Call me a flunky for British Columbia's power corporation if you want, but I do not consider the news that Hydro's rates are going up as a negative. BC is reported to have the lowest household energy prices in North America. Credit W.A.C. ("Wacky") Bennett, BC's famous premier of 20 years, who moved to build the infrastructure during his term of government that supplies that affordable power today.
Can anyone remember the last time BC built a (really big) dam? Aboriginal land claims and environmental concerns make them nearly impossible to consider, and the costs of concrete and steel make them difficult to afford. BC is now a net importer of energy, which means that percentage of energy we pay for at market rates.
Those 50-year old dams? Just getting a little tired. Time to rebuild, repair or replace them, and it's you and me that must pay.
Then there is the politics. BC NDP Leader Carole James was on TV last night cursing Premier Gordon Campbell again. She stated that Hydro's increases were a money grab, "a tax," she called them. We're paying for Campbell's "mistakes."
With quotes like these, Carole James comes off like a fool. It's as though somebody winds her up and spits out the same rhetoric each time. No nuance at all, just kick the BC Liberals for the lack of infrastructure development after announcing billions in transportation plans. The irony shouldn't escape us.
Most of us use too much energy – period. Beside what we pay at the gas pump, where prices are updated practically on the hour, do we have any idea the cost of energy?
Devices like P3's Kill A Watt meter will let you know better how much power you consume
We've all been told the message about changing light bulbs for a decade. Message delivered, I suppose. I haven't bought anything but compact fluorescent in years (the mercury poisoning these new bulbs cause is a HUGE concern, which I'll save for another post), but I still see houses in the neighbourhood that leave incandescent bulbs on all night.
Computers are ubiquitous appliances, and they consume LOTS of power. The local Services Canada office around the corner leaves all their computers on all night, with monitors blazing. That's over half the day where power is being used for nothing. I blame computer manufacturers for not making low power "sleep" modes mandatory during idling periods, and Microsoft for making computer hibernation confusing to the point of uselessness. But a memo from Minister Monte Solberg would be enough: "Dear Staff, turn your bloody computers off at night. Yours, Monte."
I have no idea how much power my new fat ass high def TV uses. That PVR underneath spins its hard drive 24/7. I try to turn it off, but when I record it stays on. There is no visible power button on the front of the device, the cable company support tech advised me to leave it on.
I blame computer manufacturers for not making low power "sleep" modes mandatory during idling periods, and Microsoft for making computer hibernation confusing to the point of uselessness. But a memo from Minister Monte Solberg would be enough: "Dear Staff, turn your bloody computers off at night. Yours, Monte."
Seems like every phone or household gadget has a charger: cordless phone, cell phone, computer speakers, laptop computer, videogame machine, cordless drills and other tools, flashlights, video cameras, external hard drives, ALL drawing power ALL the time unless I don't want them to work.
Why does everything need to have a clock in it? My stove, my microwave, a DVD recorder all need to tell me the time. Keeping them all accurate is a part time job.
What the rate increases for energy will do is make us all think about the true costs of everything we plug into the wall, and how much energy waste is costing us.
So to all of you who bitch about your power rates going up, and all you uninspired political hacks who haven't got a clue how to show leadership on green principles, wakey wakey, rise and flippin' shine.