Author Topic: Article: Households not turning on their heaters 'even though I'm cold'.  (Read 6617 times)

mustachepungoeshere

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http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/electricity-prices-tribunal-hears-half-of-nsw-households-wont-turn-on-heaters-despite-cold-20150806-gisqow.html

Yes, it's sad that people on tight budgets have no options but to leave off their heat. Yes, it will be good if this consumer group can put pressure on electricity providers to lower costs.

But trying to evoke sympathy because half of the state won't turn on their heater even if their cold? I count myself among them. Put on more clothes and get a blanket.

MoonShadow

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I've discovered that a heated mattress pad is a wonderful investment.

MMMaybe

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It is a problem if they are elderly though. Its harder for them to withstand extremes of temperature.

I think the electricity companies are shooting themselves in the foot with these very high prices. It just reduces consumption because people can't afford their service. I sincerely hope that solar technology/power becomes more affordable and mainstream so that people can afford to be comfortable.

Maybe I am just a bit bitter on this subject because I live in the Philippines right now, which is also extremely expensive for electricity. We pay $300-400 a month for a 2 bed apartment with gas cooking. We are extremely sparing with electricity use, except for the airconditioning, which really has to run at night (at 26 celsius, on a timer!) to allow us to sleep.

Often, I sit at home very hot and uncomfortable, rather than putting the aircon during the day. If I do turn it on, its at 28 celsius, which is hardly spoiling myself. I think its terrible when people cant afford to live their modest lives in comfort.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2015, 12:06:22 AM by MMMaybe »

music lover

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I think the electricity companies are shooting themselves in the foot with these very high prices. It just reduces consumption because people can't afford their service. I sincerely hope that solar technology/power becomes more affordable and mainstream so that people can afford to be comfortable.

The problem is the massive subsidies for solar and wind have caused energy rates in many places to skyrocket, which means that people with low incomes often can't afford to heat their homes. People often forget that the subsidies to support alternative energy don't come from the magic money tree, they come from rate increases.

It's often been said that wind turbines don't run on wind...they run on subsidies.

EricP

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I think the electricity companies are shooting themselves in the foot with these very high prices. It just reduces consumption because people can't afford their service. I sincerely hope that solar technology/power becomes more affordable and mainstream so that people can afford to be comfortable.

The problem is the massive subsidies for solar and wind have caused energy rates in many places to skyrocket, which means that people with low incomes often can't afford to heat their homes. People often forget that the subsidies to support alternative energy don't come from the magic money tree, they come from rate increases.

It's often been said that wind turbines don't run on wind...they run on subsidies.

You could also subsidize them with taxes.  Jacking rates on fossil fuel power isn't the only way to subsidize green energy.

music lover

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I think the electricity companies are shooting themselves in the foot with these very high prices. It just reduces consumption because people can't afford their service. I sincerely hope that solar technology/power becomes more affordable and mainstream so that people can afford to be comfortable.

The problem is the massive subsidies for solar and wind have caused energy rates in many places to skyrocket, which means that people with low incomes often can't afford to heat their homes. People often forget that the subsidies to support alternative energy don't come from the magic money tree, they come from rate increases.

It's often been said that wind turbines don't run on wind...they run on subsidies.

You could also subsidize them with taxes.  Jacking rates on fossil fuel power isn't the only way to subsidize green energy.

Either way, the subsidies still have to be paid from somewhere. At least when it's on the monthly electric or gas bill, people are reminded of it on a regular basis. If it's hidden in general income tax it becomes easy to forget the true cost.

EricP

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I think the electricity companies are shooting themselves in the foot with these very high prices. It just reduces consumption because people can't afford their service. I sincerely hope that solar technology/power becomes more affordable and mainstream so that people can afford to be comfortable.

The problem is the massive subsidies for solar and wind have caused energy rates in many places to skyrocket, which means that people with low incomes often can't afford to heat their homes. People often forget that the subsidies to support alternative energy don't come from the magic money tree, they come from rate increases.

It's often been said that wind turbines don't run on wind...they run on subsidies.

You could also subsidize them with taxes.  Jacking rates on fossil fuel power isn't the only way to subsidize green energy.

Either way, the subsidies still have to be paid from somewhere. At least when it's on the monthly electric or gas bill, people are reminded of it on a regular basis. If it's hidden in general income tax it becomes easy to forget the true cost.

