Patterico's Pontifications


Thermostat Madness Hits Talk Radio

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:12 am

Yesterday, KFI’s John and Ken were urging listeners to oppose California’s plan to seize control of your thermostat.

And I got countless Google hits with the words “California” and “thermostat.”

I think word is getting out.

UPDATE: I’m told Rush Limbaugh mentioned it. Well, that would explain the 523 kajillion Google hits. (Okay, more like dozens, or maybe even hundreds. You get the idea. There were a lot.)

UPDATE x2: John and Ken are talking about it again, right now. They are giving numbers for members of the California Energy Commission. Also, they are explicitly crediting the N.C. Times — i.e. Bradley J. Fikes’s article. Apparently Channel 6 in San Diego picked up on it. It’s a direct line from Somsel to me to Bradley to what I’m listening to right now. Cool.

Right now I’m tenting my fingers and saying, in my best Monty Burns voice: Excellent. All according to the plan.

Apparently the NYT is working on an article as well.

40 Responses to “Thermostat Madness Hits Talk Radio”

  1. Patterico…how would this type of law compare to those restricting smoking in public places? Isn’t this simply just the government being big brother, as in the smoking/private property laws being passed today?

    I’m totally opposed to anti-smoking laws such as those I mentioned, and the “thermostat” laws would be just as bad to me.

    reff (bff229)

  2. They have this sort of control in China. In the northern part of the country they crank up the thermostats in October I think. The residents have little or no control over the temperature. When I was last there, it wasn’t uncommon to see windows open in February because the apartments were so overheated.

    The flip side was the southern part. People down there can freeze because of a cold snap and they can’t turn on the heat. That’s the type of control they want. The term for this is “Totalitarian”

    My wife likes being able to turn the temperature up and down as she needs it.

    Evilned (e14b75)

  3. KFI?
    Dude, it hit Limbaugh this week. Limbaugh IS talk radio.

    When Rush says it, the word is out.

    RJ (8f8726)

  4. I’m working on a followup story to my followup of Joe Somsel’s original story on PCTs. It focuses on their role in controlling other appliances.

    Anyone with more information can email me at bfikes (at) nctimes (dot) com or just leave a comment here. I’m especially looking for people with technical knowledge, such as Somsel, or those in a position to know more details that are not yet revealed.

    Let’s get some open-source journalism going on this one!

    Bradley J. Fikes (03720c)

  5. I wish talk radio would discuss the Obama Yes, We Can being the Cesar Chavez Si, Se Puede chant. It’s a pretty obvious callout to open borders people, don’t you think?

    Patricia (f56a97)

  6. reff #1,

    Only an idiot of a government would try to ration a necessity. Heat and air-conditioning in your home are in no way comparable to smoking. It’s more like rationing bread.

    nk (dda711)

  7. It ain’t about what it’s about; it’s about control-freaks getting their fix. And with each fix you let them get, their tolerance rises and they need a bigger dose.

    ras (fc54bb)

  8. I realize that the issue here is for personal homes.

    That said, I’ve worked in government office spaces for 30 years and we have pretty tight controls on the thermostats for summer and winter. Sometimes it is a pain and either too hot or too cold, depending on the time of year.

    But the intent is to use tax dollars wisely and save energy. All in all it works pretty well.

    Two questions for the people in California affected by this:
    (1) What is your suggestion to solve the rolling blackout problem and how do you propose avoiding blackouts in the interim before a solution is put in place?

    (2)How do you propose paying for the solution?

    voice of reason (10af7e)

  9. NK – “Only an idiot of a government would try to ration a necessity. Heat and air-conditioning in your home are in no way comparable to smoking. It’s more like rationing bread.”

    NK, in CA at least, power must be rationed because at peak demand in the summer there has not been enough to go around; there are limits on supply. So we have experienced “rolling blackouts” in some recent years to prevent everybody losing power.

