What About The Consumer?

Whether it’s electricity or automobiles, consumers get no respect. Electricity regulators and other policymakers condescend to them, essentially arguing that electricity is too complex for consumers to make smart choices. Thus, they argue, we need retail rate caps, because otherwise electric companies would take advantage of those poor dolts who just want to have the juice coming through the wall.

Ask yourself this: from a consumption perspective, is electricity really any more complicated than other things we consume? Cellphone service, internet service, natural gas? And don’t ever, ever, give credence to the “electricity is different because it can’t be stored” argument, such as CA Senator Dunn makes like a broken record. Many things we consume can’t be stored but are parts of a capital-intensive network — airline seats, cellphone calls, hotel room stays.

Plus electricity is not as un-storable as Dunn would have you believe; it’s just that batteries and existing storage technologies are expensive for the amount of power you get from them. Smart entrepreneurs are working on that problem as we speak, and once we figure that one out, then the stasist control freaks will have to find some other rationale for controlling the economy. And I’m sure they will try.

But they will fail.