I'd rather it be hidden in the general taxes that way climate change deniers don't get to look at their bill every month and bitch about the "damn liberals" or write articles like this one to get the subsidy bills repealed.  Freezing elderly people sells pretty well, while increasing the debt by $XB/yr is going to tug at fewer heart strings.

zephyr911

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Either way, the subsidies still have to be paid from somewhere. At least when it's on the monthly electric or gas bill, people are reminded of it on a regular basis. If it's hidden in general income tax it becomes easy to forget the true cost.

Kind of how the cost of the status quo is hidden in public health costs and, you know, the future?

We still have very cheap power compared to most of the world.

MoonShadow

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Either way, the subsidies still have to be paid from somewhere. At least when it's on the monthly electric or gas bill, people are reminded of it on a regular basis. If it's hidden in general income tax it becomes easy to forget the true cost.

Kind of how the cost of the status quo is hidden in public health costs and, you know, the future?

We still have very cheap power compared to most of the world.

Alabama, yes.  The article was about Australia, I believe.

zephyr911

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Alabama, yes.  The article was about Australia, I believe.
Are Australia's rates up because of renewables?

MoonShadow

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Alabama, yes.  The article was about Australia, I believe.
Are Australia's rates up because of renewables?

Not exactly.  It's much more complex than that.  Australia's power rates have been high compared to Europe and North America for over a decade.  Part of it is a carbon tax, but that didn't start till rates were rising for years already.  I suspect that its a bit of a monopoly lock issue.  In both Europe and the US, power grids cross borders, and power is 'traded' (within regulations that vary) across those borders.  I think that this helps keep rates competitive in these areas.  For example, Ohio has a law that requires that Ohio based power plants have to contribute a small percentage of their wholesale charges towards renewable power installations, which basicly means that they engage in contracts to 'claim' the power that residential solar systems can produce.  However, the major power companies can also buy a percentage of power from out of state, and they tend to buy quite a bit from Kentucky coal plants sited just across the Ohio River.  But this isn't possible with Australia, so the retail customers end up taking the full hit from the government regulations generally.

music lover

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I think the electricity companies are shooting themselves in the foot with these very high prices. It just reduces consumption because people can't afford their service. I sincerely hope that solar technology/power becomes more affordable and mainstream so that people can afford to be comfortable.

The problem is the massive subsidies for solar and wind have caused energy rates in many places to skyrocket, which means that people with low incomes often can't afford to heat their homes. People often forget that the subsidies to support alternative energy don't come from the magic money tree, they come from rate increases.

It's often been said that wind turbines don't run on wind...they run on subsidies.

You could also subsidize them with taxes.  Jacking rates on fossil fuel power isn't the only way to subsidize green energy.

Either way, the subsidies still have to be paid from somewhere. At least when it's on the monthly electric or gas bill, people are reminded of it on a regular basis. If it's hidden in general income tax it becomes easy to forget the true cost.

I'd rather it be hidden in the general taxes that way climate change deniers don't get to look at their bill every month and bitch about the "damn liberals" or write articles like this one to get the subsidy bills repealed.  Freezing elderly people sells pretty well, while increasing the debt by $XB/yr is going to tug at fewer heart strings.

Actually, most people don't deny that climate changes, they simply disagree as to the level of mankind's impact.

The fact is that people are suffering from energy poverty, and a good percentage of that is because of subsidies. But, I can see why some people want the subsidies hidden...it's a lot harder to claim that solar and windmills pay for themselves when the evidence that they don't is in plain sight. Green isn't free and no one should pretend that it is. No one argues when the cost of a coal plant is made public...alternative energy should not be treated any differently. People have a right to know that their electric bill went up from $200 to $350 to help pay for windmills or solar panels...or for a new coal plant.

taekvideo

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Actually, most people don't deny that climate changes, they simply disagree as to the level of mankind's impact.

The fact is that people are suffering from energy poverty, and a good percentage of that is because of subsidies. But, I can see why some people want the subsidies hidden...it's a lot harder to claim that solar and windmills pay for themselves when the evidence that they don't is in plain sight. Green isn't free and no one should pretend that it is. No one argues when the cost of a coal plant is made public...alternative energy should not be treated any differently. People have a right to know that their electric bill went up from $200 to $350 to help pay for windmills or solar panels...or for a new coal plant.

But the cost isn't public.
The vast majority of the cost is in negative externalities inflicted upon 3rd parties, not in the sticker price.
If coal plants had to pay for those negative externalities that they cause, renewable sources would easily be a fraction of the price of coal... so they're much better for everyone when we switch to them.

