What a pain in the ass.
Traditionally power outages happen in the summer or during electrical storms. This winter PG&E in California is having an electrical generating shortage. Apparently when power was deregulated, PG&E sold off all its generating plants to private companies. Now these private companies are shutting down plants for maintenance and to boost profits by restricting the quantity of electricity available. PG&E has to shell out money it doesnít have to out of state providers to cover the shortfall. PG&E is trying to get a rate hike that will cost as much as 40% more next year.
Today we are having ďrolling blackoutsĒ. They turn off the power to certain areas for 90 minutes at a time. I heard that the 16-plex in the next town was shut down today. We havenít been turned off yet, but I waiting. I have my canceled show passes ready.
If someone in your state is contemplating deregulation of the power company and is telling you that this will cause price cuts, donít believe them. Since deregulation we have power shortages and the doubling of electrical rates. In collage economics we were told that there are somethingís that work better as natural monopolies like the phone companies and the power company.
Now some schemes work. The next town north of us is Healdsburg. They told PG&E to stuff it 20 years ago and bought there own generating plant. They arenít having a problem. Sacramento is the stateís capital and they donít play with PG&E either. They are SMUD. (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) They have the most solar rooftops in the state. They encourage Ground or Earth based heat pumps because they are more efficient for heating and cooling. They arenít having a problem either.
So if your municipality wants to divorce your stateís Monopoly, this can work.
Grey Davis, the stateís Governor, wants to declare eminent domain and take over all of the power generating plants to solve the problem. Unfortunately this is a rather socialistic action, which will please no one.
As a theatre, what are my options? Can I bill PG&E for lost business? The good news is that I get to blame the next price hike on PG&E; unfortunately, they may get the entire proceeds from the price hike.
I know that solar panels have been coming down in price and that they are 2 times more expensive than generated power. But with the price hikes it may be attractive to cover the theatres roof with solar panels and sell the power back to PG&E, which they must buy under law.
There is a shed out back, which would be a nice place to put the natural gas powered generator for power outages. I wonder how much that would cost?
Well, when you are faced with a 40% increase in your utility bill, you start to wonder. I also start to have anarchist dreams when faced with stuff like this.