Alt Left: Why California Is Having Rolling Blackouts

People are yelling and screaming and hollering for various people’s heads because we are going through some rolling blackouts here in the state. Our electricity is run by PG&E, a private corporation that is a “regulated monopoly.” But as is usually the case with this bullshit, the regulators are completely in bed with the corporation doesn’t get regulated at all.

This is not a bug in capitalism. It is actually a feature! If you have capitalist economy, this is what you get: regulators who refuse to regulate industry. I’m not sure of the solution, but in Europe for some reason, regulators actually regulate, fine and threaten corporations with shutdown all the time. Like all cowards, corporations typically buckle when you get in their face and actually threaten them. I would like to ask the capitalist fanboys how they would deal with this problem. You can’t, can you? Didn’t think so.

The were many fires here a couple of years ago, a number of the worst of which were indeed caused by PG&E wires. Not through any particular fault of their own except that they had not been upgrading it enough which once again is a feature, not a bug, of any capitalist corporation. They always lag on upgrades and keeping up their equipment. Every single time. From utilities to airlines, how many times have we seen this. Maintaining equipment cuts into profits, so corporations typically start skimping.

Anyway many fires ensued with deaths, loss of many structures including homes, etc. PG&E was barraged by accusations and threats. They got their asses sued off by everyone and their second cousin. The result was they went bankrupt and had to be bailed out. After that humbling experience, PG&E has decided that this is not going to happen again. Sometimes you have to punch a man in the face to get him to see the light, and the corporate equivalent of a punch in the face also works wonders. Anyway, PG&E has vowed that no more fires are going to be blamed on them.

The result, in part, has been new guidelines during very hot weather with certain other weather conditions.

Hence the rolling blackouts. Why rolling blackouts? For safety reasons. They are trying to prevent their lines from being starting costly brush and forest fires. When heat, humidity, and other weather conditions reach a certain level, PG&E can no longer pump the same level of power through the lines as before because the weather has already heated up the lines too much. If they keep shooting the normal amount of power through the lines, fires will start. So they have to push less power through. Less power = rolling blackouts.

The solution is to come up with new material for power lines that can withstand more stress so PG&E can push more power through very hot wires without starting fires. But that technology may not exist yet.

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