Originally Posted by Schooner Chandlery
I truly believe utility generation and transmission
should be a govenrment function not a for profit one.
Public policy nerds describe two types of government
functions, cost centers and profit centers. As you noted earlier private electric
companies' profits are controlled by law. Any increase in rates has to be justified, usually by upgrades or expansion of the system, same for government
run systems. In fact many government run power systems are profit centers and the profits are used to pay for government functions not related to electricity.
What every post I have seen so far is ignoring is that the basic concept
of planning is that growth does not pay for itself. If an electric
power station and grid can supply 1,000,000 folks and the population grows to 2,000,000 folks the cost per KW of electricity will have to increase (I am ignoring economies of scale with these numbers). Many electric systems have seen an increase in the number of folks they have to serve along these lines in less than the expected life of the system.
There are also other issues power companies (private or government) have to deal with. Most additions to power grids now favor underground lines while most existing power grid facilities are above ground. Same thing goes for smart meters (those things needed for smart metering); newer parts
of the system have them while older parts
don't. It is not an easy job to figure out how to deal with the issues of expanding the system and upgrading the current
While some have noted the per capita use of energy is decreasing this ignores the fact that the total energy use which peaked in 2007 an decreased for a while is not trending up due to population increase.
Bottom line is power companies view solar energy produced by private homes as a tiny fraction of the total energy in the system. Perhaps more to the point they are viewed as more trouble than they are worth.