Price Gouging Ahead


Concerning the March 16, 2001 article "Energy Boss Says State Summer Blackouts 'Appear Inevitable'" by Carolyn Lochhead. I just thought I'd give you a heads up on the implications of what Feinstein is reported to have predicted. She predicted that electricity prices will reach $5,000 a megawatt hour this summer due to shortages and the resulting gouging by out of state suppliers.

Hmm. That's $5 per kilowatt hour which is $5 per 3.6 million watt seconds. A gallon of gasoline yeilds an energy content of about 30 million watt seconds when burned with an overall efficiency of about 25%. This leads to the following price comparison: $5 per kilowatt hour times 30 million watt seconds per gallon is over $42 per gallon.

This during a time when the price of oil is not particularly high. What should we do if, for whatever reason, it comes to this?

Incidentally, using the same equivalence criteria, the current residential rate of $0.11 per kWH is like paying $0.90 per gallon which seems a bit low (but not crazy considering how "mass market" electricity is).

David Woolsey
Berkeley, California

Page first created Friday, March 16, 2001
Page last modified Tuesday, March 20, 2001 7:03 PM
Go back to index page.