Comments on: Lights Out on Deregulation Blog, news, books Wed, 08 Feb 2017 10:59:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Danielle Sat, 30 Jun 2007 13:30:35 +0000 Mr. Kucinich,
I have just finished watching your appearance on David Letterman and am in the process of writing a post highlighting your life and career. I am doing my part in spreading your message of peace as the only catalyst for security. I did not like the attention that was placed on your beautiful wife Elizabeth, however.
But, I must say that any country would be served completely by one who knows love, shares love, and experiences love.

You have my vote and I will do what is in my capacity to spread winds of change. I’ve heard that there is a movement in America, a movement without a leader or a focus.
I say that the movement does have a leader and his name is Dennis J. Kucinich.

Wishing health, balance and joy to you and yours.


By: Ontario Hydro One Mon, 11 Jul 2005 12:32:47 +0000 Ontario’s Energy Minister on May 30, 2005 said his government is persuing privatized power for the province.

You can read that from the Ontario Hydro Electricity page and there are 600 more items on the Ontario Electricity Privatization news articles page.

By: George Mamulashvili Tue, 11 May 2004 09:42:55 +0000 April 05,2004 — The information on construction of a huge solar tower of 1000 m in Australia under use of the project of company SBP already for a long time passes in a network, however probably concrete ways of construction is not yet planned. I want to take your attention to that fact, that creation is artificial rotating air weight in a tower will allow to reduce twice almost its height and five times diameter of a solar collector that is to finish a solar factory till the sizes accepted today in construction. My calculations which in due time 1994-1996 were submitted both in SBP, and in IMechE, BMFT and NASA, was give the physical parities determined between difference of temperatures on an input and an output of a tower and a ratio of tower’s diameter and a solar collector at which rising inside a tower on hyperbolic spiral fluids warm air weights create a steady whirlwind such as a tornado. For example it is possible with sufficient confidence to tell the following, that at difference of temperatures of 20 degrees C and a global sunlight 220 W/sqm, taking into account the relation of tower’s diameter in an average part to diameter of a collector 0,05, it is possible to receive capacity roughly in 100 MW power at height of a tower of 580 meters. Therefore for the decision of a question on construction next Solar Chimney, in my opinion, at first it is necessary to finish researches of a vortical energy source and new physical processes arising in it at scale rotation of air weights and then to start final designing and construction of one of the most powerful known sources on the ground of non-polluting energy. With pleasure I’m ready to take part in development of the international project. My site and the address of e-mail

By: Anonymous Mon, 12 Apr 2004 14:40:05 +0000 That buchan guy’s a jackass.

By: Privatization of Ontario Hydro Mon, 26 Jan 2004 20:15:47 +0000 I wouldn’t count privatization out yet.

You can’t trust McGuinty and his Liberals.

By: Ontario Hydro Mon, 22 Dec 2003 02:58:17 +0000 It will be interesting to see what happens with Ontario Hydro.

That link is to a page that is kept up to date on what appears to be a daily basis on energy issues on a tenant advocacy site in Ontario, Canada.

By: Philip Sterling Fri, 10 Oct 2003 21:44:10 +0000 Dear Professor Lessig:

I fully appreciate and concur with your article, sir.
I am an electrical engineering consultant, with many years of hands on practical experience in the mission critical power field. I have recently been developing and testing systems for residential utility independence, using dual fuel standby generators (natural gas, backed up by propane) and offline automatic transfer switchs. The controls are PC based and have capability of working in concert with solar energy systems as automatic standby and/or making a logical decision run/stop by monitoring battery status and/or utility power to provde independent self generation by natural gas. If that all fails, the system rolls over to a propane tank for emergencies.
Problems: Utility interconnection rules, Local Government Engineering codes, Fire codes, Air Polution Control Districts. They are different everywhere and all are red tape revenue generating businesses that dont have that much experience with distributed power.
In the final analysis, the Utility Companies seem to be able to raise the price of NG and or Power any time they go before the PUC.
The problem we have in this courntry is the near and sometimes criminal corporate greed. especially when their market share is threatened. Just look at the Enron scandal.

