Monday, January 14, 2008

What's Wrong With California? - Thermostat Control

I used to live in California, and I know a lot of great people that live there. I know an excellent church in San Diego... if you ever happen to be there on a Sunday, be sure to check out Lighthouse Baptist Church. I love Disneyland... but there is a reason that I don't live there any more.

For several years in a row (although I didn't hear anything in the last couple of years), in the fall I'd always hear about some poor homeschool teacher who was threatened with losing their kids or something because they were homeschooling. While California is a state where it is legal to homeschool (as it is in every state), for a while there, they were harassing homeschoolers left and right. They're also the state where Across The Centuries - that oh-so-lovely Islamic-friendly textbook where you get to assume a Moslem name, pray to Allah and play jihad games - is part of the standard curriculum in many schools. And let's not forget that you have to promote homosexuality in the public school curriculum now.

But the newest news from California doesn't involve any attempts to conform the populace into homosexual Moslems... this time they want to invite the 1984 lifestyle into your living room. Specifically when it comes to temperature.

Next month, the California legislature is expected to approve a measure that would force all new homes, or homes undergoing significant remodeling, to install thermostats that could be controlled via radio frequency. The whole point is to allow the power company to change the temperature of your house based on the available power. They want to be able to control how hot or cold it is in your house.

Now I like to conserve electricity more than anyone. At least in the summer. Forget a temperature of 72 degrees... in the summer I like to keep the thermostat somewhere between 84 and 87 degrees. I just hate to see high power bills, and I don't mind the heat. In the winter though, I like to keep it around 74 during the day because I get cold easily... 70 at night.

I wonder how this radio controlled frequency device would work on cold-blooded peons like me. Maybe they'll turn my thermostat up to 90 if they are running low on power... which I guess might be okay... but then when they get power back, are they going to try to turn it back down to 75 or so? Are they going to try to freeze me out of my house? Give me a much larger power bill than I want because they turn the temperature down lower than I want? Well, they won't with me because I don't live in California, but maybe I have another heat-twin in the Golden State... will they make her suffer?

I suppose in the winter they'd be less likely to take over temperature controls because the rolling blackouts usually occur in the summer when it's hot.

Despite the fact that it won't affect me - yet... there's that whole poem of "they went after the smokers, but since I wasn't a smoker... I said nothing .... then they came after me, and there was no one left to speak up." What kind of a society do we live in where Californians will stand for this? Maybe someone has a medical problem where they need it to be a certain temperature? I know that my husband has a problem with getting too cold because it can flare up his sickle cell anemia. Or if we look at it from the bigger picture... what business is it of California's if I use my money on air conditioning or if I spend it all on Haagen-Daaz? Or beer? Or if I send it all to Mexico (wait, I guess they're okay with that last one).

I wrote just a few days ago that I believe that our country is headed for difficult economic times... very difficult ones. I wonder what will happen if/when that happens. I read the other day about a kid during the depression who was made fun of because of being dirty... mom had to choose between buying a bar of soap or a dozen eggs, and she chose to buy food. What would we as a populace do if struck in a depression now? Are they going to let people that can't afford their sewer bills any more to dig an outhouse in their backyard? Will they take children away from their parents because they can't afford soap? Of course, everybody else would be in the same boat, so the government probably wouldn't want to take away the soapless children because then they'd have to pay someone to take care of them. But who knows, our government hasn't made a lot of sense lately in a lot of areas.

But back to California. Wouldn't it be a whole lot better if California made the temperature control program voluntary instead of mandating it? You could provide incentives like giving them a slight discount on their electric rates when the system was activated. Couldn't the government just ask Californians to conserve when there was a power crunch? Maybe suggest that they turn their thermostats up to 100 or something?

I realize that rolling blackouts are a problem in California during the summer... but reducing rolling blackouts by telling them what temperature they can keep their homes at is worse than the problem itself.

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