mercredi 28 mai 2008

Lights out

I'm crock enough to remember the promises we got in the seventies that electricity would be so cheap in the future, "The year 2000 imagine that young man!", that it wouldn't be worthwhile metering it. I didn't believe them, but it seemed a cool idea at the time along with back-pack booster travel and other Tomorrow's World garbage. Yeah, ok, the technology worked - out but did anyone predict just how boring it would be?

Besides and anyway, the electricity 'promise' was just a load of propaganda on behalf of Nuclear Electricity boffins, of course, - I've still got a 'Atoms for Energy!' badge somewhere - but it's dream of unceasing profit hit a bump yesterday with "Britain suffer[ing] its worst blackouts in a decade."
(I've had a few Tuesday blackouts in my time but this seemed like one totally different bender altogether).
Apparently, "Half a million people were hit by unscheduled power cuts on Tuesday after seven power stations, including Sizewell B in Suffolk, unexpectedly stopped working within hours of each other." The 'unscheduled' is a reassuring touch there. One remarkable feature of this episode is the fact that seven power stations stopped working all at the same time. Someone must be able to work out the maths for thie probability of this type of 'coincidence' but the numbers involved must be pretty high to astronomical. (Yep, a bit like a 2008 electricity bill-o-meter, those bastard contraptions on the walls of rented flats that you can watch all your money slowly count down and evaporate). "According to David Porter, chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, the disruption was due to a "gigantic coincidence"."
Now I'm no conspiracy theorist, but how the hell do seven plants all pack up at the same time?

The Guardian report makes it fairly clear that the fck p affected people all over England but spends the majority of its report talking about the effect this unevent will have on share prices, the price of electricity (..."The outages forced the price of wholesale electricity up 35% to a new record high of £95 a MW hour" - "Wow thanks Mr.Free Market Man!") and at one point decended into neo-lib gothic to describe the financial consequences,"In its financial results for the 12 months to March 31, published this morning, British Energy blamed these problems for a drop in earnings before interest before tax, depreciation and amortisation, which fell to £882m from £1.2bn last year." amort-fucking what-isation?

Essentially, then, the hardware's all fckd p and the cheps at BE are going to have to queue up behind Northern Crock in front of muggins taxpayer for a hand-out. The free market turn illustrates its real concerns again and shows how stupid the electricity privatisation was, how supine and pointless New Labout is and how the power grid should be taken back under workers' control and the snouts in the trough that run the whole cash printing press/generators taken to a cliffside somewhere and shot.

The promise back in 1974 came true, inversed and for someone else.

Update : "Details of its failures are kept under wraps by ministers keen to persuade the public that the answer to both energy security and climate change lies in more nuclear plants. Yet it has always been the most expensive way of producing electricity and has been given huge public subsidies, the report argues." Professors of the Obvious unite.