Control access to power (in all its forms)

Control poverty

Control movement

The poor workhouses never went away

Free power generation

Will go a long ways to levelling the playing field

First step

review the nature of water

Water is not H2O

Water is an element. This is why it can cycle and be distilled from


Water is inert. Water is always the container or carrier. Water is a good insulator.

Water doesn’t take part in reactions.

Water is the great decomposer.

We live in the realm of water.

We breathe air the gaseous state of water. Air is measured by its moisture or humidity.

Air has the form of bubbles. Bubbles carry stuff. Sand in sand storms. Dirt in dust storms. Soot from fires - smoke. The air is self cleaning, when it rains, pollutants return to the ground.

Water is the liquid state of water. Water has the form of full bubbles or drops. If water is given energy it releases air bubbles. Watch water as it is poured into a glass, see the bubbles rise. The ocean waves release bubbles. The oceans creates the air we breathe.

Oxygen and nitrogen and the other atmospheric gases are manmade gases and they exist only while contained. Products of air NOT constituents of air.

Snippets from my article titled

We breathe air not oxygen


Expand full comment
May 16, 2023·edited May 16, 2023

1. "Why should people who pay the most in the US for a commodity have to tolerate using it only at certain times?"

First, I'm not suggesting that electricity consumers be obligated to use electricity in off peak hours. Second, Californian residential electricity consumers do not pay the most for electricity. Various New England states, New York State and Hawaii pay more.


2. "If the answer is to avoid blackouts then the problem is with the provider not the user."

Using off peak electricity for drying clothes, something that for many people would make almost no difference to their quality of life, is not to avoid blackouts. It is to reduce California's CO2 footprint. At the moment, and for the foreseeable future, a larger portion of peak power generation (between approximately 4pm and 10pm) in California is met with combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs). CCGTs generate CO2. For willing electricity consumers, the advantage of drying clothes in off peak is that it would reduce the amount of CO2 emitted.

Peak demand cannot be met with wind and solar for several reasons. One is that some of the peak demand occurs during and after sunset. Another is that, unlike CCGTs, wind and solar cannot be quickly brough online in phase with the electric grid in a matter of tens of minutes. So building out wind and solar will not, for the immediate future, answer the demand of generating power in California between 4pm and 10pm in the evening.

3. "Consumers in California are inundated with information to reduce usage at peak times."

I live in California so am aware of various efforts to communicate with California energy consumers. Most of these efforts implore Californians to use less energy on hot summer days. In Northern California where I live, this occurs for a few weeks a year. Most Californians think this is because of the risk of blackouts. In fact, PG&E has brought some parts of the grid in Northern California offline not because of a lack of generating capacity, but because of the fire risk of wind toppling trees onto power lines.

All of that being said, on most hot summer days, especially in Southern California, the demand for power during peak is met and there are no blackouts. But we are still driving up the amount of CO2 generated when we use power during peak (at least with the existing system of CCGT generation.)

Most California energy consumers are not aware of this. At least for some of us, it would not be a big deal to more evenly distribute energy consumption out of the peak energy window between 4pm and 10pm.

4. " . . . a grid that has been made less reliable by intermittent renewables."

It is what it is. But even without wind and solar, we would still have a peak energy demand in the evening.

There is no free lunch, but when possible, doing my laundry at 7am instead of 6pm is, at least, a free snack.

Expand full comment

On a more immediate and practical level for California, several years ago, I sat through several days of an IEEE discussion about power generation in California. Several of the attendees had been senior executives at PG&E and were willing to talk to me directly about the realities of power generation in California. One of the most obvious fixable problems is that peak power demand in California occurs on hot summer days in the late afternoon.

California has been very busy subsidizing rooftop solar and electric vehicles. There are occasional call outs to reduce energy consumption. But three things that increase power demand on hot days have not been widely addressed:

Use of air conditioning

Use of washers and dryers during peak power demand

Use of dishwashers during peak power demand

1 is not so easy to address, but 2 and 3 are very easy. I’ve never seen an advertising campaign to ask people to delay running their washers and dryers and dishwashers until after midnight. Most of these appliances now have a delay timer and could easily be run at night or early morning when there is less demand for power.

