Actually piston engines aren't great at this, but in this application independence from external energy is definitely necessary.

At one point I was considering helping a friend build a fire tank of that sort of size on his (UK) farm, the nearest fire hydrant he has is 1/4 mile away the other side of a busy road and when he'd had a fire previously there was a fairly long delay as hoses were set up and problems with limited flow. It never came to anything in the end, it's a lot of effort for something that probably will never happen again. If he lived somewhere with more significant fire risk we'd probably have done it. In this case we weren't thinking of pumps, just a big local store of water the fire brigade could pump from.

Of course a masonry house with a tile roof is likely to fare rather better in terms of surviving falling embers and radiant heat compared to common US construction, although it'll still catch fire eventually if it's in the middle of a burning forest.
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #204 on: October 28, 2019, 01:19:39 pm »
10k US gallons is about a 10 foot cube, doesn't sound unreasonable for an underground tank to me, not necessarily cheap though.

Indeed.  Looking at the tanks, this isn't as big as I initially thought.

@60gpm, that tank isn't lasting very long.  Certainly won't be running the system for hours prior if a fire is in the area to soak things.  Maintenance on the pumps is a hassle most will forget.  Areas with freezing conditions, another hassle.  More fire retardant / proof materials seems like a better investment IMO.  Or maybe just don't build in a natural fire pit in the first place.
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #205 on: October 28, 2019, 01:56:01 pm »
The link says radiant heat won't ignite a house from more than 10 meter away ... put an alumized fireproof tarp across the home and that would probably be reduced to a couple of meters.

Maybe you could make a system with two pyrotechnic launchers on the outer edges of a roll of tarp to quickly shoot it across a home, feels like something which could be done very cheap.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 02:11:42 pm by Marco »
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #206 on: October 28, 2019, 01:59:08 pm »
A substantial fraction of California homes already have a 30k gallon tank, called a swimming pool.  Adding pumps and plumbing is a low cost option.  Some bright guy could rig up an Arduino with appropriate sensors to start the flooding.  Seems like an appropriate risk reduction measure.  Remember that for all the horror in the news only a tiny, tiny fraction of the housing stock burns in these fires.  It doesn't warrant cost is no object solutions.
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #207 on: October 28, 2019, 03:10:15 pm »
A substantial fraction of California homes already have a 30k gallon tank, called a swimming pool.  Adding pumps and plumbing is a low cost option.  Some bright guy could rig up an Arduino with appropriate sensors to start the flooding.  Seems like an appropriate risk reduction measure.  Remember that for all the horror in the news only a tiny, tiny fraction of the housing stock burns in these fires.  It doesn't warrant cost is no object solutions.

Perfect solution!  -  make a swimming pool required in the risky areas, per building code.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #208 on: October 28, 2019, 03:18:06 pm »
it is now worth $390k.
That must be either a very small house, or somewhere remote. I can't find anything below 1 million $. Up on communication hill a 3 bedroom begins at 1.4 million . Want a teeny little patch of land , barely enough for a table and 4 chairs and 20 square feet of grass ? that'll be 2 million please.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #209 on: October 28, 2019, 03:35:24 pm »
But here's the thing:  The cost to maintain electricity to the meter is paid for by energy consumed through the meter.  If PG&E isn't selling kWh, they can't afford to maintain the system at the residential level. 

Let them deal with the industrial customers. Individual homes should be solar , no selling electricity into the grid, and a connection for nighttime , or off-season use only. That would lighten the load on the grid.
Stick a 20KWh pack in the garage.
Quote

To be effective, an array probably needs to be around 8 kW in the Sacramento area.  We had that size and it covered all of our kWh for the year.  All we paid PG&E was the $5/month meter charge.  We were paying $0.15/kWh to the solar company instead of $0.35/kWh to PG&E
perfect !

Quote
One of the rules:  You can't be a 'net generator'.  PG&E doesn't want to buy back solar energy.
There's no need. Whatever excess you produce : dump it in a pack. And if you combine roof space for electric and warm water ... two birds with one stone.
Actually i wonder how come nobody makes cooled solar panels. Basically run a non conductive cooling fluid on the back of the panels pumped through a heat exchanger into storage for warm water.
Cooling the cells gives ore efficiency and you get free warm water ... Even if the cooling shuts down , or there is enough warm water : it won;t damage the cells as they are already capable of handling the full heat.

