turn it off

This is absurd.




$137M Ameren rate increase approved


By Tim Landis
Business Editor
Posted Dec. 11, 2014 @ 9:05 am
Updated at 9:23 AM

State utility regulators have approved a $137 million rate increase for power-grid upgrades on the Ameren Illinois system.

The 17.4 percent increase in electricity distribution rates, announced Wednesday by the Illinois Commerce Commission, take effect Jan. 1. Commissioners also approved a $245 million increase for system upgrades on the Commonwealth Edison system, serving Chicago and northern Illinois.

Ameren serves 1.2 million electric and 806,000 natural-gas customers in central and southern Illinois.

Commission chairman Doug Scott said in a statement the rates were set under the 2011 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, a state law that allowed Ameren and ComEd to recover annual costs for installation of smart grid technology such as high-tech meters, real-time pricing of electricity, more control options for consumers and more accurate energy data.

Scott said commissioners tried to balance the need for network improvements with long-term benefits to ratepayers.


Go there and read. More next week.


I am really shocked by this article. The idea that residential energy consumption could change so dramatically  in only 16 years is so amazing. Its like when we shifted to coal or later when we shifted to natural gas and then electricity. Only nobody is really talking about it.



March 7, 2013

Heating and cooling no longer majority of U.S. home energy use

For decades, space heating and cooling (space conditioning) accounted for more than half of all residential energy consumption. Estimates from the most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), collected in 2010 and 2011 and released in 2011 and 2012, show that 48% of energy consumption in U.S. homes in 2009 was for heating and cooling, down from 58% in 1993. Factors underpinning this trend are increased adoption of more efficient equipment, better insulation, more efficient windows, and population shifts to warmer climates. The shift in how energy is consumed in homes has occurred even as per-household energy consumption has steadily declined.

While energy used for space conditioning has declined, energy consumption for appliances and electronics continues to rise. Although some appliances that are subject to federal efficiency standards, such as refrigerators and clothes washers, have become more efficient, the increased number of devices that consume energy in homes has offset these efficiency gains. Non-weather related energy use for appliances, electronics, water heating, and lighting now accounts for 52% of total consumption, up from 42% in 1993. The majority of devices in the fastest growing category of residential end-uses are powered by electricity, increasing the total amount of primary energy needed to meet residential electricity demand. As described in yesterday’s Today in Energy, increased electricity use has a disproportionate effect on the amount of total primary energy required to support site-level energy use.

Other notable trends in household energy consumption include:

  • The average U.S. household consumed 11,320 kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity in 2009, of which the largest portion (7,526 kWh) was for appliances, electronics, lighting, and miscellaneous uses.
  • On average, residents living in homes constructed in the 1980s consumed 77 million Btu of total energy at home. By comparison, those living in newer homes, built from 2000 to 2009, consumed 92 million Btu per household, which is 19% more.
  • Space heating accounted for 63% of natural gas consumed in U.S. homes in 2009; the remaining 37% was for water heating, cooking, and miscellaneous uses.


Go there and read. More next week.


I am fresh out of thoughts on this subject. It all boils down to a decision that ever American has to make. Am I going to take power from the grid or not? If I am when and how? My answer is I would prefer to not get my power from the grid and if I must then as little as possible.


Summer Energy Tips

Summer and the high temperatures it brings can cause increased electrical loads. Keep cool this summer and save energy costs by following these simple tips around the house.

Summer cooling tips

  • Turn off unnecessary lights. Much of the energy from a light bulb is heat.
  • Shut doors to unused rooms.
  • Make sure furniture or drapes do not block your registers for supply and return air.
  • Wear thin, loosely fitting clothes and you may not have to keep room temperatures as cool.
  • Keep the sun out of your house. Close blinds, shades or curtains during the hottest part of the day.
  • On mild days, open windows for natural ventilation and turn the air conditioning off.
  • Use portable or ceiling fans. Even mild air movement of 1-mph can make you feel 3-4° cooler.
  • Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows.


Go there and read. More next week.


Those crazy Brits. Always planning their regulations in advance. Here they are rolling out smart meters left and right and no one has made a peep about regulations. I am betting that that is going to hurt in the long run.


Government to restrict sales and marketing around smart meters

Energy efficiency news – by GreenWise staff
5th April 2012
Companies are to face restrictions around how they sell and market their products and around the data they can collect about their customers when mass rollout of smart meters gets underway.

Under new guidelines proposed today by the Energy and Climate Change Minister Charles Hendry, all sales will be banned during the installation of smart meters and installers will need the permission of customers before they visit if they want to market any products to households and businesses. There will be restrictions on data energy companies and other suppliers can hold about their customers. And, in a bid to help consumers save energy and cut their bills, smart meter installers will have to provide energy efficiency advice and all households will be offered an in-home display allowing them to see what energy is being used and how much it is costing.

