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  1. #91
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    I mean, in your first paragraph you already call it a fault of regulators. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the problem (and presumably Steely/OG's)? I don't mind privatization per se (well, I do for some sectors), but Texas hates regulations. I'd argue that the lack of winter proofing could also have been covered by regulations - the federal government did say they should do it IIRC but had no power to enforce. And presumably the power companies were happy to save money on there, and I'll bet that they're not the one who will be coughing up the money later. Because let's face it, the American idea of 'free market' means letting the public (either individuals or the government) take the risks while the companies take the benefits. Because making companies either follow regulations or making them actually cover the risks due to the lack of regulations are both seen as anti- business, or socialism, or whatever the insult of the day is.

    And that goes to the consumers as well, I bet those people who took a risky power bill to save some money were quite happy pocketing the savings until the risky part of paying this pricing model came in. And now they want to be bailed out. I do have a little more sympathy for then since they were less likely to be able to assess the risk for something like this happening, of course. Seems like you guys love lack of regulation, free bakery, capitalism, however you guys call what you have there, but only when it suits you.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  2. #92
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    Steely didn't say the power prices were because of privatization, OG implied that.
    Well in context 'oh my god stop privatizing essential infrastructure ya crazies' came close.

    This isn't because of privatisation. Privatisation of the infrastructure has nothing to do with any of this.

    Flixy - shielding these companies from competition from out of state by refusing to connect to the national federal grid, which would prevent these outages and wholesale price hikes because generation from out of state would be an order of magnitude cheaper, has little to do with regulations. They've designed their own little racket that is protected by politicians, that's not a market.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  3. #93
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    No, but it is what they sell to the public as free market.

    By the way, from what I read, the reason they're not connected to the rest of the grid is also top avoid federal regulations.

    And you don't think that for something as important as, say, power, it's in the public interest to require them (i.e. regulate) to have a certain level of preparedness? Because who do you think will pay for all the damages related to power outages because they didn't spend on preparedness? I highly doubt it's the same companies that saved the money. And wiggin literally said these price spikes are a fault of regulators.. and connecting to the rest of the grid could result in a nationwide failurr, which is why there's regulations if you want to be connected.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  4. #94
    So glad we've finally managed to disentangle the entirely unrelated phenomena of energy privatization, energy market deregulation and the failure of the Texas state government to properly regulate market they only needs regulating because it's privatized. Great spot guys! lol
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  5. #95
    Deregulation doesn't mean no regulations unless you're an anarchist.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  6. #96
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    Deregulation doesn't mean no regulations unless you're an anarchist.
    Or a (Texan) Republican?
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  7. #97
    I bet they don't have zero regulations.

    They just have the regulations they want.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  8. #98
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    So glad we've finally managed to disentangle the entirely unrelated phenomena of energy privatization, energy market deregulation and the failure of the Texas state government to properly regulate market they only needs regulating because it's privatized. Great spot guys! lol
    I think part of the problem with people going off on what you regard is unnecessary tangents is your total unwillingness to use the correct words in favor of pushing your favorite ideological buzzwords. Privatization/privatized involve taking something that was a public-owned or run sector and turning it over to the markets and private ownership. But we're talking here about something that was never public in the first place.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  9. #99
    In your shoes, I would probably have hyped that observation up a bit less. Not sure it really lives up to the lead in you gave it in the first sentence.
    You've been waiting for the truth to come find you
    Are you speaking for yourself or your pain? Do you sleep in the silence to wane the passing shame?
    You are more than what your history made you, let the ghosts of our fathers pass on.
    There's a new dawn to come when the past mistakes are gone

  10. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    I mean, in your first paragraph you already call it a fault of regulators. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the problem (and presumably Steely/OG's)? I don't mind privatization per se (well, I do for some sectors), but Texas hates regulations. I'd argue that the lack of winter proofing could also have been covered by regulations - the federal government did say they should do it IIRC but had no power to enforce. And presumably the power companies were happy to save money on there, and I'll bet that they're not the one who will be coughing up the money later. Because let's face it, the American idea of 'free market' means letting the public (either individuals or the government) take the risks while the companies take the benefits. Because making companies either follow regulations or making them actually cover the risks due to the lack of regulations are both seen as anti- business, or socialism, or whatever the insult of the day is.

    And that goes to the consumers as well, I bet those people who took a risky power bill to save some money were quite happy pocketing the savings until the risky part of paying this pricing model came in. And now they want to be bailed out. I do have a little more sympathy for then since they were less likely to be able to assess the risk for something like this happening, of course. Seems like you guys love lack of regulation, free bakery, capitalism, however you guys call what you have there, but only when it suits you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    No, but it is what they sell to the public as free market.