Also I don't know about Australia but here in the states there are programs for people who can't afford to heat their home in the winter.

zephyr911

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That, and solar (unsubsidized) has already achieved grid parity in some places and is rapidly approaching that point for most locales.

Here's an example from two years ago.

Related: the entire utility sector had its credit downgraded due to concerns over failure to competed with distributed renewables (primarily solar) as costs fall.

EricP

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Actually, most people don't deny that climate changes, they simply disagree as to the level of mankind's impact.

The fact is that people are suffering from energy poverty, and a good percentage of that is because of subsidies. But, I can see why some people want the subsidies hidden...it's a lot harder to claim that solar and windmills pay for themselves when the evidence that they don't is in plain sight. Green isn't free and no one should pretend that it is. No one argues when the cost of a coal plant is made public...alternative energy should not be treated any differently. People have a right to know that their electric bill went up from $200 to $350 to help pay for windmills or solar panels...or for a new coal plant.

I don't see how this is really an argument against moving the cost of subsidies to taxes.  It's still readily available to be seen what the cost is (in a budget), it's just a raise of $100 in taxes isn't going to be having articles about freezing people written about it.  Think about the strength of the narrative "Green Energy raising prices and causing elderly to freeze" in comparison to "taxes will be raised to support green energy, most of these taxes are on middle and upper class who can afford it."

And yes, there is a significant amount of voters who vote against efforts to decrease carbon emissions.  Whether they think it is or isn't man-made I couldn't really care, these are the people I am talking about when I say "climate change deniers."

music lover

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I don't see how this is really an argument against moving the cost of subsidies to taxes.  It's still readily available to be seen what the cost is (in a budget), it's just a raise of $100 in taxes isn't going to be having articles about freezing people written about it.  Think about the strength of the narrative "Green Energy raising prices and causing elderly to freeze" in comparison to "taxes will be raised to support green energy, most of these taxes are on middle and upper class who can afford it."

I don't care about "the strength of the narrative" or whatever spin you or others come up with. I care about reality, and the truth is that many people can't afford their energy bills due to increased subsidies that support alternative energy. Hiding the facts doesn't change the reality.

Syonyk

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And in any case, heating people directly (radiant heat, electric blankets, sweaters...) is a whole lot more efficient than heating a huge house & structure to, oh yeah, also heat people.

There's a reason central heating didn't show up until the "burn ALL the fossil fuels!" era - it was simply too expensive.  Radiant heating (stoves, mostly) that warms people is radically more efficient.

mohawkbrah

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never have the heating on. too cold? more cloths for you! wrap up like an eskimo and you're good to go

taekvideo

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I don't see how this is really an argument against moving the cost of subsidies to taxes.  It's still readily available to be seen what the cost is (in a budget), it's just a raise of $100 in taxes isn't going to be having articles about freezing people written about it.  Think about the strength of the narrative "Green Energy raising prices and causing elderly to freeze" in comparison to "taxes will be raised to support green energy, most of these taxes are on middle and upper class who can afford it."

I don't care about "the strength of the narrative" or whatever spin you or others come up with. I care about reality, and the truth is that many people can't afford their energy bills due to increased subsidies that support alternative energy. Hiding the facts doesn't change the reality.

If it were funded by general taxes then their energy bills wouldn't be higher than without the subsidies, so it would "change the reality" for those who can't afford to heat their homes now due to the subsidies.
In the states energy subsidies usually come from taxes and energy prices actually go down as a result.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2015, 02:33:07 PM by taekvideo »

MustardTiger

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When I lived in Thailand I had a 4 bedroom condo with some friends with a large open common area.  When never turned on the A/C there except for parties and it was still ~700/month for the electric.  If we wanted to stay home and be comfortable all day it would likely have been 2k-2500 usd a month lol.

sunshine

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http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/electricity-prices-tribunal-hears-half-of-nsw-households-wont-turn-on-heaters-despite-cold-20150806-gisqow.html

Yes, it's sad that people on tight budgets have no options but to leave off their heat. Yes, it will be good if this consumer group can put pressure on electricity providers to lower costs.

But trying to evoke sympathy because half of the state won't turn on their heater even if their cold? I count myself among them. Put on more clothes and get a blanket.

I guess it depends on where one lives. Here people freeze to death literally if they don't run heat. Last winter there was a local family that died due to trying to warm a room with a bbq grill when it was 35 below zero. The minimum order for fuel is 150 gallons. They were broke and the county fuel assistance was out of funds for the needy.