California wants to control your thermostat

The 2008 proposed building standards issued by the California Energy Commission include a requirement that new air-conditioners have a radio-controlled thermostat that cannot be overridden by the owner. This allows the state to override your settings during undefined “emergency events.” The
explicit goal of this “feature” is to prevent blackouts by preventing
people from lowering their thermostat’s temperature during heat waves.

Some thoughts:

  • The cause of environmentalism is one of the excuses being used to establish an increasingly totalitarian government in California and elsewhere.
  • The public perception of “global warming” is that of a permanent
    state of imminent catastrophe, which, like the threat of terrorism, is
    likely to be used to justify a permanent state of “emergency.”
  • The need for nanny-state thermometers is entirely a government creation. Environmental regulations have made it essentially illegal to build a new power plant in California for the last thirty years, and price controls have made it impossible for utilities to respond to changes in supply and demand.
  • Shortages are entirely a creation of the interventionist state. Imagine
    Dell running ad campaigns asking the public to “stop buying so many
    computers!” or Starbucks asking customers to “please reduce your
    caffeine intake!”
  • This development highlights the sad state of the American energy industry. While
    rapid advancement in technology allow amazing innovations such as
    remotely controlled thermostats, environmental regulations have made it
    all-but-illegal, prohibitively expensive, or legally uncertain to
    innovate in the energy sector, outside of a few, politically correct
    and subsidized technologies.
  • The remote-controlled thermostats are a genuinely useful invention. However, the proper use of the technology would be simply to continually broadcast the current energy rate. The utility could then raise the rate during peak hours and let the customer decide how to automatically limit their usage. If energy prices doubled during heat waves, blackouts would be permanently eliminated. Unfortunately, in California, price controls currently mandate that politicians and government bureaucrats, not energy producers set energy prices.