    By the way, from what I read, the reason they're not connected to the rest of the grid is also top avoid federal regulations.

    And you don't think that for something as important as, say, power, it's in the public interest to require them (i.e. regulate) to have a certain level of preparedness? Because who do you think will pay for all the damages related to power outages because they didn't spend on preparedness? I highly doubt it's the same companies that saved the money. And wiggin literally said these price spikes are a fault of regulators.. and connecting to the rest of the grid could result in a nationwide failurr, which is why there's regulations if you want to be connected.
    There are some theoretical advantages to be had by having exposure to the wholesale spot market, not just the obvious one of having lower power prices in times of abundance (sometimes negative in Texas!). Large corporations with big energy expenditures can tailor their consumption on a minute to minute basis in response to said fluctuations, which can provide broader stability to power supplies for everyone else and keep really high price spikes from occurring. The problem isn't that they had a spot market, it's that little guy consumers were allowed to be exposed to it. Most other power markets in the US are in private hands and are relatively deregulated but do not allow this kind of insanely risky exposure. I don't blame the consumers because I'm betting that they don't understand the magnitude of the possible spikes.

    I will agree that deregulation and policy change sometimes takes risks from large entities like corporations or the government and places them on people - for example the retirement system in the US has been remade in the last 30-40 years to put a lot more market risk (and, in some circumstances, longevity risk) on individuals and taken away said risks from corporations. Yet this isn't to say that corporations managed the risk well - most corporate pension plans were and are underfunded (not to mention government pension plans!). In theory an individual might be better incentivized to manage their individual risk through e.g. more diligent saving or purchasing guaranteed streams of income in retirement rather than relying on markets (e.g. annuities). While it's clear that our current system doesn't do a great job at getting this result for most people, it's not clear that previous systems were all that much better.

    Similarly here, you're absolutely right that in theory a government run utility could anticipate these risks and appropriately plan for them. The reality, however, is that rarely do governments do a very good job at planning for these risks either - or if someone has a plan, it is rarely funded or implemented correctly. Texas style regulatory regimes certainly contributed to this mess, but I think it's far from clear that public ownership of utilities would necessarily do better than a relatively well-regulated privately owned utility. In fact, with deregulation that broke up private monopolies on delivery (though rarely generation), consumers have generally done better.

    I would also disagree that the failures of the existing incentives and regulatory regime to prepare for this event have caused costs that are only being borne by their customers. We've already seen Brazos file for bankruptcy and I wouldn't be surprised to see other players fold as well. I have no doubt that the cost to residential and industrial consumers of electricity has been very, very high (not to mention the loss of life), but companies that don't have good risk management practices generally get screwed over as well.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  11. #101
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    In your shoes, I would probably have hyped that observation up a bit less. Not sure it really lives up to the lead in you gave it in the first sentence.
    In my shoes, you would have killed yourself for being a despicable moderate and class-traitor. I don't think my shoes fit you very comfortably. And you seem to have an incredibly low bar for "hype" but I suppose you DO need to keep it low, don't you?
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  12. #102
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    There are some theoretical advantages to be had by having exposure to the wholesale spot market, not just the obvious one of having lower power prices in times of abundance (sometimes negative in Texas!). Large corporations with big energy expenditures can tailor their consumption on a minute to minute basis in response to said fluctuations, which can provide broader stability to power supplies for everyone else and keep really high price spikes from occurring. The problem isn't that they had a spot market, it's that little guy consumers were allowed to be exposed to it. Most other power markets in the US are in private hands and are relatively deregulated but do not allow this kind of insanely risky exposure. I don't blame the consumers because I'm betting that they don't understand the magnitude of the possible spikes.

    I will agree that deregulation and policy change sometimes takes risks from large entities like corporations or the government and places them on people - for example the retirement system in the US has been remade in the last 30-40 years to put a lot more market risk (and, in some circumstances, longevity risk) on individuals and taken away said risks from corporations. Yet this isn't to say that corporations managed the risk well - most corporate pension plans were and are underfunded (not to mention government pension plans!). In theory an individual might be better incentivized to manage their individual risk through e.g. more diligent saving or purchasing guaranteed streams of income in retirement rather than relying on markets (e.g. annuities). While it's clear that our current system doesn't do a great job at getting this result for most people, it's not clear that previous systems were all that much better.

    Similarly here, you're absolutely right that in theory a government run utility could anticipate these risks and appropriately plan for them. The reality, however, is that rarely do governments do a very good job at planning for these risks either - or if someone has a plan, it is rarely funded or implemented correctly. Texas style regulatory regimes certainly contributed to this mess, but I think it's far from clear that public ownership of utilities would necessarily do better than a relatively well-regulated privately owned utility. In fact, with deregulation that broke up private monopolies on delivery (though rarely generation), consumers have generally done better.

