Smug As A Bug

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Kellemora
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Re: Smug As A Bug

Post by Kellemora »

In the normal operation of a business, there is a ceiling on the price people will pay for a product.
This is one reason so many products get discontinued.
The cost of making them increases yearly, but folks just won't spend more for the product.
Some they do and take it in stride, but other products they won't buy if they feel the price is too high.

Drug companies are not faced with such a dilemma because they founded the insurance companies to ensure they can keep price gouging for the drugs they sell.

Why can I buy some of my OTC drugs for 88 cents, when their competitors are all 12 bucks and up for the same thing?
If the OTC drug is profitable for the manufacturer at the 88 cent retail sale price, then why does the name brand cost over 12 bucks? In many cases, both versions come out of the same pill making facility, often using the same base ingredients, but not always. The cheaper one may use a cheaper base ingredient, and may not put a shine on the pills to make them easier to swallow. But they still do the exact same thing in our systems.

My first wife's family lived in an electric co-op area. But they had the option of paying for electric as a provided service, or joining the co-op as a member to get the electric a whole lot cheaper, but as a member, they were also responsible for the cost of running the co-op. The co-op wanted to convert all four of their coal fired plants to natural gas and it went to a vote. The people were smart enough to say not, you can only convert two of them to natural gas, BECAUSE of a clause in the natural gas providers contract that said they could refuse to supply natural gas if there was a shortage for some reason. This simply meant that if they were shut off, they would have no electric from their natural gas fired steam plants. They also added a second option. All the plants could use natural gas and coal together, so that all the plants could run on either, and they would have to stockpile 8 times more coal than they currently stockpile if they choose to use natural gas.
After about three years of dickering and holding votes, the latter was finally passed, and they did stockpile coal while running natural gas, and when the coal reached a certain amount, then they would cut back on natural gas a little to keep the supplies of coal coming.
Sure enough, something happened, I don't remember what it was now, but the gas was not available for like two months over the winter. But they had their steady supply of coal coming in, so nobody was without electric, and the short period of lower gas prices soon ended, but never did get as high as what those buying electrical service was paying year round at the fixed rate.

When places invest in solar panels and wind vanes (which have never been profitable, without government subsidies), and a system is not in place to keep them working properly, now they see what happens, no electric.
I feel the same way about using nuclear power when we have all the paid for dams. Sure nuclear is cheap, if you don't count handling the waste from them for a million years. But at least we have the dams and hydroelectric plants to fall back on.

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yogi
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Re: Smug As A Bug

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Your comment about drug companies inventing insurance companies is interesting. It's one of those chicken/egg things that I don't know for certain which came first. I do believe, however, that the big pharrma companies would be much more profitable if they did not have to deal with insurance payouts. The insurance companies are restricted in ways that drug companies are not, thus they can only reimburse so much. If the drug companies want to stay in business, they must stay in line with what the insurance will cover. Yes, I'm certain there are cases where the drug makers are in charge of the supply and demand cycle, but for the most part their pricing reflects what the insurance companies (and Medicare) will pay out.

Part of the problem in Texas is that the energy companies are unregulated and independent. Their power grid is self-contained by design because they don't want any outsiders to tell them what to do. Thus adjacent states with plenty of power were not able to connect to the Texas grid when they needed it the most. The ungodly cost of electric that certain consumers are seeing is also due to a lack of regulation in the industry. Texan utilities will not be told what they can charge their customers. Also, nobody made the power companies prepare for the unexpected, and they did not. So, now we see how that is working out.

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Kellemora
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Re: Smug As A Bug

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I use a Nebulizer - The exact same make and model I have only costs $39.95 at Walgreens, and comes with the hose and mouthpiece plus an extra air filter. A mouthpiece is like a $1.89 for one, or only 66 cents each if I buy a dozen on-line.
A Leased Nebulizer provided by Medicare as durable equipment, is billed at the rate of $55.00 per month for one year. At the end of the year the unit is yours, and you must pay for the repairs. During that year, you can get up to 12 new mouthpieces.
Now, if Medicare or insurance companies are concerned about how much they have to pay out, why would they pay $55.00 per month for a year, for a $39.95 item they could get at wholesale price?

Although the Texas power grid, if you want to call it that, is self-contained, they do sell electric to bordering states. So the conduit is there for them to buy electric for like four different areas. However, that is only if those four areas do have extra electric to sell back to Texas, which in most cases they don't, which is why they are buying from Texas in the first place.
But NO Texas is not part of the National Power Grid system, because that opens up a whole can of worms as you pointed out.
I know for a FACT that Texas does supply ARKLA power company with additional electric of what ARKLA produces themselves.
Also, El Paso, Texas gets all of their electric and natural gas from New Mexico.
I don't think where I live, here in Tennessee is on any major grid either. But TVA does control all distribution in this and surrounding states. But I don't know if they have anything to do with our Nuclear Power Plant operations or not, I would guess they do though.