Quote
Battery systems are going to be a maintenance nightmare.
Not really. And it doesn't have to be pure battery . bloomboxes look interesting. Anyway, for night time use you would still pull additional (but reduced) power form the grid.

Quote
I'm not sure that battery systems can provide enough kW to cook Thanksgiving dinner.  One of the things about solar is that it is useful for kWh but not so much for kW.  I doubt I can afford a battery system large enough to run a 5 ton HVAC unit along with the usual kitchen appliances along with another couple of horsepower for a garbage disposal and the all important well pump (also 2 HP, I believe).  There's a reason the house has a 200A service.
52KW inverter enough for you ? Size of two shoe boxes. That easily 200 amps at 240 volts.

I have a 5 ton AC and electric range. 120 amp service. no problems. 200 amps is excessive. You only need it for night. Nights are cooler, less AC consumption. You really only need power for fridge/freezer ,interior lighting.
I have a very efficient AC system ( variable speed scroll compressor with variable speed furnace/exchange ). It maintains the house at fixed temp throughout the year. i cut my summer electricity bill in half by switching to such a system. no more bang-bang approach to cooling. OK, the system cost money i will probably only start recuperating after 10 or more years, but it can be done. It lightens the load ont he battery pack.
You need to shift and adapt new technologies to work on a pack based system, but the machinery does exist.
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Offline DimitriP

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #210 on: October 28, 2019, 05:56:37 pm »
Quote
Actually i wonder how come nobody makes cooled solar panels. Basically run a non conductive cooling fluid on the back of the panels pumped through a heat exchanger into storage for warm water.
Cooling the cells gives ore efficiency and you get free warm water ... Even if the cooling shuts down , or there is enough warm water : it won;t damage the cells as they are already capable of handling the full heat.

Higher price, less competitive , less sales, less profit.

As for having a variable speed A/C compressor....in this day and age why do they even manufacture non variable speed A/C compressors?  and if SEER 17-24 is a good thing why are still SEER 10-14 on the market?
You'd think economics of scale would make up for
Higher price, less competitive , less sales , less profit.
Hmmm.....
   If three 100  Ohm resistors are connected in parallel, and in series with a 200 Ohm resistor, how many resistors do you have? 
 

Offline BravoV

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #211 on: October 28, 2019, 06:29:43 pm »
Actually i wonder how come nobody makes cooled solar panels. Basically run a non conductive cooling fluid on the back of the panels pumped through a heat exchanger into storage for warm water.
Cooling the cells gives ore efficiency and you get free warm water ... Even if the cooling shuts down , or there is enough warm water : it won;t damage the cells as they are already capable of handling the full heat.


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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #212 on: October 28, 2019, 07:47:29 pm »
Here's a data point from a californian (south bay area) about 200 miles from active fires up north.  Been out of power since 8pm Saturday.  Power is supposed to be restored tonight (48hr blackout).  Here's the irony.  I live in in a rural, high fire danger, grassy hill area.  I depend on electricity for water (private well).  Hope there's no fire on my property!

ps.  I'll be rectifying this with a new generator - current one only has 120v circuits.
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #213 on: October 28, 2019, 08:42:35 pm »
Installing a permanent generator with transfer switch is a pretty big deal.  First problem:  What fuel?  Gasoline is kind of ugly because of storage.  LPG might be ok if the fuel economy was workable.  Natural Gas might be the best choice and would be ideal if the generator was "Dual Fuel" with LPG.

I really don't want to use gasoline because I don't want to store it.

Watch the "Starting kW" rating and see if your well pump will actually start.  Just for a number, assume 1000 Watts per HP running and as much as 6 times that for starting.  I'm guessing that my well pump is 2 HP so I would be looking for a generator that has a 12 kW starting capability.

Apparently this Briggs & Stratton 12 kW generator will empty a 5 gallon Propane tank in 2 hours.

https://www.amazon.com/Briggs-Stratton-40531-Generator-Symphony/dp/B017K0QDPI

It won't support our 5 Ton HVAC system, I would need to get a lot more serious before I starting looking for something that will start the well pump.

So far, we haven't been impacted.  The major high voltage lines run right through town and if those go down, half the state goes with it.  That's why PG&E hasn't been shutting down the major transmission lines.  Too many customers would be impacted.  Of course, they have gone down before.
 

Online maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #214 on: October 28, 2019, 08:57:20 pm »
Rural you typically have an lpg tank on your property anyway. Unless you're strange and have electric heaters, water heaters, and oven in rural California. 