    I would also disagree that the failures of the existing incentives and regulatory regime to prepare for this event have caused costs that are only being borne by their customers. We've already seen Brazos file for bankruptcy and I wouldn't be surprised to see other players fold as well. I have no doubt that the cost to residential and industrial consumers of electricity has been very, very high (not to mention the loss of life), but companies that don't have good risk management practices generally get screwed over as well.
    I'm not sure how it works here but I know some energy companies allow consumers to get more on-demand prices too for the same reason of load balancing, it is one reason smart metres are being introduced here.

    The idea for the little guy too is similar, that eg you could plug your electric car into the grid and set it to only charge while the price is low. That way if you leave it overnight you're consuming it when its cheapest.

    That's sensible but no idea if there's a price cap or similar? Should be some sort of protection.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  13. #103
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brazos-...kruptcy-texas/

    Prior to the freeze, Brazos was "a financially robust, stable company with a clear vision for its future and a strong "A" to "A+" credit rating," higher than most electric coops, it said in a press release Monday.
    The came a $2.1 billion bill

    Brazos said it received "excessively high invoices" from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas for collateral and for purported cost of electric service. The invoices, totaling $2.1 billion, were required to be paid within days. That's because as a cooperative, Brazos' costs are passed through to its members and retail consumers served by its members.

    Brazos decided that "it cannot and will not foist this catastrophic financial event on its members and those consumers," the co-op said.

    Not freezing to death 2021's twist on American medical bankruptcy.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  14. #104
    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    I'm not sure how it works here but I know some energy companies allow consumers to get more on-demand prices too for the same reason of load balancing, it is one reason smart metres are being introduced here.

    The idea for the little guy too is similar, that eg you could plug your electric car into the grid and set it to only charge while the price is low. That way if you leave it overnight you're consuming it when its cheapest.

    That's sensible but no idea if there's a price cap or similar? Should be some sort of protection.
    There are three distinct things going on here:

    The first is retail customers having automatic stabilizers on their consumption based on load on the grid, in exchange for cheaper prices (e.g. smart themostats and the like). These are in response to prices but generally don't pass prices directly on to consumers.

    The second is having some variable pricing built into retail contracts. These typically can fluctuate on a month to month basis but not a day to day (or minute to minute) basis - that would expose them to way too much volatility and not give them much of an opportunity or choice about balancing their load.

    The third are rules about price gouging that set maximum limits on how high someone's marginal consumption should cost before the company has to either eat the cost or reduce service.

    All are reasonable ways to help manage load without screwing over the little guy.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  15. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    There are three distinct things going on here:

    The first is retail customers having automatic stabilizers on their consumption based on load on the grid, in exchange for cheaper prices (e.g. smart themostats and the like). These are in response to prices but generally don't pass prices directly on to consumers.

    The second is having some variable pricing built into retail contracts. These typically can fluctuate on a month to month basis but not a day to day (or minute to minute) basis - that would expose them to way too much volatility and not give them much of an opportunity or choice about balancing their load.

    The third are rules about price gouging that set maximum limits on how high someone's marginal consumption should cost before the company has to either eat the cost or reduce service.

    All are reasonable ways to help manage load without screwing over the little guy.
    I'm not with these guys but they've been advertising a lot recently: https://octopus.energy/agile/

    The prices can adjust half-hourly. The price is capped though at 35p/kWh (which is a lot, but still its the cap).
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  16. #106
    I haven't seen that kind of granularity in the markets I live in (though obviously some places like Texas go further). As long as there's a cap, there's no real harm, though expecting the individual consumer to be able to manage the API to get their smart devices to optimize load may be a bit optimistic.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  17. #107
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    I haven't seen that kind of granularity in the markets I live in (though obviously some places like Texas go further). As long as there's a cap, there's no real harm, though expecting the individual consumer to be able to manage the API to get their smart devices to optimize load may be a bit optimistic.
    I'd imagine imagine going forwards more things will be computerised to handle this.

    Its long been possible to delay a washing machine to work at night when it will be cheaper. Stuff like electric car charging could be massive in years to come and I expect it will be very plug and play, just plug it in and let the computers do what they do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    ℬeing upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  18. #108
    Agreed, I like the idea in principle, I just think it's currently premature for all but the most sophisticated of consumers. Things like smart thermostats are likely to yield better results.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  19. #109
    We use smart plugs to handle device charging during "off" hours. We aren't charged base off of usage times, but usage thresholds. I do it mainly to prolong the life of the device batteries.

    But the concept is getting more and more common and cheaper. Plugs were ~$5 for me.

    AC thermostat has a timer built in, so thankfully we have no need to move up to a pricey nest like device.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

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