    Rolling blackouts are just one form of rationing. Controlling thermostats is another form of rationing that proponents would say is more equitable. As Patterico said in his first post, price would be another way to ration the limited supply, i.e., charge more for power during periods of peak demand, not just for the amount you use as we do now. If you do that, however, you would need to make sure the system had a safety net for the old and infirm, since they are most at risk from the heat and often could not pay the higher prices.

    For me, all this craziness is a temporary solution. We need more generation capacity in CA, but it’s very difficult to get any built. For example, just this week, near where I live, people in Ladera Ranch, a community with a median income of $84,205, sued San Diego Gas & Electric to prevent the building of a peaking plant at a substation near the town. Ladera Ranch can get quite warm and all the homes are two story, so A/C is a must, but a peaking plant that would serve them, NIMBY! Ridiculous.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  10. Jay,

    NK sees that Power is/has been rationed. He was suggesting that likening it to smoking was a poor analogy, and that it was better compared to rationing bread.

    Scott Jacobs (c0db90)

  11. Scott, OK; I didn’t read NK’s post that way, but electricity certainly doesn’t compare to smoking. I agree it’s a necessity, but the problem is either how to ration is equitably, or better, get out of the position where we need to ration it. Unfortunately, there’s not an immediate way to do that.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  12. BTW, just talked with a reporter for the New York Times who said her article is to come out Friday.

    The proposition that the choice is coercive conservation (PCTs) or else blackouts is a false one. As JayHub and others have pointed out, the REAL issue is adequate energy supply or government rationing.

    We in California have four options:

    1) coercive rationing like PCTs
    2) massive imports of Russian natural gas
    3) build new nukes
    4) devolve to a 3rd World economy

    Which one did YOU vote for?

    Joseph Somsel (86528e)

  13. I vote for 3) build new nukes.

    Story from the BBC today: “A new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK has been given formal backing by the government. Business Secretary John Hutton told MPs they would give a “safe and affordable” way of securing the UK’s future energy supplies while fighting climate change. He said any plants would be built at or near existing reactors by private firms and said he hoped the first one would be completed “well before 2020”.

    Japan and Europe get 30% of their power from nukes, France gets 80%. We get 20%. The last US nuke power plant went on line in 1996. Wouldn’t you love to tel the Saudi’s to stuff their oil where the sun don’t shine.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  14. BTW, don’t sneer at us stupid wimps in California just because you’re in New Jersey or Tennessee. You are next.

    PCTs are planned nationwide. The energy bill that took away your choice of lightbulbs included major planning for “demand response” measures as part of a “Smart Grid” effort.

    I though “Smart Grid” was better transmission lines and SCADA on substations but NOOOOOOO! It has become a code word for “coercive conservation”

    Guess that’s cheaper and more gratifying to the powers-that-be.

    Joseph Somsel (bea526)

  15. The real problem is that California has no native Republican Party: the California Republican Party is, as its acronym implies, worthless.

    The state legislature is utterly dominated not just by Democrats but by very liberal Democrats — and Democrats, as a rule (and particularly here) are allergic to generating electricity.

    If they were not, then the governator could issue a state state of emergency, and the legislature could wave much of the red tape to build a couple integral-fast or pebble-bed nukes, or gas-turbine generators, or somesuch; and they could properly deregulate the system, allowing both the price charged to the utilities and also the price charged to the consumer to move freely with the market.

    But the lege has no intention of doing so; to them, “controlling the thermostat” — both literally and metaphorically — is the end, not the means: They do nothing and create no new capacity because they want to control the thermostat, not the other way ’round.

    This will not be resolved until the Cal GOP is dissolved and replaced by a new Republican Party not controlled by the same, old oligarchs who have mismanaged it, humiliated it, and traduced the state’s Republican voters until there are hardly any left anymore.

    California’s energy woes are 50% the fault of the Democrats; but we expect no more from them. They are also 50% the fault of the feckless Republican leadership, which cares more about maintaining its current fiefdoms and being big fish in the tiny (and shrinking!) pond than it does about growing the pond, even if that means the current party bosses get elbowed aside.

