Bill McReynolds, vice president of development for City Ventures, said he hopes the Simi Valley City Council will approve a proposal to build all-electric homes. The townhome complex of 62 units would sit on a vacant 4.3-acre parcel at the northwest corner of Erringer Road and the Arroyo Simi. The proposed units will be prewired for electric vehicles, energy-smart appliances and solar-powered and water-saving devices including water-efficient faucets and drought-tolerant landscaping. In addition, there will not be any gas-powered features, traditional heaters or stoves.
Not much has been written about all-electric homes since about 2001. Oh sure you can read about solar panels for your home, about converting from oil to natural gas, wiring your house for an electric car like a Tesla. But all –electric homes? Not so much.
What would happen if the U.S. went electric? What would be the economic, environmental and national security impacts of that kind of transformation? It’s actually a transformation that’s already under way, from Atlanta’s airport to the Port of Los Angeles and beyond, to where Elon Musk’s self-described gigafactory to build batteries rises in the Nevada desert.
There are some problems with the way we treat consumers who are trying to be supportive of the ecology by using less electricity. David R. Baker has an article in SFGATE.com titled “New California proposal: Use less electricity, pay more.” Baker writes, “In the next four years, Californians who use the least electricity may see their utility bills go up — while those who use the most get a break.”
The state’s big, investor-owned utility companies currently charge different prices for electricity based on four “tiers” of usage as a way to encourage conservation. The proposal issued Tuesday by two administrative law judges at the California Public Utilities Commission would cut that number to two tiers by 2019, with only a 20 percent difference between the prices charged for each. Right now, PG&E’s top residential tier charges twice as much for electricity as the bottom tier.
Under the proposal, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. would cut the number of tiers to three next year, then two in 2018. And in each year through 2019, the difference between the top and bottom tiers would shrink.
Cutting the number of tiers from four to two raises concerns among consumer groups and environmentalists, who consider the existing tier system a powerful incentive for conservation. The proposed changes, they say, would punish people who are doing exactly what the state wants — using less energy. Cutting energy bills for the biggest users, they say, also could make solar power less attractive.
If you punish people who are doing exactly what the state wants — using less energy and cut energy bills for the biggest users, you have taken away the incentives to get off the grid by generating your own power. Maybe there will be no big move to all-electric homes.
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