Wednesday, January 16, 2008

California utilities want to set home temperatures with "big brother" tactics


ABC News gave Californians a feint yesterday. On Monday, ABC said that it would have a story Tuesday on plans to allow electric utilities to control the ambient temperatures inside people's homes, at least in homes heated by electricity (rather than gas). Baseboard heating is popular in California homes. This would have prevented homeowners or tenants (even in apartments) from setting temperatures for their own comfort, especially in summer where there are serious threats of brownouts and blackouts, as well as new arguments about appropriate individual behavior in the face of global warming ("personal carbon footprints").

But Tuesday night (Jan. 15, 2008) ABC World News Tonight reported that the California Utilities Commission had gotten wind of this upcoming story, and had told California utilities that such "big brother" behavior would not be allowed.

It reminds me of other problems in the cable industry, where a few customers have been cut off for excessive broadband use (when there is no actual tiered pricing for use) or for excessive customer support phone calls.

California water supply issues may get a reprieve, with the record snowfalls in the Sierras in recent days.

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