    The other 50% is the fault of NIMBY (and BANANA) voters, of course. And a solid 25%-30% is the fault of the national RNC for not going to war against the CRP.


    Dafydd ab Hugh (db2ea4)

  16. the California Republican Party is, as its acronym implies, worthless.

    What do you have against carp?


    Scott Jacobs (c0db90)

  17. Hmm, I’ll rephrase my comment #6. Only an idiot electorate would tolerate a government which rations a necessity.

    nk (dda711)

  18. Joseph,

    I vote with the French (about 70% electricity nuke-generated) and the late Andrei Sakharov ( for #3.

    ‘course, we both know how far any specific nuke-plant-site would proceed before blocked by the NIMBYs and the BANANAs (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything).

    Mitch (890cbf)

  19. NK, the immediate problem, as others have noted is that the CA Legislature is essentially locked in.

    According to the Center for Governmental Studies, “California has among the least competitive congressional and state legislative electoral districts in the nation. In 2006, only 7 of the 153 legislative and congressional races were considered competitive. Experts cite redistricting … as a major reason for the lack of electoral competition in legislative … races in California.” After the 2000 Census, the Dems and Reps collaborated to set this up. Since then various reform proposals have failed, even initiatives. Appalling.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  20. The best example of how nutty the Democratic dominated California legislature is, was the difficulties that Gray Davis, their last Democratic governor, had getting coherent budgets and legislation through the legislature.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  21. JayHub #19,

    Like I said in my Comment #17.

    nk (dda711)

  22. The Third World-ization of CA continues apace:

    1. State-controlled economy–check.
    2. Tribal culture(s)–check.
    3. Institutionalized poverty–check.

    I wish someone did a ranking of states and the degree of government control they exercise over their citizens. We could figure out better where to go when It hits the fan.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  23. Scratch a liberal, find a fascist.

    N. O'Brain (9056e2)

  24. #13 I would love to tell the Saudis to stuff it, but nearly all electricity generated in the USA is from locally sourced coal, hydro or nuclear. So unless the USA converts to electric cars charged by nuclear plants, the Saudis will be laughing all the way to the bank.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  25. My father had a utility-controlled thermostat in his house on LI that was purely voluntary. In exchange for allowing LILCO to manage it, they gave him a break on pricing. He was a happy guy. But again, it was voluntary – not coerced by NY State.

    Horatio (55069c)

  26. Horatio, #25…
    We already have that system here in CA (at least with SoCalEdison). It’s just the nose of the camel.

    The crypto-fascists that rule in Sac want absolute control. They want to mandate #1, so that we will end up with #4.

    And, the death of the GOP in CA can be traced in some significant measure to the net out-migration that this state has occasioned since the early 90’s. The tax-producers have been steadily leaving, to be replaced by the tax-consumers.

    Eventually, we’ll have the swells living in their gate-guarded enclaves (the homes of the pols natch’), and then there will be the mass of great unwashed who have to be guided in their pitiful, everyday lives by our “wonderful leader”s.

    And, thusly, Paradise was lost.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  27. RJ, #3…
    FYI, Rush is on KFI at 9am, John & Ken at 3pm; plus, I think their audience demographics are pretty different also.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  28. I love it. This site is described as “corners of the Internet.” LOL — literally.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  29. The fact that similar radio-controlled technologies have been used on a voluntary basis in irrigation systems on farm fields and golf courses and in limited programs for buildings on Long Island is seldom mentioned in Internet postings that make liberal use of references of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” and “Big Brother,” the omnipresent voice of Orwell’s police state.

    Whoever wrote the piece seems to have missed the point entirely.

    VOLUNTARY is just fine. MANDATED is not.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  30. Absolutely right, Scott. Mandatory is the dirty word. If this were purely optional, nobody would be worried.

