Tag: National Grid

The Evolution of the Light Bulb

The though hit me today. We light our homes with a far different technology than we did in the 20th century.

First was the incandescent bulb:

Pretty wasteful – a lot of the energy went toward making heat more so than light.

For the most part they got replaced by Compact Fluorescent bulbs:

The CFL did better on power sure – but kind of toxic to dispose of them. So they got replaced by LED based bulbs.

About 3 to 5 watts less power consumption than even the CFL bulbs. The common areas like living room, bedroom, bathroom are all LED lighting

The main goal is to starve National Grid of revenue. I want to see them shrivel up and blow away.

Not looking forward to two feet of snow

Gad I hate the stuff. Actually if it just dumped two feet of it on the ground I’d be ok with it. But this one is allegedly a blizzard which means attendant high winds.

And that translates to power outages lasting days. I swear – I’ve had more power outages where we live now than when we lived on other parts of Federal Hill. But then it hits me – the power in those other parts was underground. Where I am now is all aerial electric plant.

Meanwhile National Grid has been tacking on distro charges and getting double digit rate increases more times in the past few years that I’d like to count. As such I think the RI Public Utilities Commission and the RI Legislature need to get in on the act and say that National Grid has bury as much as they can.

National Grid: They don’t even have the guts to show the therm factor anymore

So latest gas bill game. Everything is measured in therms now. And it’s applied on the distribution side too. So in essence that’s a nice big markup that national grid is getting. I mean the value of the gas is the same whether I use it for natural gas sculpture or to heat a home. But that therm factor is applied to the distribution side too. So in essence we’re paying a marked up price for infrastructure.

Now that the cable companies are about to get handed their own ass I’d like to start going after the energy companies.

National Grid Sucks

There I said it. They should be broken up post haste.

For example they want another double digit increase in the price of electricity in Rhode Island. They say it’s restricted gas supply from the two pipelines that supply us. I call bullshit as the Port of Providence gets regular deliveries of Compressed Natural Gas.

So try again National Grid. I’m lobbying my elected representatives to take another look at re-regulating you guys at National Grid. And I’m encouraging friends to do the same. I want SERIOUS regulation of the incumbent power provider.

But I think the real reason for your rate increases is due to the adoption of clean energy projects all over the state. For example – I see a number of wind turbines up as I drive along I-95 between Providence and Warwick, RI. Each of those turbines produces approximately 1 megawatt. There are about a dozen of those babies now dotting the highway, the biggest installation is the three turbines at Fields Point sewage processing plant.

Plus I see a lot more solar going up on houses. This all chips away at National Grid’s revenue stream. So much so that the leading investment houses see a very dim future for incumbent power providers like National Grid. I guess National Grid is in a tough spot – declining revenue and declining investment spell fire sale sooner than later.

And I have to say it, the “Here with you, here for you!” campaign is only so much bovine effluent.

So in the end I want to see National Grid fully regulated. It may be the only way they can stave off their own demise.

What National Grid Sucks Part XXVII

So before I got this job things were tight. To the point where natural gas service was cut off with an $1,100 balance. I’d paid that off but trying to get National Grid to re-connect the service is proving to be an exercise in pissing me off.

And actually when they cut the gas off now – they just turn the valve to the off or vertical position and then insert a tubular lock through it.

So I’m waiting to see when the next gas bill comes – if they charge for the re-connect and they didn’t connect it. Becuase I have paid the $47 and ordered the tool used to open the tubular locks. And I can turn the gas service on by myself.

Plus National Grid scheduled the re-connect for a Friday. Yeah you know what wasn’t going to happen. Be a fun call as I’ll give them one more chance to turn it back on or as I said, I’ll do it my damned self.

Add to the fact that I couldn’t contact National Grid on Friday evening – so now I have to wait until Monday morning to call and bitch them out.

But I’m going to go further – not only am I going to write my legislators about perhaps removing the deregulation legislation from electric and gas providers, but also implementing penalties for non-service. Have a little fun with it.

The Great Blizzard of 2013

So as you might be aware, we had ourselves a little blizzard here in the northeast. 2 to 3 feet of snow, 50 and 60 MPH winds, power outages, heating outages.

For example, our power ceased functioning at 7PM on Friday. We spent most of Saturday in a cold house but then our friends power came on so we’re staying with them.

And here we are three days out and no electric power. This means I’m going to rip National Grid a new one.

For example here’s something to ponder. I know Verizon’s copper and fiber are up and running, so too Cox’s coax network. So explain to me how National Grid’s service is SO fragile yet the other services are up and running.