In order to push the pendulum in the other direction, people need cost effective alternatives. We are standing by and allowing developers to devour the land at such an exponential rate that the infrastructure is overloading. Too many generating stations operating in parallel. One goes down, ups the load on the rest and when conditions are right, domino effect disaster.
Interesting observation: During fuel crisis, the Iraq war, east coast power failure, the price of gasoline in California jumps 50 cents at the gaspumps. Seems if they are loosing on one coast, make it up on the other. Just a game, business as usual.
Too many eggs in one basket and how do you fix it?
The power grid can still be in master sync and phase, just split up the load and run “Isolated Redundant” Bus optimizaton and shed generators according to demand. This also saves fuel. Otherwise, the next big cascading power failure is only a matter of time.
I hope to further develop working systems to provide the private residence and small business user with all alternatives and options for power, water storage and communications independent of all utilities.
We have the technology, it just needs to be integrated in a unique way.

Phil Sterling

By: eridani Fri, 29 Aug 2003 06:35:15 +0000 Hey Dennis! Pay attention!

Columbus – The head of a company vying to sell voting machines in Ohio told Republicans in a recent fund-raising letter that he is “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.”

The Aug. 14 letter from Walden O’Dell, chief executive of Diebold Inc. – who has become active in the re-election effort of President Bush – prompted Democrats this week to question the propriety of allowing O’Dell’s company to calculate votes in the 2004 presidential election.

When asked to comment on allegations by Bev Harris that the Diebold software may have been designed to facilitate fraud, Rubin described the claim as “ludicrous. “Rubin could dismiss the allegation of deliberately fraudulent design in Diebold software, because his team never examined the Diebold software in question. Incredibly, this software keeps not one, but two Microsoft Access data tables of voting results. It’s like a business keeping two sets of account books. The two tables are notionally identical copies of the votes collated from all polling stations. The software uses the first table for on-demand reports which might uncover alteration of the data –such as spot checks of results from individual polling stations. The second of the two tables is the one used to determine the election result. But the second table can be hacked and altered to produce fake election totals without affecting spot check reports derived from the first table.”

By: Quantumpanda Fri, 22 Aug 2003 15:54:01 +0000 What bugs me in all this is how situations like this are used as arguments against deregulation of utilities. The problem is that in the US, there has never been a true “deregulation”–what folks like to call deregulation is actually just a different form of regulation. Properly used, the term “deregulation” should refer to the removal of regulations, not merely restructuring them. A true deregulation would result in an increasingly free market–which would provide companies more incentive to not let things like this happen. As long as they can fall back on the excuses of existing regulations to keep customers, they have no such incentives.

By: Kris Fri, 22 Aug 2003 00:47:54 +0000 Here is an interesting article (NYT, registration required…)

It seems to corroborate the utility’s carelessness that was illustrated in the original article.

By: Anonymous Thu, 21 Aug 2003 12:20:12 +0000 as a life long resident of cleveland, ohio i knew well of the mayor and his ‘fight’ for the people. reading the positive responses to his run for pres. from such diverse geographicial areas and idealistic people gives me hope once again in our people/system
thank you

By: James Day Wed, 20 Aug 2003 21:04:05 +0000 Glenn,

The solar costs come from the power to make the panels and the coal used for the production of the steel, aluminum and glass used in them and their associated battery systems. The construction costs are comparatively high compared to central power generation. This may change in the future. If it does, the balance could shift in favor of solar rather than nuclear as safest.


You need to check the orientation requirements of the compact fluorescents. Mount them the wrong way up and the light output and lifetime can drop dramatically. The Phillips earthlight series is one example. Mount it in an upward pointing spot as I did and you don’t get the rated output or lifetime. Different models suffer to different degrees. I’m now using really inexpensive Lights of America helical tubes in upward facing spots. You also need to look at the duty cycle for the projected lifetime, to see how many hours per day they are using for the estimate. You may find it’s four or six hours a day and it’s easy to go far beyond that if you do the obvious thing and replace your most used lights first. Frequent turning on and off also seriously reduces the lifetime, dropping it from 100% lifetime for a lamp turned on every three hours to 70% of the lifetime if turned on every hour, 50% if every 45 minutes and 20% if every five minutes.

By: mARTY Wed, 20 Aug 2003 18:39:29 +0000 Biomass is a viable alternative to foscle fuel. Anything that can be made from a hydrocarbon can be made from a carbohydrate. Peace, Marty

By: MikeA Wed, 20 Aug 2003 14:20:51 +0000 “If Marie Antoinette were alive today, she�d have said �let them use solar� when the power went out.”

