Last summer, electric bills increased 40% for some New
Yorkers and even tripled for some Californians. Yet,
California and New York were hotbeds for electric utility efficiency programs. Why didnt the programs reduce electric
costs? San Diego ratepayers were hardest
hit. Their supplier, Sempra Energy, made 34% greater profit compared to same quarter in
the previous year. Does electric deregulation mean we give more money
to electric suppliers than under regulated electric generation?
In both states, utilities are asking for more power generating plants. In New York,
for example, power plant developers are suggesting a total increase in generating capacity
that is six to eight times the predicted needs. Given
the current interest in global warming, shouldnt we call for using less electricity?
More recently, European truckers, farmers and taxi drivers blocked roads to
refineries in protest of high taxes on fuel. In
Britain, this resulted in the draining almost all of their 12,500 gasoline filling
stations. Fuel prices are increasing also in
the US, where fuel oil and natural gas prices are projected to be about 30% higher this
Gasoline prices have climbed 50% in two years. The reserves
for natural gas and fuel oil are so low that we are now dipping into our Strategic
Petroleum Reserves. Heating fuel supplies
could run short if we have a cold winter.
In the midst of all this, shouldnt we call for
using less fuel?
The large integrated oil companies in America have almost
doubled their net income this year. While
the London Chamber of Commerce complained that the protests were costing Britain more than
$350 million per day, two of Britains major oil suppliers, raised their prices on
gasoline and diesel fuel right after the protests over high costs. Airlines in the US have
increased the price of their tickets greater than the increases in energy costs justify. OPEC agreed to increase production by 800,000
barrels per day, but industry experts reported that they were already exceeding their
official quota by 670,000. Last year,
American companies bought 725,000 barrels per day from Iraq. In total, however, US refineries are exporting
more oil than we import. Shouldnt we call for justice?
Shouldnt we admit that citizens of industrialized countries have such an addiction,
and then to suggest the subsequent steps involved in kicking the habit. A good place to start is inside our buildings,
and the Supers Technical Association, through its DOE Rebuild
America program will help.
[The facts quoted in this article are based on the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor and Utility Business magazine.