Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bright Ideas

Years ago, when I lived on a tropical island just north of the great continent of Australia, I would run into the lone or pair of Australian tourists enjoying the moderate Muslim culture in which I lived daily.  I think it was at an ex-patriot dinner party where the length of the evening found many had slid into more than moderate drinking and comfortably into politically incorrect talks, that an Australian fellow on his fourth (or fifth) bottle of beer said he would never want to live in America.  What a bunch of wussies we were.  Rules and more rules.  "My God you cannot spit on the sidewalk without some Jack telling you to hold your spit." 

Of course, most of us who live in the U.S. do not see that kind of  petty rule enforcement and we are probably the first to take a somewhat dim view of police officers wasting their time on such.  Unlike Singapore we CAN chew gum in public.

Still many Americans think we are a land of too many regulations which put a stranglehold on business and growth.  This may be true, but I have been unable to get a small business owner to give me an actual example of some ridiculous/unnecessary rule that brought his business to a standstill or cost an unreasonable fee as a follow-up to his statement. They are there, but we cannot protest against them if we do not publicize them.

BUT I can think of rules that I want kept in place that protect citizens from highway robbery.  For instance we now have more homeowners using solar and wind power to reduce their consumption of energy.  This costs them money up front in setup, but over time the effort reduces the size of the bill from the power company.  Every dollar saved by a homeowner reduces revenue for power companies.  The power company may attempt to tack on fees if you install a renewable system, and they may try to charge you for sending power back to them by a process fee.  Currently we have regulations that do not allow utilities to raise the cost of energy just because they are selling us less and they want to improve their profits!  I like this rule because heating our homes is a necessity, unlike other things we may buy. 

Other consumers are buying more efficient appliances that reduce their consumption of power from the grid. Replacing light bulbs with high efficiency LEDS means you use up to 80% less electricity. Smart thermostats cut back on use of heat or air-conditioning when no one is at home.  All of these are cutting into the bottom line of your utility company.  I can guarantee you if we did not have consumer protection regulations, you would be using less energy from utility companies and paying just as much if not more for that.

This is just one of the many, many regulations I support.


  1. I would love to go solar, but at this point in life we may not be in the house long enough to see the benefits. I am happy to see the number of people in my area who have chosen this route.

  2. What a great post! Yes, we don't want regulations, cause we think w know how best to live, and do what we do. All regulations got to be so because of problems inherent to the type of business, or products someone was selling. We can see the problem only after someone gets sick or maimed.

  3. A certain amount of regulation is needed. Perhaps, though, if power companies had to compete for your business instead of having a monopoly, this would be one area where they would compete -- "we don't charge you an extra fee if you put in an energy efficient system!" could make regulating that unneeded. It's something to wonder about.

    What i wonder is that we are trying to use less and less energy as much as possible and our bill never goes down.

  4. I have often wondered why I see more solar panels in Vermont than I do in the Sunshine State. I certainly suspect it has something to do with regulations that favor power companies over consumers, but I could be wrong.

  5. Regulating capitalism is a necessity!
    Funny how so many complain about regulations, but then want to regulate how we lead our private lives.
    Good post.

  6. It's easy to criticize our government but there are many things it does right, such as the consumer protection you describe. Happy Thanksgiving.

  7. The electric company is a monopoly, so it's gotta be regulated. Do you have solar panels? I don't. But a few of my friends have put them in, and it's beginning to sound as if it's becoming financially doable, esp. if (as in NY) there are some extra tax breaks involved. We're gonna look into it when it's time to replace the roof in a few years.

  8. "an ex-patriot dinner party" >> "expatriate dinner party" ?

  9. Good observation. Most people like the rules that they are in favour of.

  10. You've been in some interesting places!
    We put in solar ten years ago and are so glad we did.

  11. Dear you....I hope you had a lovely thanksgiving day.
    Here we were told to save water. We saved a lot of water. Now that we have saved water, the utility says they are losing money and have raised the rates. I am bitter about this.


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