And I would be happy to do that too, but, well, it’s hard to keep sweating down on the farm after you’ve seen the wonders of climate control. Which is why efforts at conservation are always a hard sell, as long as we can easily afford to be comfortable.
However, the environmentalists have made progress, at least to this extent: Nowadays, many of us now think we should at least feel guilty about adding to that immense hole in the ozone layer.
We like to feel that we are doing our part for the environment, as long as it isn’t very painful. For example, virtuous little me carried a bin with all my cans and plastic bottles out to the curb this morning.
I’ll bet Al Gore would be proud.
Seriously, I am skeptical about the current package of energy bills, partly for that reason. Renewable energy sounds great. But as my research assistant Emmarie points out, other states that have set renewable energy targets are failing to meet them, because of a lack of technology, a lack of money to overhaul systems, or both.
And there are a lot of other things in this package that ought to raise a few eyebrows. For example, these bills would mean that residential electric rates would go up, while businesses would pay lower rates. My guess is that most voters wouldn’t like that idea.
That is, if they knew about it. Funny, I don’t recall the politicians telling us about this. These bills also would allow proposed rate increases to take effect automatically, if not acted on by the Michigan Public Service Commission. For people on fixed incomes, that may be scarier than living next to a nuclear power plant.
But what bothers me most of all is that it is designed to destroy competition, and give the state’s two dominant utilities a guaranteed customer base and near-monopoly status. That would be fine if we were in the business of promoting Soviet-style state socialism.
However, I thought what we wanted was good old capitalist competition. Giving the utilities a monopoly has been a particular passion of Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, an alleged Democrat.
He even suggested solving last year’s budget crisis by giving one utility guaranteed monopoly status in exchange for a lot of cash.
You may think all that is a great idea. But the fact is, these bills were rushed through the House without most voters knowing what was in them. Now, they are before the Senate. If you trust the utilities to have your best interests in mind, there’s nothing to worry about.
However, you might want to think about it, read the fine print first, and let your own state senator know how you feel. Especially because this just might be your last chance.