When I lived in St. Louis County, namely Des Peres and Creve Coeur, even residential areas were on a twin feed system, which is also connected to the Union Electric grid. This is one reason we were never without power. Every home was fed from two different sub-stations.
But down here in Tennessee, everything is single line, from sub-station to your home, and the sub-station itself is only fed with a single line feed. So when a car takes out a utility pole and it happens to be one that feeds the sub-station, we are without electric.
The residential line I'm on comes in from the west sub-station. My neighbor two doors down, their electric comes in from the residential line connected to the east sub-station, and nary the twain shall meet.
When I first moved here, we were constantly having our power go out.
I argued with them to move my connection to the east sub-station feed.
Naturally they refused to do so, but what they did do was install more equipment in the west sub-station and made sure I was connected to the new equipment. But it didn't help if the only feed to the sub-station got knocked out.

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yogi
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Re: Smug As A Bug

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I don't know much about the power around O'Fallon, but I can see the high tension wires if I go down the block a bit and look north. We don't have any visible electric wire poles in the part of town where I live, and I don't recall seeing any elsewhere. Although, we are an island in the middle of Missouri farm country so that the feed to us must be overland and not buried like the wires in town. As far as outages go, maybe once a year we will lose power for a couple hours. Some of the most miserable storms and tornadoes seem not to affect the power around here. The most notable outages were on clear days with no bad weather in sight. So, I don't know how we get the juice, but it is fairly reliable. I suspect it has something to do with the smart meters attached to our homes, or so Ameren would have us believe.

All I can add about the situation in Texas is that they are doing their own thing by choice. What we see in the news these days are the consequences of those choices.

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Kellemora
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Re: Smug As A Bug

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We don't have natural gas here, but they did install those smart meters on the water and electric, so we've never seen a walking meter reader since then. I think they said the new electric meters send our reading back to them over their own electric wires. But I do see a KUB car, instead of a truck, with a dome on the roof drive by about once a month, that could be to read the water, or possible both the water and electric. To the best of my knowledge, there is no battery in the water meter sending unit, so I have no idea how they pick up the signal driving by, especially since the meters are underground in a concrete box with a steel lid.

WOW, I just went and read an article on how our water meters send data.
I was right, they do not have a battery.
Water passing through the meter, which is recorded on the dial you can read, sorta like a car odometer moves the next digit, these work the same way, except, when that last digit turns, it actually snaps. The wheel has a magnet in it, and a small coil picks up the spark. This spark is converted to a wireless signal picked up by their WAN system and fed right back to the accounting and billing office.
Their receiver boxes were installed in coordination with the cable company in your area, usually where the cable connection to each home is made. Each meter has it's own ID number, and an error checksum is sent every 10 cubic feet using the same method, a magnet on the wheel to send a pulse through a pick-up coil that in turn transmits the comparison signal right after the individual cubic foot is sent on 10 cu ft.
The article did not say anything about how the receiver works or how it is powered. Probably from the electric on the same pole would be my guess.

I don't see how being on a national grid would have helped them one way or the other.
Your electric comes from your local utility company. If they are on the grid, they could provide excess to the grid, or pull shortfalls from the grid, but only up to a certain point else they could overload the grid by drawing more than it can handle.

I do know of many areas that have their electric underground, but not the high tension lines that carry the high voltage.
If an area is underground, it is usually after the second substation. From the first substation to the second substation is usually above ground.
I know there are many substations between the nuclear plant and us.
Around the nuclear plant are several transmission stations, one for each direction the high tension wires run away from the plant.
Then those wires connect to distribution stations, which lower the voltage perhaps from 115kv to 30kv.
Then those wires connect to local substations, which lower the voltage again to commercial voltages.
Also wires from distribution stations to local substations, which lower the voltage again to residential voltages 220 volt or twin opposite phase 110 volt lines.
110 volt lines often go through switching substations to direct the current to several groups of streets.

So the only thing that can actually be connected to a national grid would be the sources or transmission substations.

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yogi
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Re: Smug As A Bug

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You mentioned El Paso being connected to a power grid covering the entire west end of the country, but the rest of Texas is not connected. El Paso did not undergo any power losses according the news I read. Far be it from me to know why Texas power failed. The only comments I read said they were not connected to any national grid and that contributed to the failure. I can't imagine why. :rolleyes:

The electric power meter on my house is of course connected to the supply lines. It would not be difficult to use that infrastructure to transmit usage data back to the big computers in the sky. The water meter, however, is a way different situation. It's mounted on what could be mistaken for a sewer cover, but smaller. The meter has a slight bump pointing to the outside world, and inside is something about the size of a tennis ball. Down the pipe from that is the shut off valve. I doubt there are batteries in that gizmo and it could work pretty much the way you say. There does not seem to be a connection to any wires, however. So I don't know what they are doing, but I get a bill from them on schedule every two months. The house I left behind had the water meter inside the house right at the feed in the foundation. They came out one day and installed some kind of RF device that they read when they drive by. Once in a while I had to read the meter physically and send them the information to be sure it correlated with the RF data. The gas meter in O'Fallon looks like the same kind of meter we had up in Chicago. Somebody must come around and read it periodically, although I can't say I've ever seen that somebody.