And then you have the nitwits saying it’d cost $400 Billion to bury all the wire in the U.S. So do it! Leave Verizon and Cox on the pole and bury every last bit of the electrical infrastructure. I mean, what’s on the poles now is over a hundred year old technology. It’s time we modernize.

Highways are all clear down to pavement and they’re still touching up here and there on I-95. Local roads are atrocious for example one street near where I live still has two foot deep snow on it, the street I live on has just a narrow little band plowed on it. It needs to be fixed – my city Councilor Bryan Principe is being proactive – there are bucket loaders and plows going around the area now cleaning up.

And BTW, I I get just a little money I have a mission in life  – to break National Grid into a million little pieces. And while I’m at it, I want to put shots across the bow of Verizon and Cox too. It’s good to have a mission.

Power Outage

So around 1:30PM the power cut out completely. We’ve had pretty reliable power here, storms come and go and the power stays on.

Well today it was a failure of what looks to me like a fusible link that couples the 480VAC service down to the transformer and 125VAC service.

Didn’t hear it go off as I had headphones on with music playing. But I’m told it made a huge bang. And when I got out to see it, the thing was smoldering away.

Even the Providence Fire Department showed up. They cordoned off a section near the pole not knowing what happened. They also called National Grid. Plus I called and I know a few neighbors called.

So I showered and left the house. Came back two hours later and the power was back on. Looked at the pole and a brand new link was on the pole. But now I know how power flows. It comes in from the south for us.

It’s funny how power failure can kind of give you insights into how it all works.

Franken throws down regarding Net Neutrality!

If you’ve been reading for some time you know I’m a supporter of net neutrality and the FCC’s move to put the ISP’s into the common carrier column. It makes sense since in addition to data, video and telecom services run over the net. That makes them common carriers.

If you don’t understand net neutrality I’ll do a what-if for you.

What if Cox decided tomorrow to seriously degrade port 5060 TCP and UDP traffic. That’s the port used by SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) to setup VoIP calls? To me that would be a big no-no but Cox has a vested interest because they too offer phone service, overpriced phone service at that.

Or it could be Comcast blocking BitTorrent traffic, or any number of egregious behaviors by ISP’s who sold us UNLIMITED connections and are now trying to renege on the deal.

Franken really rips em’ though.

He begins with his usual deadpan:

“I believe that net neutrality is the First Amendment issue of our time, unless it’s freedom of religion, which, until last week, I thought we had kind of worked out.”

That last part in reference to the mosque they want to build NEAR the WTC disaster site.

But my absolute favorite part, which you must read even if you don’t read the source article:

“The FCC would publish an annual report on the effect of these additional services,” the proposal recommends, “and immediately report if it finds at any time that these services threaten the meaningful availability of broadband Internet access services.”

Franken had choice words for this plan, none of them good.

Google and Verizon’s scheme empowers the FCC to, “get this—’publish a report’,” he dryly commented, while his audience laughed again.

“But there’s an even bigger issue here. It’s that when government will not act, corporations will. And unlike government agencies, which have a legal responsibility to protect American consumers, the only thing corporations care about, the only thing that they have a legal duty to promote, is their bottom line.”

“We can’t let companies write the rules that they’re supposed to follow,” Franken added, “because if that happens those rules are going to be written only to protect corporations.”

So true. We cannot trust a corporation to police its own activities. It’s sort of like the two foxes and the chicken discussing what to have for dinner tonight.

Look at the past abuses of corporations. I was speaking with a co-worker today and she and I both expressed the same level of outrage about the dominant energy distributor/provider here in RI, National Grid.

For natural gas they use a ‘therm’ factor which is cubic feet times something. In other words this translates to a “Because we can” fee.

Once you de-regulate, be it energy, net services, phone services, etc. you can see what happens.

So regulate the net. It’s about damned time that we got a regulation for net neutrality.

Someone gets it! The ludicrous nature of National Grid requests

There seems to be a general sense of outrage against corporate interference in our lives and our government. it’s not something you’ll ever see in the mainstream media, you have to be able to think for yourself and realize that all this time we’ve never had control of our government during the last century and a half. Instead, we’ve seen the ascendancy of the corporation as ruler.

Read up on the history of what General Motors did to striking workers in the 1920’s. They essentially paid thugs to beat the crap out of those seeking better working conditions and pay. Nice huh? People say you can’t battle a nameless, faceless corporation. Not true, those corporations have two things that we can use to control them.

The first is that the officers of the company have liability. We’ve seen this over and again when the heads of corporations have been put on trial, sentenced, and served their time. But I don’t think this is quite good enough as the corporation goes on and on, barely buffeted by the event.

Instead, I’d like to see revocation of corporate charter. Without that you can’t hide behind the false legal identity of a corporation. Without that charter it would be necessary to liquidate corporate assets. Maybe take the money that was gained from liquidation and roll it into government coffers and use it to pay for universal health care, or maybe fix our crumbling infrastructure.

