Thursday, March 26, 2020

My Trial of Pacific Power Blue Sky Renewable Energy

In October, 2018, I signed up with a solicitor at my door, for Blue Sky Usage , to: 
Support 100% Pacific Northwest renewable resources from Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The resource mix is likely to include wind (87%), biomass (2%), solar (10%) and geothermal (1%).

The cost is about $8 more per month, (for typical customer),   $0.0105 per kWh.

Blue Sky is a program of PacifiCorp., Pacific Power, of Portland, Oregon 

It was a very questionable thing to do, where I was within weeks of turning over the house to renters.

Over a 14 month period then, my renters reimbursed to me, these added costs paid:

At 3/26/2020, I reverse the cost to my renters, by sending a check of amount $65.59. With this, I advise them of this explanatory post. I don't trouble them to weigh in on virtue of the experiment. Where in this review I also summarize household contribution to Oregon's Public Purpose Fund , I treat both as involuntary carbon taxes . Please be patient here with the hyperlinks, and go there to my deeper writing on subjects if you can. I believe in carbon taxes broadly-defined, that energize public banking and that fund all infrastructure development including durable, most-efficient housing-as-a human-right. We must stop believing lies of the greedy most-affluent, that we are better off when self-interested-at-the-top investors are the printers of money, and design projects for their short-term gain. Those of us with assets on Wall Street, and I am not one of them, will see how their ride from the coat tails of the evil Ponzi schemers of an insane market, ends up.

Lumping the two carbon taxes and knowing that the Public Purpose Charge, PPC, is 3% added to a bill, the Blue Sky Charge would similarly be computed as 8.2% of bill. An electricity carbon tax of more than 11% is quite large and yet is acceptable to more than 125,000 participants. I wonder why any of this should be acceptable to renters, where there is no scheme to produce personal benefits for them. If charges are stinky to renters-unaware, they must be stinky for anyone. Yes, the PPC is stinky too. Program managers and Oregon political leaders must know that PPC collections with no possible return to renters and unaware, is theft.

Electricity Energy Conservation Improvements Charted for 22 Years  
(Including 14 months with Blue Sky):  

I have done very much to make my home-now-rental, energy-efficient, Electricity usage with a single occupant was reduced by half circa 2011, in replacing an electric clothes dryer with natural gas, getting rid of CRT displays, and full conversion to most-efficient LED downlights. Electricity usage is proportional to the number of adult occupants. Rising electricity billing rates act counter to the energy conservation. See that in the current winter, my renters used less electricity than the year before, yet bills went up. That change, not warned and not accepted, troubles me very much.

At May 17, 2020, apologize this so far is not instructive to my rental-home electric power utility, Pacific Power. I am bitter in knowing that a phone responder taking my Blue Sky cancellation admitted without apology, that Pacific Power finds added solar capacity is uneconomic. My cancellation then is with a vengeance. What is the good in investor profit from investment in some Montana wind turbine? I wasn't doing any good in promotion of solar capacity for my community, with lowered rates that might justify my renters making the Blue Sky contribution.

I recently was hit-upon in email by Pacific Power to make charitable contributions, perhaps a parallel of the Blue Sky deal. I replied with link to this post, unhappy. I said that charity is limited and must be done smartly. (This doesn't measure up.)


To help struggling families and seniors, we will contribute $2 for every $1 donated by our customers to Oregon Energy Fund, making your donation go even further. We’ve already contributed to Oregon Energy Fund and together we can do more.

If you are able, please consider helping those in need of energy assistance by donating.

Today I find on-topic, this current post at RMI Blog:

Says the concluding paragraph of the report of closing a coal power plant in North Dakota:

Cooperatively owned coal across the region, and the country, will continue to come up against the same economic shortfalls experienced by GRE, yet the member-centric, independent co-op business model remains uniquely positioned to lead rural communities through the transition. GRE has set the stage and shown that even in the midst of economic crisis, co-ops can take decisive action on behalf of their members and can lead the way toward a lower-cost, clean energy future.

Try to find out how this might work for investments by caring individuals. Google this statement: Minnesota: invest in cooperative power companies solar capacity 

From this, and many other resources, Pacific Power might find an honest way to let its customers invest with them in the common good of the imperative clean energy future.

Please consider here, this writing by Sightline Institute:

How Utilities Make Monopoly Money


See that Articles of Sightline Institute are now linked among Web Referrals of this blog.

At 5/14/2021, add new Label Carbon Taxes to this post upon finding a similar, larger ask of my natural gas utility, Northwest Natural Smart Energy. Whereas Pacific Power wants added revenue beneficial to its marketing that is 8.2% of a billing amount, Northwest Natural wants 10.486%. Both of these takes volunteered by pollution-conscious customers are something of a voluntary carbon tax in Oregon on top of our involuntary 3% Public Purpose Fund energy-consumption tax. The appeal to me arrived in a letter yesterday, and if accepted would be paid by the renters of my home. Where my renters would have no benefit, I think this fails a smell test. I would not ask for their generosity and could not impose a decision upon them.

