Save $200* with the summer discount plan!

Thus screamed a recent mailer from Edison. Here's how it works: In exchange for allowing Edison to shut off my air conditioner during times of electrical crisis, they will rebate me up to $200. If I don't want an unlimited number of interruptions I can choose the "no more than 15 interruptions per summer" plan and receive $100*.

Wait a minute, I don't have air conditioning. Just last summer I installed a passive rooftop ventilation system which dropped my interior temperature by noticeable amounts after sundown, but I didn't install an AC. I didn't get a rebate, nor did I qualify for the 2006 tax credit for my efforts, which amounted to an afternoon and less than $100 of materials. Most of my neighbors don't have AC either. We take advantage of the evening breeze on hot days, and leave the windows open. If one my neighbors did get AC, then the noise might drive me to close my windows and buy an AC unit, but the number of days that require AC is really quite small and fortunately it hasn't come to that yet.

I have to conclude that this is really just a subsidy to live in an area that requires AC, such as the Inland Empire. Apparently the costs of adequate new infrastructure for the large homes favored by the hordes of new buyers in the IE so far exceed the ability to pay for them that we now have an incentive program to try to control usage. Shouldn't the increased demand from the IE be paid for by the IE?

*Edison states that savings are based on a 4.5 ton whole house AC unit. One ton equals 12,000 BTUs/hour-a term derived from the amount of energy required to melt 1 ton of ice in a day. As a point of reference, Home Depot sells a portable 1 ton AC unit for well under $1k. Rounding up to $1k even per ton for initial costs of a 4.5 ton whole-house unit means that the $200 per annum savings represents 4.4% of the initial cost of the unit. Assuming 10 years of rebates, you could expect to recoup 50% of your initial costs in that time.

I think Grace did a better job with this topic.

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