    But at least the issue is out there. And with the NYT story, however flawed, awareness will grow exponentially.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  31. Awarness? Perhaps.

    Understanding? I rather doubt it. Lets be honest here, the reader base of the NYT is not unlike the reader base for the LAT – Unlikely to notice the distinction.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  32. Im wishing they would cut off all that electricity being sent to the capital in SACRAMENTO so we woildnt have to put up with those politicians

    krazy kagu (1ced21)

  33. I wonder how long the blackouts will become when the governator stops allowing electricity to flow into CA from coal fired plants?

    GAWD would I ever love to own a big dam right now! Wholesale prices would top a buck a KWH.

    But the reality is that CA does indeed use one hella lot of CFGE, there is really no choice. Oh as a side note, IPP here in UT was just granted permission to expand that facility by a third as well. MOST of the current 1300+ MW generated by that plant flows to CA today. I’d bet the new capacity will flow there as well.

    CARB, which is full of green skin, demanded oxygenates be added to CA fuel, MTBE was their choice, then later by years, they were up in arms because THEIR choice product to reduce exhaust emissions was in the drinking water. Who did they blame? Jet skies and two stroke motors! Even though they could not explain how the water wells of Malibu got infected with MTBE since it’s a bit small for any of the mentioned watercraft. MTBE has now been banned in CA and many other places across the nation.

    At any rate, anybody proposing these intrusive measures are totally foolish and should be unemployed ASAP!

    TC (1cf350)


    krazy kagu (614414)

  35. Just as the ecophytes have effectively shut down our ability to leverage domestic energy resources, they now seek to intrude ever further into the private lives of citizens from coast to coast with their socialist ideology. Now we have the committee for temperature regulation to join the thought police, the food police, and the speech police. When did we let all this insanity take over our formerly free country?

    The saddest thing of all is that the great victory over socialism won during the Reagan years is being given back one freedom at a time, right here on our own soil, and with hardly a whimper. The men who died saving freedom in WW2 are seeing their sacrifice given away to those would would have government run by fiat and totalitarianism.

    RIP USA, we hardly knew ye…

    David W (1eb0e1)

  36. Let me see, hmmmm, the politicians of either side have done absolutely nothing in thirty plus years to “improve or provide” better means of providing utilities. Nothing. First because, the agencies involved are more interested in the money they get and can spend; two because the tinfoil hatted leftist loons in CA would rather become third world than address the problems facing us and third, what is equitable? For whom? To whom? If you don’t take care of your automobile, ever, except to put gas in and it stops running, whose fault is that? I can’t build nuclear plants, cut trees for fire prevention, know anything about my child’s medical condition over age of 12, have a say in anything in state because I am on the other side. All I get to do is pay through the nose for everybody else except my family!! Equitable? What a joke in this state!

    Sue (1e6349)

  37. Just as the ecophytes have effectively shut down our ability to leverage domestic energy resources…

    The Sierra Club and friends recently filed suit to have the polar bear declared a threatened species, which would halt all development (oil, gas, etc.) in habitat that might affect them.

    I agree we are doomed. We have some modicum of control over politicians, but none over bureaucrats or judges.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  38. BTW, I believe our wonderful legislature in Sacramento has already passed a bill forbidding the importation of new power from coal or oil fired power generators.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  39. This is what it has come to, because hippies in the ’70’s and ’80’s protested at the site of every new proposed nuke plant, stoked by sensational stories about Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Never mind that TMI was nowhere near as bad as reported, or that Chernobyl was built to incredibly poor standards compared to Western nuke plants…hey! When was the last time a French nuke melted down?

    I feel for my conservative, freedom loving friends in CA. The hippies in your state have blocked new power plants (of any kind, not just nukes) every chance they could get.

    There was a story two years ago here in Texas that there might need to be rolling blackouts because of summer consumption. The result? The legislature approved construction of more power plants.

    See…now that makes sense.

    otcconan (0bb609)

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