Listen people….welcome to any final project happening in Thermodynamics classes across the country. There are reasons why every citizen doesn’t use solar power, and it has nothing to do with batteries, darkness, or consumption. It has to do with the same reason why Hydrogen or Electric cars aren’t everywhere: economics. And those economics are not driven by the costs of technical expertise, research or materials. The economics are there because people (car manufacturers, investors, politicians, etc.) don’t WANT solar power or alternative cars. Period. No. Other. Reason.

With autos, I suspect we’ll see what happened with airbags. What originally seemed to be a non-recoupable cost will become a selling point, and maybe alternative fuel-driven cars will take off. But solar power….probably not, but don’t start thinking it has anything to do with technology at all.

By: Greg Buchholz Wed, 20 Aug 2003 13:21:02 +0000 This is getting pretty offtopic by now, but has anyone out there ever got a compact flourescent bulb to last the 5-7 years the manufacturers claim? My experience has been that they tend to burn out in 2-3 years (why didn’t I save those reciepts?):( Do the more expensive ones last any longer? I guess I should check out consumer reports to see if they have the low-down, but I’d like to hear any other real world experiences.

By: Glenn Lasher Wed, 20 Aug 2003 12:45:16 +0000 Whenever I hear about someone with an expensive solar installation, I always wonder about what they did to reduce consumption, some people I�ve met can get pretty creative (since we know that it is almost always cheaper to eliminate electricty rather than generate it with solar). Do you use a ground source heat pump for heating/cooling? Fluorescent lighting instead of incadasent? Super insulated refridgereator/freezer? LCDs for TV/computer monitors? Tankless (on demand) water heater or do you reclaim waste heat from somewhere else? And what�s your favorite energy saving device/idea?

This is an excellent comment.

I am working on efficiency projects as well, as time and money permits.

The reason I am going to town on the solar installation is to produce a surplus. I set my limit at the state legal limit for net metering.

I am insulating my attic first.

I use compact fluroescent tubes for all of my lighting needs. This is a cheap and very easy thing to do, and I am, honestly, flabbergasted by the number of people still using incandesent bulbs. This is probably my hands-down favourite, because it is so easy, and, in fact, it is even cheap these days, with the tubes going for as low as $4.00 each. Yes, that is a lot more than the $.50 you pay for incandesent, but before you even consider the energy savings, it will outlast more than eight incandesent bulbs it replaces.

I will be upgrading computer displays to LCD as possible. These are also a great space-saver.

I have a standard gas water heater. This will do for now. Being modern and brand new, it is pretty efficient. Better can be done in the future.

At some time, the furnace will need replacement, and I am considering using a ground-transfer heat pump for this purpose. This will also cool the house in the summer and I can lose the window aircons I use now.

By: Richard Bennett Wed, 20 Aug 2003 07:29:35 +0000 If Marie Antoinette were alive today, she’d have said “let them use solar” when the power went out.

By: Mike Wed, 20 Aug 2003 04:16:21 +0000 “People tend to use electricity at night, and it tends to be hard to generate solar power at that particular time.”

People also tend to use electricity during the day, as with the case of air conditioning, genius. The majority of electrical demands come during the day, and yes, solar power can relieve MUCH of that demand. No kidding.

By: Ron Veelik Tue, 19 Aug 2003 14:46:08 +0000 I know what a battle it is with utilitys, He has my vote

Ron Veelik

By: naasking Tue, 19 Aug 2003 13:23:24 +0000 Kucinich attributes the problems to insufficient regulations on the power companies that operate with ever thinner margins to compete. I would focus instead on the environment in which CEI operated: the laws and regulations. If those special interest laws (ie. laws which serve only a minority group’s interests) had not been in place, CEI would have been forced to compete fairly against the public utility (and may have lost if Kucinich is believed). Instead, the laws created an environment in which CEI had a distinct advantage and obviously CEI exploited it (as would any creature in its natural environment). You cannot hold CEI responsible for behaving legally though you may ethically oppose its actions.

Special interest laws are the real enemy here; improper regulation, not under-regulation. Whether power generation and distribution in its current form is better left in public or private hands is still unlcear.

To those who say deregulation is a mess, will never work and cite all sorts of evidence, you must really re-examine the situation carefully. There is a big difference between doing something properly, with due consideration to all relevant factors, and doing something by jumping in blindly. I think we’d all agree the latter is how most “deregulation” plans are being implemented.

Most governments do not examine the impact of the old laws in new circumstances because there is little benefit to them. Who will notice? “Vote Kucinich: he spent 4 years repealing 1,000 non-sensical laws.” That’s not progress to most people. Politicians are looking for the sound bite, the quick fix. “‘Deregulation” is what they’re currently touting, but they’re not willing to put in what it really takes to make it work. The problem is with the public and the politicians. Let’s hope someone can sort it out because the potential benefits are significant.