Near me Arnold and LeBron both had to evacuate. Another sepulveda pass fire. Last time some homeless people started the fire, see what it is this time.
 

Online Someone

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #215 on: October 28, 2019, 10:54:56 pm »
Why isn't it more common to build houses out of more fire resistant materials like brick and steel in high fire risk areas?

or at least ..... https://californiachaparralblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/exterior-fire-sprinklers-saved-188-properties-wet-homes-dont-burn/

Wonder how practical this really is.  System needs to be isolated and self contained.  Power source for the pump and water source. That link calls for a 10k gal tank which isn't a small item.  Does the typical CA lot in these areas have enough space for this?

Just trying to get an idea of the water required...

https://www.forestry.umn.edu/sites/forestry.umn.edu/files/cfans_asset_183520.pdf

60gpm?  So your 10k tank is just under 3hrs of runtime.  Better have perfect timing on activating that.  That said some are running these systems for hours prior to a fire to wet everything.  That's a ton of water in an area that doesn't have an massive supply for starters.

Seems pretty costly and the maintenance on these is probably alot more than most homeowners are capable of.
Not uncommon for rural properties in Australia, some places expect a fire on a 5-10 year cycle. Maintenance on a small petrol powered fire pump is almost nonexistent and you run a test/practice/drill once or twice a year to check everything and everyone is ready to go. They are predominantly advertised for reducing the threat of embers (which can be mostly addressed through appropriate building materials and design) and planned for a few hours run time to be used in combination with people actively defending the property. So its not about getting the timing perfect, you only turn it on when its actually needed.

This is what it looks like from the inside:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-09/ember-attack-during-bushfire-on-the-sunshine-coast/11494188
Proper clothing allows prepared people to keep fighting the fire during that, until the front approaches and they need to take shelter from the direct radiation.
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #216 on: October 28, 2019, 11:39:29 pm »
Rural you typically have an lpg tank on your property anyway. Unless you're strange and have electric heaters, water heaters, and oven in rural California. 
California winters are very mild, a heat pump will be cheaper to run than getting propane.
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Online maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #217 on: October 29, 2019, 12:12:42 am »
Rural you typically have an lpg tank on your property anyway. Unless you're strange and have electric heaters, water heaters, and oven in rural California. 
California winters are very mild, a heat pump will be cheaper to run than getting propane.

I guess snow is pretty mild? It snows at my dads every winter. Anyway, even if you didn't use gas for home heat you'd still use it everywhere else you can.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 12:14:24 am by maginnovision »
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #218 on: October 29, 2019, 01:30:51 am »
In warmer climates, modern heat pumps can get competitive with natural gas (especially after factoring in service charges!) and will be cheaper than propane in all but the coldest climates.
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Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #219 on: October 29, 2019, 02:18:05 am »
Not uncommon for rural properties in Australia, some places expect a fire on a 5-10 year cycle. Maintenance on a small petrol powered fire pump is almost nonexistent and you run a test/practice/drill once or twice a year to check everything and everyone is ready to go.

Petrol, if your not putting additives in the fuel and running it monthly, its almost certain the carb is going to get hosed up.  Per the reports linked above, a fair deal of the systems couldn't be activated from lack of maintenance or because they where drained for winter.  Can see many that forget about them until they need it, and it won't start.

planned for a few hours run time to be used in combination with people actively defending the property. So its not about getting the timing perfect, you only turn it on when its actually needed.

Which is fine if you plan on staying behind.  Not sure that's something I would be up for unless I had a large margin around the property and a crap load of water at hand.  Assuming most are going to head for safer ground when the evacuation order comes.  Chance of burning alive or insurance claim...hmm.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 02:42:51 am by orion242 »
 

Online Nusa

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #220 on: October 29, 2019, 02:25:31 am »
Rural you typically have an lpg tank on your property anyway. Unless you're strange and have electric heaters, water heaters, and oven in rural California. 
California winters are very mild, a heat pump will be cheaper to run than getting propane.
While it's certainly true that most of the population enjoys mild weather, especially near the coast, it's a big state with a lot of climates. It holds the record for the hottest (Death Valley) AND coldest (Bodie) spots in the continental US for 2018. (Obviously Alaska wins cold if one includes it.)
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 02:30:12 am by Nusa »
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #221 on: October 29, 2019, 02:31:19 am »
In warmer climates, modern heat pumps can get competitive with natural gas (especially after factoring in service charges!) and will be cheaper than propane in all but the coldest climates.

