Did you get the notice in your mailbox about the upcoming installation of smart meters? Have you seen the ads from First Energy saying “the switch is on” to cleaner energy, renewable power and smarter technology? If so, you might think our electric utility is all in favor of “green energy,” but the truth is, they have no choice. Politicians in several states, including Pennsylvania, simply decided it was their duty to protect everyone from global warming by forcing utilities to reduce energy usage and to use electricity generated by wind turbines and solar panels. If you don’t like it, you’re getting it anyway, because your representatives said so.
What is Act 129?
If you go to the First Energy website, you’ll see they reference Act 129, Pennsylvania’s energy efficiency law originating as House Bill 2200. Did you know we’re already in Phase 3? You probably missed Phase 1 and 2 because the utility could satisfy the law without drawing your attention to it, but now they’re getting serious about reducing energy usage because that’s what these many phases are designed to do. In Phase 3, beginning June 2016, the utility must reduce usage by 2.6 to 4.0 percent, then also reduce peak demand by 1.8 percent which means they have to know how much electricity you’re using hour by hour, minute by minute, which is what the smart meter is for. They don’t want you to use electricity at the “wrong” time, so once they know your usage pattern, expect a gentle nudge with variable time-of-day rates to change your wasteful ways.
There’s no electricity shortage
Conserving electricity only makes sense if we’re running out of it, but electricity is something we simply generate as needed. That precisely regulated, always on electricity at your wall outlet doesn’t exist in nature, we make it, on demand, in our power plants. Our political class, however, has decided we must use less because, … global warming. They’ve also chosen wind and solar as the best electric power generating technologies so the law mandates increasing their use.
It’s funny how the wind and solar they’re forcing utilities to use are the same technologies the government subsidizes, the same technologies that fail in the marketplace because they don’t work reliably and cost far too much. They don’t produce very much electricity, either, so combined with the EPA forcing coal plants offline, without conservation, we really will run out. It’s a government created electricity shortage.
Do your state legislators really think they’re that smart?
Politicians are not physicists, no surprise there, but it doesn’t seem to bother them when voting on legislation requiring at least rudimentary knowledge of physics to evaluate properly, probably because they don’t even know what they don’t know. Combine scientific ignorance with everyday politics and we get energy policy like this that’s just plain ridiculous, … or worse.
Which of your Erie County legislators voted in favor of Act 129?
House bill 2200 / Act 129 was passed on October 8, 2008. One of the co-sponsors of this bill was Representative Pat Harkins of Erie County. Voting in favor of passage along with Harkins was John Evans, Flo Fabrizio and Curt Sonney, also of Erie County.
How do we fix this?
Turning this nonsense around will take time and a lot of effort, but there’s a change in the air (Brexit) and pointing out the arrogance and silliness of our political class is step one.
If you want to see what else our local and state officials have been up to, keep checking back, because we’ll be pointing out a lot more.