Expand full comment

I understand running a (quiet) dishwasher at night. But washer and dryer? After washing clothes I always put them in the dryer. I’d wait the next day to do that? Also washers and dryers are pretty loud and make it more difficult for me to fall asleep.

Expand full comment

Southern California Daily Energy Report


Yesterday, in Southern California, peak demand for power occurred between 4pm and 10pm.

Expand full comment
May 16, 2023·edited May 16, 2023

There are less than 30 peak power days in California in a single year. Many people have a washer/dryer with a delay timer that could be timed to start washing just after midnight or early in the morning when the overall demand for power in California is low. There is a noise issue for those people that live in an apartment or small house, but for many people, it would be no inconvenience at all to delay doing their laundry until the peak power window is passed.

Most people don't even know about the energy profile in California. Better information about when peak power occurs would enable California power consumers to make better power consumption decisions.

In California, generation of power at peak is met disproportionately with generators powered by natural gas:


Burning natural gas to generate power emits greenhouse gases. The only way to mitigate this in real terms is to sequester the carbon. So far, there is no easy way to do this.

Given this, I am surprised that California doesn't do more to educate and enable power consumers to use their appliances, and charge their vehicles, at off peak times.

Again, it is true that some consumers won't be able to do this. But some could, yet are not provided sufficient information to make the choice to do this.

Expand full comment

Your viewpoint begs the question of why. Why should people who pay the most in the US for a commodity have to tolerate using it only at certain times? If the answer is to avoid blackouts then the problem is with the provider not the user. In addition, consumers in California are inundated with information to reduce usage at peak times. Information is not the issue - its a grid that has been made less reliable by intermittent renewables.

Expand full comment

Californian residential customers do not pay the highest electricity rates. Most New England states, New York, and Hawaii pay more.

Expand full comment

It is not to avoid blackouts. It is to voluntarily, when it is not an inconvenience, use electricity outside the window where California is deriving most of its electricity with CCGT (natural gas turbines). This occurs in the evening.

Californians may be inundated with information about reducing energy at peak, but they are not told that energy at peak is generated to a larger degree from burning natural gas (which has a CO2 footprint).

Expand full comment

Respectfully, natural gas ( and mostly high carbon imports are highest in the evening after midnight and then ramp down starting at around 6am as renewables come online. See the ISO today website. If the concern is to use less CO2 then the best time to do laundry is during peak renewable supply.

Your reply that California doesnt have the highest electric rates in country is factual yet evades the actuality that (leaving Hawaii as an outlier) Cali rates are within a cent per kilowatt of NewEngland and is one of the highest in the nation. The point remains, the grid and the companies that make money from it must support consumers, not the other way around.

Expand full comment

"Your reply that California doesnt have the highest electric rates in country is factual yet evades the actuality that (leaving Hawaii as an outlier) Cali rates are within a cent per kilowatt of NewEngland and is one of the highest in the nation."

Here are the residential rates by state:


California's residential rate: 27.07 per kilowatt hour

States with higher residential rates:

Connecticut 34.32 per kilowatt hour

Massachusetts 32.13 per kilowatt hour

New Hampshire 31.03 per kilowatt hour

Rhode Island 29.09 per kilowatt hour

Hawaii 44.24 per kilowatt hour

In any case, I'm not the CPUC, and didn't set the pricing for California's electricity.

Expand full comment

"natural gas ( and mostly high carbon imports are highest in the evening after midnight and then ramp down starting at around 6am as renewables come online. "

Obviously, the sun doesn't shine before sunrise. (And large scale storage is almost non-existent). So yes, the best time to dry laundry (and charge electric vehicles if you use the grid to charge a vehicle) is in the morning and early afternoon.

Expand full comment

For people who live in large houses and don't hear the appliances -- I still don't understand how they'd both wash and dry their clothes. If they program the washer to wash in the middle of the night, when power demand is low, then when do they dry them? Do they put the load in the dryer and program it to run in the middle of the day when solar power generation is high? Or do you have other approaches in mind?