Natural gas is cheaper than propane typically.  In the north, air 2 air HPs aren't too useful once temps drop below the teens.  Some of the newer systems do better, but they still fall over to electric resistance during design days.

Would be interesting to run the calcs in a few areas on a modern 2k sqft home and what kind of storage and solar install would be required for HVAC & normal electrical use.  Given its nearly unheard of, I'm guessing the additional cost has a payback that's several times the average length of ownership.
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #222 on: October 29, 2019, 02:40:50 am »
Could be as simple as a central A/C condensing unit connected to some copper tubing placed inside some storage tanks, then use a pump to circulate cold water through some radiators. Not much more complex than a conventional A/C.

And you need condensation pans and piping under all these radiators.  All your piping needs insulation or its dripping all over.  Pipe insulation in resi isn't something I have seen unless the HO added it later.

The storage tanks are fiddly.  You need to keep the liquid level full and prevent "over" freezing and bursting them.  Figuring out and sensing the sweet spot reliably is a real PITA in commercial systems that have been doing this for years now.  Seen more than one storage tank split wide open due to a failure to sense fully charged.  You have pumps that need to circulate the fluid that's just eff losses vs a normal forced air system.  In the end you still have to deal with electrical needs that require batteries.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 02:51:40 am by orion242 »
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #223 on: October 29, 2019, 03:00:03 am »
Would be interesting to run the calcs in a few areas on a modern 2k sqft home and what kind of storage and solar install would be required for HVAC & normal electrical use.  Given its nearly unheard of, I'm guessing the additional cost has a payback that's several times the average length of ownership.
Just check the off grid sites, there's probably an install somewhere of your description whose owner is willing to share data. The climate would obviously make a big difference in the HVAC and solar needed, but the battery capacity would be mostly determined by other factors if thermal storage is used for HVAC.
And you need condensation pans and piping under all these radiators.  All your piping needs insulation or its dripping all over.  Pipe insulation in resi isn't something I have seen unless the HO added it later.

The storage tanks are fiddly.  You need to keep the liquid level full and prevent "over" freezing and bursting them.  Figuring out and sensing the sweet spot is a real PITA in commercial systems that have been doing this for years now.  You have pumps that need to circulate the fluid that's just eff losses vs a normal forced air system.  In the end you still have to deal with electrical needs that require batteries.
The pumps and fans would only use a few tens of watts if they're the really efficient BLDC type. Ducted systems have pretty high losses unless the ducts are oversized, something corner cutting HVAC installers rarely do.

Sensing when the tanks are frozen to design capacity does pose some challenges, most likely it would be easiest to leave some air space for expansion and consider them "full" when the temperature suddenly drops indicating the lack of additional water to freeze. Could also experiment with things like ultrasonic sensing or detecting the size of the air space.

All in all, it's a good research area just like solar thermal air conditioning using calcium chloride. Most likely the two would be complementary technologies.
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Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #224 on: October 29, 2019, 03:20:24 am »
The pumps and fans would only use a few tens of watts if they're the really efficient BLDC type.

BLDC pumps in the capacities you need for a modern house ok.  What do those cost?  Never seen them in the commercial space, so I assume these are going to be pretty costly and not readily available.  Cooling the dT of the fluid / air is far less than heating typically requiring higher flows.

Sensing when the tanks are frozen to design capacity does pose some challenges, most likely it would be easiest to leave some air space for expansion and consider them "full" when the temperature suddenly drops indicating the lack of additional water to freeze. Could also experiment with things like ultrasonic sensing or detecting the size of the air space.

Been there done that with ultrasonic and many other methods.  Its "fiddly" and the system can easily be destroyed the first time you fail.  KISS is return temp and pay close attention to the delta T, but that's not a fool proof method either.  The feedback of over / under charged are very close to the noise floor.  One needs a few safety checks at minimum and solid understanding of the system to avoid destruction.

All in all, it's a good research area just like solar thermal air conditioning using calcium chloride. Most likely the two would be complementary technologies.

I think the idea has merit over trying to use batteries alone to provide HVAC needs to a house.  This is just cooling needs, thermal storage for heating doesn't go far.  The cost & complexity is still likely ROI than never computes in all but the rarest cases.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 03:39:06 am by orion242 »
 

Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #225 on: October 29, 2019, 03:35:06 am »
Just check the off grid sites, there's probably an install somewhere of your description whose owner is willing to share data.