Maybe it’s because I’ve seen far too many instances of utility and energy companies shitting upon their customers, and the customers paying for the ‘privilege’.

National Grid’s request for a rate increase to cover losses incurred through conservation efforts, when also coupled with their request that the ratepayers finance their advertising campaign to get more customers to switch to natural gas is just the icing on the cake.

It goes back to when it was Narragansett Electric. They were just beginning the I-195 relocation project and it involved moving high tension electric wires that ran over India Point Park. A long and lengthy battle ensued with the end result being that we the customer paid to bury those ugly cables.

How about the wasted effort and energy expenditure by the chief counsel for environmental affairs at the Department of Attorney General. I wouldn’t want to see Mike Rubin out of a job, but the crap he goes through just to get what was then PG&E to install scrubbers and water coolers is ridiculous.

It’s been proven time and again that installing scrubbers and other technologies would be a small cost for utility and energy companies. But through their insipid resistance, we see a change in our ecosystem. Cold water fish are migrating further out from Narragansett bay, all because a power plant operator doesn’t want to spend a little cash.

Put it this way, go down by National Grid’s power plant in downtown Providence and look at the water near it in the dead of January. Notice it’s still liquid and flowing? That’s the waste heat from the power plant. Even they won’t cool the water down before discharge.

Of course corporations in general don’t realize that if you keep stretching people, they’re going to break at some point and when they do, there go the profits.

I was talking to my father about this. He wants to go off grid with solar and wind but I explained to him that he should keep a close eye on the actions of the incumbent energy provider. Why? Read what I’ve written above about revenue protection measures for National Grid. Lets say my father goes off-grid and sells power BACK to the power company.

No way in hell he’d get from the company what he pays them for electricity. He’d be lucky if he got half. And I told him that he shouldn’t put it past the company to enact a tax the penalizes those going off grid. At least not when they have the stones that National Grid has where they asked for more money because of a revenue drop off due to conservation.

It’s similar to friends of ours. They have a cute house in the southern half of RI that uses a cesspool. Yet they still pay a sewer assessment because the pipe for the sewer runs past their house. I find it hard to believe the employees of the Warwick water board can keep a straight face when they tell people that even though they aren’t hooked up to the system, they still have to pay for it.

Anyhow I’m not the only one who gets it. Apparently Mr. Charles Pinning gets it too. This is why you have to read the editorial sections of the newspapers. Sometimes a gem like this pops up. But Pinning does have a reputation for being a crank, as evidenced in this google search.

Charles Pinning: What to tell National Squid

01:00 AM EDT on Saturday, September 20, 2008


THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT time of the year for me,” she said. “Don’t mind it if I buy you a box of crayons.”

It was Labor Day weekend, and she looked across to him. Her eyes were red and wet. Her daughters were grown-up and off on their own, but she talked about how much she had enjoyed getting them ready for school each year.

Fresh tears rolled forth. “Shall we visit them?” he asked.

She shook her head. “It’s not that. . . . I was at the Shaw’s in East Providence today . . . and the people — oh my God!”

“Just horrible-looking?”

She nodded.

“I don’t see these people. . . . I go to Whole Foods . . . East Side Market. God! They just looked — Aaaah! . . . ”


She nodded again. “They were so skinny. . . .This one little man, his jeans were all bunched up behind,” and she pressed the heels of her palms together to show how small his bottom was. “Or they’re so fat!” she said, spreading her hands apart. “And their faces. . . . I have never seen faces like that. And they were filling their baskets with crappy food, and paying out their dollars one at a time. But they had their re-usable bags. That has been drummed into them. They are trying . . . but they don’t know where to begin. Go to Shaw’s — that’s where the rubber really meets the road.”

“I know, darlin’, ” he sympathized. “I’ve spent the last 25 years of my life living on the west side of Providence, seeing it every day.” “And the children crying and the mother’s slapping them and screaming at them and cursing and saying, ‘C’mon!’ ”

“I know, sweetheart. . . . It’s about education . . . and parents raising their children responsibly. Being home with them. Spending time with them. Reading to them. Guiding them responsibly. And being given a chance. They just. . . .” and she held her hands out, palms up, shifting them back and forth.

“Right — they’re always kept off-balance. It is the goal of corporations to do this. Deny traction, and you keep people herky-jerky, running in place and churning profits for you. Listen to this:” (He picked up the newspaper.)

“August 27, Business section, front page, headline: ‘National Grid asks rate hike of about 5 percent.’ It goes on to say . . . ‘National Grid also wants the Public Utilities Commission to restructure distribution rates in a way that would protect the company from revenue losses that result from the conservation efforts of its customers.’

