A few months back I wrote about the inherent fallacy in the green energy movement. I stated that energy rates would go up as we the consumers cut our usage. One commenter on my post said I was dead wrong and had no proof that would happen. Well we are about to have an “I Told You So” moment here at Are You Kidding Me. Back in January a marketing group did a survey and found that more of us are going green. We report buying more CFL’s and energy-efficient appliances. But in a weird twist the same people who are reporting that they buy this stuff to save money are seeing no savings. You see the electric bills are going up.
Our latest national survey had an intriguing finding: More Americans are doing the right things — buying energy-efficient appliances, installing insulation, replacing their light bulbs with CFLs and adjusting their thermostats. Yet their utility bills are still on the rise.
Interesting that an environmental marketing group would say such a thing. Because it is true. One of the first flaws in this federally mandated environmental movement was a forced program to give rebates to customers who buy green. Here is a bit of a Wall Street Journal piece from March.
When it set up its bulb program in 2006, PG&E Corp. thought its customers would buy 53 million compact fluorescent bulbs by 2008. It allotted $92 million for rebates, the most of any utility in the state. Researchers hired by the California Public Utilities Commission concluded earlier this year that fewer bulbs were sold, fewer were screwed in, and they saved less energy than PG&E anticipated.
92 million set aside for rebates? Where does a public utility get its money? Let’s go back to our marketing firm and what Suzanne Shelton of the environmental Leader had to say about the savings or more importantly the lack thereof.
That means most Americans—despite their reported efforts to conserve energy and control costs—are getting a jolt every time they open their utility bills. How could this be possible? Four reasons:
1. Utility companies are, in fact, raising rates, which counteracts the savings gained by consumer efforts.
2. With all of our smart phones, HDTVs, laptops, and computers, we’re plugging in more devices than ever before, and consumers don’t realize how much extra energy they’re using.
3. The Snackwell’s Effect (“They’re low fat; I can eat ALL of them!): It’s easy to believe that because we’ve put CFLs in everywhere, we can leave our lights on all the time, or because we just installed a high-efficiency water heater, we can take extra-long, hot showers.
4. The biggest reason of all: perception doesn’t equal reality. The Department of Energy estimates that only 13% of the sockets in American have been filled with CFL’s, which is a far cry from the self-reported 77 percent. Consumers give themselves more credit than they actually deserve for their energy conservation efforts.
The first one must be the most obvious as Ms Shelton put it first. With that in mind please check out the facts here. http://www.competecoalition.com/resources/recent-examples-rate-increases-vertically-integrated-states
So here is the question, If more people are using less energy why do the utilities need a rate hike? Because they are using our money to bribe us to buy a fake savings.
Now on to number 2 and the complete counter intuitive argument that using more energy would raise rates. Yes if each household was using more energy we would need to produce more but wouldn’t the increases be countered by the reduction of use in efficient lights and appliances. Dumb argument.
Now we go on to blame the consumer with numbers 3 and 4. As a matter of fact this os one of the oldest tactics. It is your fault. The Snackwell effect? It would be incredible to belief that this effect would even exist in terms of showering. The time a person spends in a shower depends on three things. The amount of dirt on their body before the shower (gardening being a big dirty task), the mood of the person taking the shower (water flow as a cathartic tool) and the amount of tasks that need to be accomplished (women shave their legs and so on). Number 3 should be looked upon with great skepticism. Let’s do a poll on shower heads
Now here is my favorite, number 4. The government says we are liars . Yup the feds report only 13% of sockets have CFL’s. Have you ever met a number from the feds that was accurate? Certainly not. So number 4 is just plain ridiculous and easily ignored.
So how does Ms Shelton wrap up her article?
Which side you fall on is mostly likely determined by whether or not you’re a true do-it-yourselfer, or whether you think you have time to do these things. (Many a do-it-yourselfer is too busy to do it themselves.) Conserving energy either takes time or money. Both are real barriers… and motivating consumers to get past those barriers requires making real promises that can be delivered on: take control vs. save money.
With advise on how to shape the debate. The save money argument is dead and the environmental core knows it. The followers do not as most of them are too young to pay utility bills but the argument will now shift from saving money to taking control of your environment. Be ready for it.
The full article