The Government wants 30 million homes and small businesses to have smart meters installed by 2019. Smart meters give consumers access to accurate information and mean they no longer have to rely on estimated bills. But the cost of the rollout, set to start in 2014, has been estimated at £11.7 billion and consumer groups are concerned the programme could leave consumers short-changed and their privacy undermined.

“Tough guidelines”


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


I can’t post these photos here because there are 67 of them and they are linked. So I will just post the text. I might add that if you skip down to photo 40 or so you will see the real damage to the power plant itself. Most of the pictures are of the temporary village that houses the workers, the drive to the power plant and and the emergency control room. This is probably because this is where the photographer spent the bulk of his time and was bored. They are real cool for the geeks like me. Thank you Denver Post.


Inside Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Station

Posted Nov 14, 2011

Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder, along with other reporters, was allowed inside the Fukushima nuclear power station to witness the devastation, for the first time, caused by Japan’s March 12th earthquake and tsunami.
Eight months later, the plant remains a shambles. Mangled trucks, flipped over by the power of the wave, still clutter its access roads. Rubble remains strewn where it fell. Pools of water cover parts of the once immaculate campus.
Tens of thousands of the plant’s former neighbors may never be able to go home. And just as Hiroshima and Nagasaki become icons of the horrors of nuclear weapons, Fukushima has become the new rallying cry of the global anti-nuclear energy movement.
Yet this picture is one of progress, Japanese officials say. It has taken this long to make the plant stable enough to allow Saturday’s tour, which included representatives of the Japanese and international media — including The Associated Press. Officials expect to complete an early but important step toward cleaning up the accident by the end of the year. (AP)


Go there and see them. More next week.


Every once in awhile I post about a company. But the same disclaimer always goes with such posts. I like my HVAC guy but if I posted about him here he would get the same disclaimer. I am not familiar with this company. Please check with the Better Business Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, the Attorney General of the state or State’s Attorney whatever is the case, and finally ask for and check out references. Without further hullabaloo:


Home Energy Improvement Program

If you’re interested in making your home more energy-efficient, look no further than the Home Energy Improvement Program. Through this Progress Energy program, you can:

  • Receive rebates for improving your home’s energy efficiency.
  • Get a list of specially trained contractors you can use to complete your home improvements.
  • Learn more about the financial and other benefits of having an energy-efficient home.


View a short video about the HVAC audit for residential customers.

Energy efficiency: An investment that pays you back

Energy efficiency is one of the few investments that can help you gain a return on your energy bill and on the value of your home. View the program details tab to learn more about home improvement rebates offered by Progress Energy:

  • Air duct testing – Up to $60
  • Air duct repair and replacement – Up to $120
  • Attic insulation upgrade and attic sealing – $375
  • Energy-efficient window installation – Up to $450
  • Geothermal heat pump replacement – $300
  • HVAC Audit – $100
  • High-efficiency heat pump replacement – $300
  • High-efficiency central AC replacement – $300


More tomorrow.



Pip pip.


  • You are here (UK)




If you are looking for ways to stop wasting energy and money you’ll find lots of ideas here. The Energy Saving Trust is a non-profit organisation that provides free and impartial advice on how to save energy.

The Renewable Heat Premium Payment has been announced as part of the Renewable Heat Incentive – find out more and apply now >

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More tomorrow.


Questions have been raised about the safety of Nuclear Power Plants around the world since the incident in Japan. I will get to Japan in a couple of days but first this just out from the AP. Turns out the US has some worries of its own. They have just been covered up.


AP IMPACT: US Nuke Regulators Weaken Safety Rules

by The Associated Press

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. June 20, 2011, 03:38 am ET

Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation’s aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.

Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril, according to records and interviews.

The result? Rising fears that these accommodations by the NRC are significantly undermining safety — and inching the reactors closer to an accident that could harm the public and jeopardize the future of nuclear power in the United States.

Examples abound. When valves leaked, more leakage was allowed — up to 20 times the original limit. When rampant cracking caused radioactive leaks from steam generator tubing, an easier test of the tubes was devised, so plants could meet standards.

Failed cables. Busted seals. Broken nozzles, clogged screens, cracked concrete, dented containers, corroded metals and rusty underground pipes — all of these and thousands of other problems linked to aging were uncovered in the AP’s yearlong investigation. And all of them could escalate dangers in the event of an accident.

Yet despite the many problems linked to aging, not a single official body in government or industry has studied the overall frequency and potential impact on safety of such breakdowns in recent years, even as the NRC has extended the licenses of dozens of reactors.

Industry and government officials defend their actions, and insist that no chances are being taken. But the AP investigation found that with billions of dollars and 19 percent of America’s electricity supply at stake, a cozy relationship prevails between the industry and its regulator, the NRC.

Records show a recurring pattern: Reactor parts or systems fall out of compliance with the rules. Studies are conducted by the industry and government, and all agree that existing standards are “unnecessarily conservative.”

Regulations are loosened, and the reactors are back in compliance.