These sites, and they do exist, choose a lifestyle that allows it.  The normal consumer isn't going to go ape $hit and unplug their phone charger when not in use.

I'm talking normal lifestyle.  If you want to chase every watt your home consumes with passion and your willing to give up what most wouldn't, sure you can be off grid.  Is that going to be main stream in my lifetime, surely not.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 03:39:58 am by orion242 »
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #226 on: October 29, 2019, 04:17:18 am »
I'm talking normal lifestyle.  If you want to chase every watt your home consumes with passion and your willing to give up what most wouldn't, sure you can be off grid.  Is that going to be main stream in my lifetime, surely not.
Many "new" off grid installs don't seem to give up much of anything. Solar panels are so cheap that it makes sense to "overprovision" them.

Here's one off grid install that doesn't seem to take any extreme energy saving methods apart from the off grid system itself:
https://www.youtube.com/user/fliping720/videos
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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #227 on: October 29, 2019, 09:28:23 am »
Petrol, if your not putting additives in the fuel and running it monthly, its almost certain the carb is going to get hosed up.  Per the reports linked above, a fair deal of the systems couldn't be activated from lack of maintenance or because they where drained for winter.  Can see many that forget about them until they need it, and it won't start.
This is where propane really shines, it can sit in its tank for decades until needed, leave no residue after test runs, etc. An ideal system perhaps would have a pump submerged in an underground tank, shaft or electrically driven from a propane-fuelled engine which can be started remotely or triggered by radiant heat. With a grid charged starting battery there's not a lot of maintenance to do.

Whitewashing the windows before leaving might help à la protect and survive. Interior furnishings can be more vulnerable to radiant heat than the outside of the building, especially if the outside is being sprayed with water.
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #228 on: October 29, 2019, 01:25:42 pm »
[...]   The normal consumer isn't going to go ape $hit and unplug their phone charger when not in use.

I'm talking normal lifestyle.  If you want to chase every watt your home consumes with passion and your willing to give up what most wouldn't, sure you can be off grid.  Is that going to be main stream in my lifetime, surely not.


It's a bit like hyper-miling:  it is lots of fun to see how much you can squeeze out of the fuel,  but your family starts to complain at some point!
 

Offline MT

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Offline orion242

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #231 on: October 30, 2019, 01:36:21 am »
Here's one off grid install that doesn't seem to take any extreme energy saving methods apart from the off grid system itself:
https://www.youtube.com/user/fliping720/videos

Interesting watch.

Watched a handful of them and I wouldn't exactly agree this guy hasn't given up anything.  Early videos he has to swap between 220v and 100v inverters if heaven forbid they need the stove, dryer, etc.

For starters, anyone sleeping next to his inverter / battery setup isn't something I would be up for.  Not against having a setup like this, just not putting my pillow next to it.  Don't put my pillow on gas burning equipment either in all fairness.

Riddle me this....

If he is gone for a week, can his wife operate this monstrosity?

I would love to see the look on the electrical inspector on new construction when he opens that door.

What's the cost on this exactly?   Panels, inverters, BMS, batteries, backup generators, BS utility fees just for service and how many hrs of labor?  And he still seems to need the grid / genys during winter and shoveling panels on a snow covered roof.

If one really wants to install something like this they also have to factor if they plan on dyeing in that home or what the resale value is.  Here in the states, that is almost certainly going to turn away buyers when flagged by the inspector.

There is not a snowballs chance in hell your selling that setup to the common consumer.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2019, 01:58:02 am by orion242 »
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #232 on: October 30, 2019, 02:14:06 am »
And on the thermal storage that NiHaoMike brought up.

Stewing on it more, I would look at radiant floors over radiators/ice storage.  Ditch the ice and just use the mass of the floor / building for storage.

Eliminates a lot of fiddly issues and maintenance.  Very common now for heat/cooling and not terrible expensive on new construction.  Coupled with a tight modern buidling, HVAC loads could be pretty low at reasonable cost.  That still requires a small forced air system to control dewpoint, but far smaller than a traditional system.  Small heatpump might cover it in even northern climates.
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #233 on: October 30, 2019, 03:41:59 am »
Watched a handful of them and I wouldn't exactly agree this guy hasn't given up anything.  Early videos he has to swap between 220v and 100v inverters if heaven forbid they need the stove, dryer, etc.
If I were designing the system, I would separate the 120V and 240V loads in order to run them from separate inverters, since a dedicated 120V or 240V inverter is apparently more efficient than a 120/240V inverter. Probably also separate the 120V loads into different groups if feasible in order to selectively do V/Hz optimization.
Quote
If he is gone for a week, can his wife operate this monstrosity?