I call these voluntary consumption taxes  something of a voluntary carbon tax  because the revenue is collected 100% by the generators of CO2, and not by an unselfish government entity. I won't see the take by utilities as unselfish. For anyone, for all of us, reduced energy consumption is profitable. A utility does not need to take money from me, or my renters, to enable investment in less-costly energy extraction or power production. If methane from waste costs more to a utility than fracked gas, the difference should be offset by a utility-paid carbon tax.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Respirator Maintenance and Innovation, 2020

Wonder: What are virtues of half-facepiece reusable respirators in the current coronavirus pandemic?
This has been my usual appearance working in attics and crawl spaces. At age 75, I need the glasses for acceptable vision, and value them as protection. I have been diligent with lungs protection. There is little added effort in breathing through the respirator.

Look inside a 3M Model 7502 half-mask respirator. Soft silicone comfortably conforms to my face. OSHA requires professional fitting, but that is simply with selection among three offered sizes, good-enough. Round silicone flappers (check valves) move inward with inhalation and close with exhalation. A rectangular flapper hinges outward with exhalation and block flow with inhalation. Simpler or older respirators may have a more-resistive round inhalation check at the front.

I paid $15 in 2009 for required "fitting" and OSHA training. I wear a Medium, of course. Please see much more about the fitting in a 3M training video for the less-comfortable 6000-series respirators.

We in USA are not strongly guided to protect ourselves  against coronavirus. Wear an N95 paper face mask or a surgical mask, if you think you are sick and should protect others, and if you can find one,

At March 25, 2020 I am resolved to do needful shopping and other needed self-care, only when wearing my respirator. I have prepared the two that I own, one new and one routinely restored as-new with careful soap-and-water scrubbing. With the second respirator, both I and my partner may escape confinement, protected.

I know that my respirators are precious. All elements are sold-out, unavailable at Amazon or anywhere else. I must preserve them, safe, for many months. Therefore with rubber bands, attach throw-away covers of facial tissue. Gain a third set of 2091 filters by putting my dirty set through a soapy wash cycle with laundry. They come out dry and with intact structure. Know then that the two new sets of 2091 filters are ample for months of usage, laundered perhaps weekly.

A small square of paper towel will do much good toward protection of others. A cloth over my mouth instead of this would interfere with the respirator seal and surely is not a better idea.

Among things listed as beneficial these days, let's add frequent well-soaped laundry. Let that apply to hospitals and group homes too. I don't see the point in throw-away plastic or paper garb.

At 4/23/2020, comment upon experience with this adapted respirator. I wear this mask when grocery shopping and find the unfixed paper-towel filter of exhalation, to be unacceptable.

For residents of my shared townhouse community, I have been the outlier to buy and try simple masks of elastic tee shirt material on-offer from Custom Ink. Here is my explanation to those asking for these $2 masks: 
There now, see that Custom Ink has also an ample supply of layered paper masks at twice the cost and in fact much more expensive where one might be disposed after one use.

On my next groceries adventure, I will try a Custom Ink cloth mask under my respirator in place of the loose paper towel. The respirator will look extreme and may be unnecessary, but I will do the trial. I have donated two 3M respirators like mine, in Large size purchased in error, at my local fire station. I want to believe more-positive protection is valued by first-responders frequently at-risk.

Read: The Real Reason to Wear a Mask, The Atlantic, April 22, 2020 
This does not conflict with my shared learning and insights.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Hitting Bottom?

I believe that traffic at this blog reflects our national mood with energy conservation. 

Will our response to coronavirus and environmental catastrophe, now, accelerate action to do right in our homes? People shut out from jobs will want work, and to do good things.

I sure wish Oregon had awakened to the need of a State Bank, taking assets off evil Wall Street. We would then more securely have had means to get out of our mess. In this I give some negative credit to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler . Here watch a debate of 2020 contenders for Portland Mayor.  See this shareable debate as a model for much contention of progressive candidates throughout USA, to gain fresh leadership.

See how suppressed interest deters blogging:

Making this public, I challenge myself to blog more,. next to finish a riff about misguided individual investment in green energy absent self interest. I will reimburse on-average $5 per month over 14 months in electricity payments, where they were not consulted. I was rotten. It didn't have to be a decision to be ashamed of. I invested much in attending 2020 International Builders Show. I have much more to share, and more time in-hand.. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Inspiring Young People to Become Carpenters: Just Learn How to Install a Prefit Door!

At 2020 International Builders Show I was educated by the team of Rick Arnold and Gary Katz, presenting  Problem-free Prefit Doorsas the Katz Roadshow . The half-hour-long demonstration was a rerun for me, and yet I know I need much practice to overcome wrong intuition applied in the only-three doors I have installed so far.

 At wrap-up, we were offered pencils labeled with a URL, thus:

We were told: Go to the URL on this pencil, where you will see preserved to be viewed for free, all the good information you have learned here. Pass the pencil on to some young person who might win a carpentry job, just by knowing, really knowing, how to hang a prefit door. And I immediately did that, giving my pencil to a young person next to me on the city bus to my hotel that evening.  I picked up two replacement pencils the next day.

Only now, six weeks later, I have tested whether the URL by itself might give the intended inspiration. Go there , and see.

Recall that "prefit door" is the subject and enter that in the search bar. Then read the full article,  (Click this caption.)

Problem-free Prefit Doors

It is photo and text instruction, a bit like my blog, not the video I imagined. At bottom is this link to the promised video instruction:

A bit of education may open doors of opportunity.