“Got that? The raping has been so blatant for so long that National Squid feels it can come straight out and essentially say, ‘You can conserve all you want. We’re still going to squeeze the same amount of money out of you! We’re just shifting the charges to another area.’

“It’s the same thing that the Narragansett Bay Commission is trying to pull by asking the PUC to raise rates because of revenue loss due to customers’ conserving water over the past three years. People logically think they’re going to save a few bucks by using less water or less natural gas — but no! The utilities . . . Narragansett Bay . . . they’re petitioning the PUC to get the same level of bucks they want no matter how much water or gas you use. Where’s the incentive to conserve? We might as well keep nice and cozy and warm, or use as much water as we want because they’re gonna get the same amount of money, whether you use five therms of gas or five hundred; a thimbleful of water or a hundred gallons a day!

“How do I make it clear to people that these corporations have people on a gerbil wheel? That instead of being rewarded for doing the right thing, you will be punished.”

“Say it just the way you said it.”

“But will people hear it? Will they see that we are taking a screwing, so that Grid can show profits to its shareholders and pay its CEO Steve Holliday $3.6 million a year . . . so that Narragansett Bay can continue to funnel hundreds of millions to construction companies to dig a billion-dollar hole in the ground?”

“Just keep on telling it. Also, try to mention that natural gas belongs to everybody — National Grid only delivers it.”

“Oh, sweetheart — the Cherokee in you is coming out.” That brought the tears afresh.

Charles Pinning is a Providence-based writer.

Why National Grid has a monopoly in Rhode Island

The following letter appeared in the Providence Journal today. There’s a wide misconception about what deregulation actually did in RI as opposed to what people thought it would do.

Rick Giannni: Why the National Grid monopoly?

01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dismayed at the rate increase imposed by both National Grid and the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, I have a question to ask.

Why are Rhode Islanders tolerating this company that has a monopoly on electric and gas service? In the past, if you had a home telephone, you were forced to use the local provider. Now you can get home telephone service through various phone companies, your cable company and other companies.

So I ask the PUC this question: When will I ever be able to pick my electric and gas provider?

If we as consumers had a choice to pick the energy delivered to our homes by using alternate providers, it would force National Grid to become more competitive in its pricing. Until the legislature and the PUC step in to rectify this, we all have to get our gas and electricity through the National Grid energy cartel.



Unfortunately National Grid in both it’s electric and gas services is what is called a natural monopoly in economics circles. What it basically means is that it would foolish to setup duplicate systems. In the case of telecommunications, we figured out how to stuff more information down the same pipe so all it took were telephone and CATV lines.

This is why my video and phone services come via a net connection from Cox. Why pay Verizon for phone services when I can control my monthly costs via VoIP providers? Or for that matter why pay Cox for video service when there are a plethora of net based video services that don’t cost anything.

Of course now we’re seeing CATV providers like Time Warner and Comcast trying out metered bandwidth. I think the reason that irks me is because the companies mentioned KNOW their service is being used for the things I describe above. Did they not think that eventually the net would kill video and phone providers?

Back when the RI Legislature bent to the pressure of the electric and gas utility lobbies they deregulated the services, in the case of electric separating the distribution charges from the energy charges. The same theory was applied to natural gas distribution.

There are myriad problems with what the RI legislature did but I’ll discuss just a few.

Rhode Island is too damned small for deregulation to work. In essence the state reduced the role of the PUC and transfered regulation to the federal government.

The system was designed so any generating company could provide power to the consumer, while the consumer paid the distribution costs plus energy. It’s just that in the case of National Grid all the alternative energy providers are far more expensive than the incumbent. That’s just economies of scle kicking in there.

But the game is rigged so that National Grid NEVER absorbs a loss. Under regulation they absorbed the loss on a regular basis. I say this because I know that the burial of overhead power lines at India Point in Providence. National Grid fought tooth and nail to make the taxpayers responsible for paying for the burial. It was quite a spectacle.

I will say thought that National Grid did inherit a system in distress with regard to both electric and gas distribution. They’ve been replacing transformers, high tension lines, etc. over the past couple of years as well as replacing iron gas feeders with PVC. That’s what happens when you don’t perform due diligence.

And remember economies of scale? It’s because national grid is so big that they can offer what is the lowest rate per kWh of all the providers. But as there are economies of scale, there are also dis economies of scale. The bigger you get, the more expensive it gets to deliver your services.

When it was little Narragansett Electric it was a local company, and they did a fair job of keeping everything running. National Grid is feeling the pain and I say that’s a good thing. Maybe they’ll sell off the RI operations to an independent investors group who’ll stop the craziness.