Expand full comment

I live a small house and have a GE washer/dryer. (It washes and dries in the same machine.) I load it up before I go to bed and time it to start at 7am.

In fact, the power demand on most hot days doesn't go toward peak until the afternoon.

There are a lot of incentive programs to get people to install solar panels and buy electric vehicles, but none that I know of to encourage people to go toward appliances where they could do their laundry in off peak ie. not between 4pm and 10pm in the evening.

Again, in California, peak power demand is met disproportionately through generators that burn natural gas.

Expand full comment

I didn't know about such machines, they sound convenient.

So what do you do if you want to wash more than one load? Do you wash them over multiple days? I usually do all my loads during the same weekend afternoon when I clean and run errands.

Expand full comment

I agree that it is a problem if you have multiple loads to do in one day. But it is only that window between about 4pm and 10pm on hot days when everyone has their air conditioner running that are the real problem for peak power demand in California.

There are a lot of new versions of washer/dryers. Best Buy has them. In my house, we have used both LG and GE versions of combined washer/dryers. I recommend looking into consumer reports before buying one. On the LG version we had, the pump kept breaking. It was replaceable, but still, somewhat time consuming to replace.

Even with a conventional washer and dryer, if some people avoided using at least the dryer between 4pm and 10pm on hot days, it would make a difference. (In general, dryers use more energy than washers.)

Expand full comment

More important than even clothes washers, LBJ saw what the lack of electricity to pump water did to his mother and all Texas hill country women, having to haul water to the homestead for daily use. He said she looked 20 years older than her actual age in her 30s'. He campaigned and won on this issue as a young legislator.

Expand full comment

Now, if only we can get Nikola Tesla's free energy devices up and running worldwide!

Expand full comment

Indeed, and this is one of the many reasons why I am VERY suspicious of the motives of relatively privileged neo-Luddites from the Global North. Also note how the most zealous neo-Luddites, or at least the leading ones, tend to be....wait for it....MEN.

Expand full comment

It is so naive, if not evil, to close down low cost nuclear and nat gas power in the name of helping people or globe.

Doublely naive when one realizes that replacements for these, ie coal, lead to higher co2 in atmosphere.

Another impact of closing down clean conventional energy is demand suppression through higher costs electricity, or blackouts. This has even great social damage.

In “wealthy” locals like California and NY, the damage is mostly economic, as budgets for teachers’ salaries, community housing, and gifted students programs and graduate programs at top state universities are impinged, or taxes on employers and innovative corporations increased.

But as Bengali story implies, in rural undeveloped locals, the burden of making cheap electricity unattainable is far more than economic, it impacts society, culture and social justice.

Expand full comment
May 14, 2023·edited May 14, 2023

Thanks for this!

My husband's grandmother, Marika, who lived in the Pindos mountains of Greece, spent much of her life washing clothes by hand, washing dishes, hauling water with a donkey from the local spring, rounding up firewood, and raising five children. Her village was gradually electrified in the 1970s and 80s, but by that time, she was already a grandmother. She too was very smart, but given the demand for physical labor, education was out of reach.

Even in my own lifetime here in Western North America, the development of highly reliable dishwashers and integrated washer/dryer machines have further reduced the burden of labor on women.

Still, some things don't change. Childcare is still labor intensive and rewarding. I'm happy I got an advanced degree in electrical engineering, and love working as an electronics design engineer, but I would not have traded away the years I spent as a stay-at-home mom to have had a CV that has the work profile of a man.

Expand full comment

Sparkies rule.

Expand full comment

After reading your essay and that it is also Mother's Day, I thought back to my own mother, a newly arrived immigrant in the US in the 1920's who was pulled out of school by her father so that the family could make ends meet despite the availability of electricity. She regretted that her entire life but recognized the importance of education in her own family.

Although your essay is factful, it oversimplifies the case about electrification and education by presenting it from a statistical perspective, and in doing so, much is overlooked. Obviously running a transmission line into a village and connecting it to a transformer is not going to change much of anything by itself. There are many attendant factors, cultural, political, etc., that need to be in place to result in a significantly positive educational outcome over time.

Expand full comment

I cannot imagine life without reliable energy.

Expand full comment