“That’s what they say for everything, whether that’s the case or not,” said Demetrios Basdekas, an engineer retired from the NRC. “Every time you turn around, they say `We have all this built-in conservatism.'”


dot dot dot


Unprompted, several nuclear engineers and former regulators used nearly identical terminology to describe how industry and government research has frequently justified loosening safety standards to keep aging reactors within operating rules. They call the approach “sharpening the pencil” or “pencil engineering” — the fudging of calculations and assumptions to yield answers that enable plants with deteriorating conditions to remain in compliance.

“Many utilities are doing that sort of thing,” said engineer Richard T. Lahey Jr., who used to design nuclear safety systems for General Electric Co., which makes boiling water reactors. “I think we need nuclear power, but we can’t compromise on safety. I think the vulnerability is on these older plants.”

Added Paul Blanch, an engineer who left the industry over safety issues but later returned to work on solving them: “It’s a philosophical position that (federal regulators) take that’s driven by the industry and by the economics: What do we need to do to let those plants continue to operate? They somehow sharpen their pencil to either modify their interpretation of the regulations, or they modify their assumptions in the risk assessment.”


Much more tomorrow


Flash! This just in from Website mavin Carol Kneedler who owns and operates www.o3internet.com. As a plug please call her if you have any website work you need done.


Green GPS calculates most fuel-efficient route

by Kim Gudeman, CSL Green GPS technology May 3, 2011 – 3:14pm

A new software interface reduces energy consumption in transportation systems.

Green GPS, developed by computer scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, works like general GPS navigation, except that in addition to calculating the shortest and fastest routes, it also projects the most fuel-efficient route.

“Currently at least 30 percent of total energy in the United States is spent on cars,” said Principal Investigator Tarek Abdelzaher, associate professor of computer science and researcher in the Coordinated Science Laboratory. “By saving even 5 percent of that cost, we can save the same amount of total energy spent on the nation’s entire information technology infrastructure.”

The technology runs on cell phones, which links to a car’s computer using an inexpensive, off-the-shelf wireless adapter that works in all cars manufactured since 1996. The car’s onboard diagnostics system uploads information about engine performance and fuel efficiency to the phone, which uses the data to compute the greenest route.

A grant through the National Science Foundation to Abdelzaher and Robin Kravets, also a member of Illinois’ computer science faculty, is funding a large-scale deployment of the service via the University of Illinois’ car fleet. The Office of Naval Research is funding research related to the technology’s networking component. Researchers — including Dr. Omid Fatemieh, graduate student Hossein Ahmadi and research associate Hongyan Wang — also are collaborating with IBM through its “Smarter Planet” initiative.

Pete Varney, who oversees some of the approximately 500 vehicles used by the Urbana-Champaign campus, hopes research will help maximize fuel efficiency for the fleet. The units will be installed on up to 200 vehicles, including full-size vans that could be carrying 1,000 pounds or more in tools and equipment.

“The less money we can spend on fuel, the more money we can direct toward maintaining other things on campus,” said Varney, director of Transportation & Automotive Services.

In addition, researchers are developing a social network of drivers who can share information about their cars. In the future,


For more see the rest of the article. More Tomorrow.


I have many problems with this legislation. For example, if a Power Company wanted to build a powerplant would this be considered an infrastructure improvement subject to 8 1/2 month review after construction had started? It’s the “after construction has started” part that is most bothersome. To the argument about 44 other states having similar statutes, as your mother said, “Would you jump off a bridge because you saw a friend do it”? Amend that to, “Would you jump off a bridge if you saw a whole bunch of people do it”? We usually call those folks lemmings.


Electricity legislation sparks debate

by Kate Springer
April 14, 2011

Everyone can agree on one thing: Illinois needs to update its energy grid. But the Energy Modernization Act, also known as House Bill 14, would allow  $2.6 billion worth of upgrades. It sounds like a good thing but the proposal is meeting resounding opposition from critics.

The AARP, Citizens Utility Board and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan have dubbed HB 14 a “Trojan horse” or ComEd’s “automatic rate-hike bill” in an effort to fight the legislation.

During the past three months, Commonwealth Edison Co. and Ameren Corp., a downstate utility, have been lobbying legislators to pass HB14, which would allow them to invest in “smart meters” and infrastructure upgrades over the next 10 years in return for an alternative way to set rates.

In the current system, ComEd must spend about 11 months in hearings to convince the Illinois Commerce Commission that it needs a rate increase based on wholesale electricity prices.

Most recently, ComEd petitioned the ICC for a $396-million rate hike. Ten months after its request on April 13, an ICC judge recommended a $166-million increase, or a hike of 3 percent, on the average monthly bill. That was only half of ComEd’s request. The official adjustment will be decided by the end of May.

It’s a familiar pattern and one that ComEd would prefer to avoid.


She is a pretty good writer. And she has 2 blogs:


More tomorrow.


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