I would love to see the look on the electrical inspector on new construction when he opens that door.

What's the cost on this exactly?   Panels, inverters, BMS, batteries, backup generators, BS utility fees just for service and how many hrs of labor?  And he still seems to need the grid / genys during winter and shoveling panels on a snow covered roof.

If one really wants to install something like this they also have to factor if they plan on dyeing in that home or what the resale value is.  Here in the states, that is almost certainly going to turn away buyers when flagged by the inspector.

There is not a snowballs chance in hell your selling that setup to the common consumer.
I'm under the impression it's largely automated now. There's also a recent install of new solar panels to reduce the need for the generator.

The equipment is easily adaptable for install in a new place and most likely he'll take it with him if he moves.
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #234 on: October 30, 2019, 03:53:53 am »
And at what cost?

Lets just talk powers of 10 for simplicity.
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #235 on: October 30, 2019, 12:51:06 pm »
Stewing on it more, I would look at radiant floors over radiators/ice storage.  Ditch the ice and just use the mass of the floor / building for storage.

You won't have temperature control. There was someone on the forum doing it, but in my opinion the upper end of his temperature range was uncomfortably warm.
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #236 on: October 30, 2019, 01:22:37 pm »
You won't have temperature control. There was someone on the forum doing it, but in my opinion the upper end of his temperature range was uncomfortably warm.

Depends on how you design it.  Would still have a small forced air unit for dewpoint control that could be used to trim things.

Could also see using a basement or garage slab as storage and pulling from that with water 2 water HP for main occupied spaces during low power times.  Could slice the cat several ways.
 

Offline MT

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #237 on: October 30, 2019, 06:58:50 pm »
Ronald McDonald Reagans library threatened to burn to ashes!


Wall Street Journals number on fires v.s home insurance,  video voice terrible, sounds like a socialist intern soyboy!
Blaming PE@G who apparently filed chapt 11 in January.
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #238 on: October 30, 2019, 07:28:32 pm »
Wave guard, external sprinkler system surely you can make your own for very little money!



Even the modest hillbilly solution would work.



Dude with underground tank.



Dude with DIY ruuf sprinklers.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2019, 07:37:54 pm by MT »
 

Offline MT

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #239 on: October 30, 2019, 07:43:14 pm »
Video of cabin saved by forest fire due to sprinkler system.







House in AU saved by DIY sprinkler system.


« Last Edit: October 30, 2019, 08:02:35 pm by MT »
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #240 on: October 30, 2019, 08:29:18 pm »
Maybe you haven't heard but CA has water problems especially Southern CA where we currently have 4 fires going.
 

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #241 on: October 30, 2019, 09:08:22 pm »
Maybe you didnt notice many of the sprinkler peoples take water from tanks they buried in the ground! That's the whole idea to limited water resources. Its called preparation.
 

Online maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #242 on: October 30, 2019, 09:18:59 pm »
Maybe you didnt notice many of the sprinkler peoples take water from tanks they buried in the ground! That's the whole idea to limited water resources. Its called preparation.

You have no idea how many people are here. We wouldn't have water for showers if the idea was even remotely popular. Stop pretending to know anything about California because you look at sensationalist news all of the time. I can't even water my lawn unless I want to risk a large fine.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2019, 09:25:15 pm by maginnovision »
 

Offline MT

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #243 on: October 30, 2019, 09:38:09 pm »
Maybe you didnt notice many of the sprinkler peoples take water from tanks they buried in the ground! That's the whole idea to limited water resources. Its called preparation.

You have no idea how many people are here. We wouldn't have water for showers if the idea was even remotely popular. Stop pretending to know anything about California because you look at sensationalist news all of the time. I can't even water my lawn unless I want to risk a large fine.

You just talk lot of BS by moving goal posts by while beeing butt hurt by pretending not even have water to drink yet you take a bath every day you hypocrite.. How gives fuck about your lawn! Geee dude get a life!
 
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Offline NiHaoMike

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