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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Inner limits

Every time I write about intrusive government and the slow chipping away of our liberty -- and our complicity in the erosion of rights -- I hear from somebody who says I'm a libertarian caveman who just doesn't understand that we're all in this together and have to submit sometimes to the greater good. But, surely, this should be alarming to the most committed collectivist:

The conceit in the 1960s show “The Outer Limits” was that outside forces had taken control of your television set.

Next year in California, state regulators are likely to have the emergency power to control individual thermostats, sending temperatures up or down through a radio-controlled device that will be required in new or substantially modified houses and buildings to manage electricity shortages.

The proposed rules are contained in a document circulated by the California Energy Commission, which for more than three decades has set state energy efficiency standards for home appliances, like water heaters, air conditioners and refrigerators. The changes would allow utilities to adjust customers' preset temperatures when the price of electricity is soaring. Customers could override the utilities' suggested temperatures. But in emergencies, the utilities could override customers' wishes.

California, I remind you, is the breeding ground, in our "laboratories of democracy" federalism, where nutty ideas start before they become the national norm. It isn't an "Outer Limits" conceit -- outside forces are trying to take control.


Bob G.
Tue, 01/15/2008 - 1:01pm

Outer Limits (the original B&W version)...a damn fine show in both concept AND execution.
Aside from the occassional cheesy F/X, the acting was first rate and the questions posed were thought-provoking.

Would it be that we could say likewise about intrusive agencies hell-bent on controlling those NOT NEEDING control, while kissing the backsides of those in DIRE NEED of control.

Two edges on THAT sword, people....TWO.
(learn it - live it - love it)


J. Q. Taxpayer
Wed, 01/16/2008 - 1:15am

If you find an oldtimer of the old Fort Wayne City Light electric company they will tell you about having remote controlled switches on water heaters (this was prior to every house and building having AC). It was used to cut peak loads both during the winter and summer.

What people should employ is seven day programable thermostats. Plus having multi zones included. People would find their savings would be of such both during the heating and cooling seasons they would use them.

Because we have failed to build new powerplants and the gains of using better efficient cooling systems have maxed out. Hence we have to build more generation or there are going to be blackouts. LIKE IT OR NOT!

You can blame who is the cause of the lack of new powerplants on whoever you want but the thing is we are running short of power. Much like third rate countries around the world.

We will have rolling blackouts that will result in people working shorter hours/less pay. Businesses open fewer hours and hence bringing in less money and may fail. That is a fact!

The only other method of avoiding rolling blackouts is to be able to dump certain loads that require a fair amount of electric energy. Residential AC units would be the first to get shut down for given periods with regards to residential properties.

Keep in mind most utilites already have working agreements with major industrial power users that they will be cut off if the demand for power becomes so high.

One other method is charge a surcharge for power use during peak times. The power may cost you seven to ten times more then regular hours. That will get everyone's attention real quick. All they need to do it toss a new meter on the back of your house. Those meters are already out their used on commerical/industrial accounts.

Mon, 05/12/2008 - 3:01am

After learning about a group who "gas through vents" to incapacitate in order to rob and/or violate their victims, in addition to the felony altering of our power poles here in Fresno, CA - no way in hell will I allow an outside agency to take control of my thermostat. I will go back to window air conditioning. Something very horrible is taking place and I am quite certain that it goes beyond Fresno. Beware.