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Kellemora
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Re: Smug As A Bug

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Much of Texas relies on their GREEN Windmills, which contain 50 gallons of OIL and 25 gallons of GREASE, and the vanes that are not easily recyclable. MANY OF THEM ICED UP AND STOPPED WORKING.
They also rely on Thousands of GREEN Solar Panels, which reflect the sun back up into outer space, instead of letting it hit the earth to help warm the earth. COVERED WITH SNOW THEY DON'T WORK either, hi hi.
Texas used to have well over 100 steam plants producing electric, not counting the hydroelectric plants.
Here is a listing of all the types of power plants they have, by type.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_p ... s_in_Texas

Since the late 1980's gas meters were read from the street, but slightly different than the water meters which create an energy spark. The company who reads the gas meters must stop and point this long tube toward the meter and wait for it to register. This method may have changed in later years, but if so, they never changed our gas meter after the one they installed around 1986. That being said, I never saw the meter reader car stop like they used to. They just rolled by slowly, and in the late '90s they no longer used that long tube, but had like a small dish on the roof, only about 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Now I have seen this car stop and back up a couple of times, probably because of where the meter was located, so they had to be in the clear.

Our water meter back home was in the basement, and a meter reader had to come in to read it for a few years, then they installed this box outside, but they had to plug into the box to get the reading, then they changed the box and after that only had to drive by. I don't know what is there now.

Some of the newest meters I've seen down here for electric, have a digital display on them, but I think those are the ones they charge the customer 500 bucks extra to get. If you have any way of generating electric and want to sell some back to KUB, you need this extra cost meter. It's actually hard to tell who has solar down here, because of a few companies who make them which look like normal roof tiles. Then again, only in the ritzy neighborhoods where they don't allow black panels on the roof.
One neighbor down the street from me has 8 panels in two rows at the far end of his back yard, and I assume he simply sells that power back to KUB since he does not have a battery storage system, or didn't when it was installed.
There is one guy a couple of streets north of us who has a solar roof car port, I think it has ten panels on it. And on the back side of the car port is this tall white cabinet which I assume is for battery storage. It does have some gauges on the front of it.

Over by where my wife's sister and her husband lives, there is a man who has a good 1/2 acre of solar panels behind his house. But they know nothing about him, other than he is a hobby type of kook, always experimenting with something, hi hi. He always had signs up around the area saying, if you are throwing away old solar lights or anything solar powered, call me and I'll come get them. He no longer puts those signs up, but he had a lot of decorative trinkets in his yard that all ran on solar, including his water fountain and other decorations. I never saw them, but Everett said he had those little tiny solar panels on narrow boards, like a 1 x 3 at the bottom of every one of his windows, no matter which way they faced, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: Smug As A Bug

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A lot of folks are interested in renewable energy. Some are dreamers and some are very practical. Regardless of the philosophy they follow it is the availability of energy that determines the quality of one's survival. The trend is for renewables to take over in the next decade or two. As that becomes a reality many improvements in design and efficiency can be expected. It used to be just a fad, but I think more people are getting serious about getting away from fossil fuel for energy purposes. A lot of big companies are looking that way, and of course the technology will go where the money flows fastest.

As far as frozen windmills in Texas are concerned, they brought that on themselves. Wind power is used in Alaska above the Arctic circle as well as in Antarctica. Believe it or not, THOSE turbines don't freeze over. Oil and natural gas happen to be subject to temperature variations as well. Many of the failures in Texas are due to the fuel lines freezing over because they were not winterized. Of course those folks don't believe in climate change, so what's the point of winterizing the energy supply system?

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Kellemora
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Re: Smug As A Bug

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Yeppers, as time marched on we changed our heating from wood, to peat, to coal, to oil, to gas, and finally to electric.
How they generate the electric has gone from water over the dam, to steam plants, to nuclear, to solar and wind vanes.
Grinding mills went from water over a wheel, to steam, to electric.
I've never once read about a wind vane that was profitable yet. Not for commercial use anyhow.
I have seen some vertical wind vanes that don't kill eagles and other birds, that also do not use 50 gallons of oil or 25 gallons of grease. But they are not in commercial usage as much, mostly commercial in the sense they are used by some factories in areas with decent winds all the time.
Natural Gas doesn't freeze. Oil does get thicker the colder it gets though.

I saw a solar powered steam plant that was unique, it did not use solar panels, it used the sun through like magnifying lenses to head boiler pods, 25 to 50 of them along a single pipe to the turbine engine. Why they didn't go this route, instead of wind vanes is beyond me. A whole lot cheaper to build, and with much less problems. The water itself wouldn't freeze because it was more than just water if I remember right. A carrier for the water that didn't boil out to steam. In any case, it was interesting in how it worked.

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