Keeping the Lights On?

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For those who have not been paying close attention, Southern California Edison has been changing out the mechanical meters they have used for years…..for digital.

We had a feeling that after the installation process was complete, electricity rates were going to move up smartly. Calling our very professional Southern California Edison Service Representative, she assured us that “rates will remain the same”. That was in early June. Yesterday, it was revealed that rates in fact will be going up to pay for the $1.6 Billion dollar investment in over 5 million homes and small businesses under 50,000 sq.ft. So just about everyone will have the new, improved: “Electric Monitoring Devices”! They also, will be paying for that technology! Just how much does each EMD cost to buy and install? Hard to get those facts.

In our conversation with our SCE Customer Service Representative, we mentioned in passing that Pacific Gas and Electric in San Diego County is fighting a serious Class Action suit for “over-charging” their customers, after the installation of the new EMD’s. PG&E also, monitors the natural gas usage as well – and the complaints on those readings have also become a prime factor in the Class Action lawsuit. The SCE Rep said, she was aware of that and mentioned that she expected no such action here in SCE country.

We couldn’t help but ask: “What about those great guys and ladies that read the old meters?” – They, are being laid-off or re-assigned. The monitoring can now be done “remotely”, from the main Power Grid at SCE. The ubiquitous “Meter People” have been relegated to that of a turn of century “Chimney Sweep”- a sad tale of the past. The few employees that they will keep will no doubt be checking on the “big businesses and users” that receive a reduced bulk rate. The reality is, that when SCE or PG&E go to the Public Utilities Commission the next time, to plead their case for Electricity Rate Hikes…maybe they will explain, if the current customers are paying for the new EMD’s and they have saved untold labor dollars – “Why do you need another increase?”

Philosophically, “The Smartest Guys in the Room”, the story of Enron does not need to be repeated in even a minicule sense. Market Rates for Electricity is an unsustainable concept. The poor, the retired and new families can’t afford those triple digit monthly electrical rates. The PUC is supposed to be there to protect us from egregious attacks on consumers by the Power Companies, Oil Companies and Bureaucrats. Sadly, they have not been doing a “bang-up” job of following their mission statement. Just one question: What would Thomas Alva Edision do?

Hey, one thing is for sure: Edison is a very responsible provider of Electrical Power to California citizens. Thank you SCE for doing a wonderful job of keeping the lights on….for over 100 years! We certainly aren’t ready to return to the days of oil lamps and candles to do our reading by. We do want you to make a solid living for the people you employ. We do want you, to make a fair profit from your investment in infrastructure and expanding new technology.

However, whoever might become Governor of California next year, better be prepared to keep the price of electricity low and affordable, in order to attract new businesses and jobs to the state. SCE, you and PG&E will need to become team members in this endeavor. Executive Compensation and payouts to stock holders may have to be pared back for a few years, until business and jobs come back to the Golden State! The Legislature also has a hand in adding needless Regulations which may increase electrical rates,and they need to take a more Conservative Approach on Emission Regulations – which otherwise can, by unintended consequence, add sizeable costs to providing Power to the People!

About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.