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View Diary: For electric power generation, the end of fossil fuel is in sight (215 comments)

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  •  Yes, a lot of the gap can be made up with (14+ / 0-)

    conservation rather than usage.  

    Here's how electric bills work in Mexico, where the CFE (a government-owned generating/distribution company) sets the rules:

    First off, there are various tiers for agricultural, for business, for residential, but the overall scheme is this for residential (city or rural):

    1)  Lowest rate class is subsidized by the government.  Charges are around 5 to 7 cents (US) per Kilowatt Hour (KWH), much lower than US rates.   The amount of usage, a few hundred KWH, is designed to let the poorest people afford a couple light bulbs, a refrigerator, a fan or two, maybe a TV or other small consumers.   Many of these consumers live in thatched huts, shacks or tiny concrete block homes of 2-3 rooms total.

    2) Mid-rate class is subsidized by the government a bit, so it runs around 10-12 cents per KWH, very similar to US rates.   This class is intended for those middle class families who might have a ceiling fan in every room, fridge, several lights in several rooms, tv, several various appliances like microwave, etc.

    3) High rate class is not subsidized and depending on amount of usage can become expensive.  If you are using more than, say for example, 1000 KWH per month, you are thrown into the High Rate Class.  This means bills of 30 cents (US) or more per KWH.  

    It is a very expensive JUMP in price.  And, you are stuck in that rate class until an entire years' worth of your usage is below 1000 KWH per month.

    The thinking is that people who need that much electricity (for AC or for whatever) are wealthy people and they can afford to help pay the cost of generating electricity for others.  Also, the higher rates put pressure on people to lower their usage, so that less generating capacity needs to be built.

    You'd be surprised at what spoiled Americans can do to trim their lifestyle excesses when faced with electricity at triple the cost of the USA.  Conservation becomes an everyday habit when you are trying to avoid penalty rate high usage levels.

    *Note;  This is a very generalized discussion.  The CFE actually has many rate tables and they vary by part of the country, season of the year, etc.  

    But this is the general principle:  Wealthy, heavy users pay much higher rates.  Conservation efforts flow as a result.  Compact fluorescent bulbs, for example, were common across Mexico before most homes ever had them in the USA.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:48:16 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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