By: Greg Buchholz Tue, 19 Aug 2003 12:20:09 +0000 Whenever I hear about someone with an expensive solar installation, I always wonder about what they did to reduce consumption, some people I’ve met can get pretty creative (since we know that it is almost always cheaper to eliminate electricty rather than generate it with solar). Do you use a ground source heat pump for heating/cooling? Fluorescent lighting instead of incadasent? Super insulated refridgereator/freezer? LCDs for TV/computer monitors? Tankless (on demand) water heater or do you reclaim waste heat from somewhere else? And what’s your favorite energy saving device/idea?

By: Glenn Lasher Tue, 19 Aug 2003 11:16:41 +0000 Solar power is a tough nut to crack, and the laws of physics are such that solar power might never be competitive with alternative sources of energy.

True. As always, though, early adopters fund future enhancements. I want to be that early adopter because I believe in the potential here.

I made reference earlier to improvements made by Evergreen Solar. Currently, their panels come in a little lower than their competition. Once they have recouped their R&D, I’m sure they’ll come down even more. At least, that is how it is supposed to work in a free market. Yes, I have specced Evergreen Solar panels for my system. No, I have no vested interest in the company.

There is also a technolgy in the lab right now for a carbon nanotube based panel, which is supposed to be about 85% efficient by effectively being an antenna array that is resonant at light wavelengths. If this ever hit production, the impact would be incredible. The problem, right now, is that nanotubes are fragile.

Coal, gas, and solar can all be expected to cause more deaths than nuclear power. The reason? When you burn them they release the radioactive elements contained in them. Add in the deaths from pollution and carcinogens and you end up finding that even solar will kill ten times as many people as nuclear.

Um…. what do you “burn” in a solar power system? What does it release?

You might get a little outgassing of hydrogen from your batteries, but you can remedy that by using hydrocaps on them. These contain a catalyst that will recombine the hydrogen with ambient oxygen and rewater the battery, also cutting down on maintenance in the process.

The point of alternative energy isn�t to replace traditional generation, simply to reduce dependence on it.

I’d say give the man a cigar, but I don’t want the smoke from that thing, either :-)

My planned system is expensive. I recognize that. It is also bigger than my household demand. That makes it a rare exception. Anything that reduces the use of power supplies that rely on a thing called “fuel,” regardless whether it is coal, gas, oil, uranium, or whatever, automatically reduces the waste that that fuel becomes once it is spent. Disposal of that waste therefore becomes less of a problem.

By: MBains Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:59:28 +0000 Glen stated “…but if more people were to invest in their own personal energy independence, the nation, as a whole, would benefit.”

I’d like to borrow $64,000 from you brother! I’ll pay you back after selling the excess energy to FE. ;-)

Otherwise, you’re right on the money. The ONLY problem I have with Nuclear plants is the disposal of the waste. And that problem overrides ALL other issues.

By: Matthew Smillie Tue, 19 Aug 2003 08:46:06 +0000 The whole “when the sun isn’t shining” argument is a total red herring, equivalent to claiming that flesh-eating nuclear pixies will infest the countryside if we build more plants. Likewise this artificial contention that the argument is for 100% solar generation.

The point of alternative energy isn’t to replace traditional generation, simply to reduce dependence on it. No matter how clean and safe you think nuclear power is, it doesn’t take a genius to realise we’re better off with a minimum of those plants and their associated problems.

So, if a business can supply 40% (generally plausible even in cold/cloudy climates) of its own electricity during the time when usage is highest (business hours), how can that be bad? Of course it’s not going to replace traditional generation – it supplements it. It distributes generation capacity. What you can’t do, though, is charge people for it by the kW-hour.

By: kalmar Tue, 19 Aug 2003 08:11:43 +0000 > People tend to use electricity at night, and it tends to be
> hard to generate solar power at that particular time.

This is such a black and white argument!
A renewables combination of solar and wind matches the daily and yearly consumption graphs almost exactly. Add in hydro, tidal, biomass and anything else you like, and there will be no problem.
You can replace any given countries’ traditional power mix with wind up to about 40% before you even need to start worrying about your grid infrastructure or how to balance the generation variability.

> Gotta have nukes, and the more new ones the better.

I guess you’re wrong about that too.

Gotta use less power.