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default Rising prices

Post by Chilli-head 3rd February 2022, 12:02 pm

Well, it is the talk of the moment. Prices for energy, food, well, everything.

I have argued that energy is too cheap for quite a while. If you consider 1kWh of electricity as worth 10 hours to sustained manual work, it is obviously not by any means expensive. So maybe this had to happen sooner or later. Is this the beginning of the realisation that we can''t treat natural resources as free and inexhaustible ? Or is it just someone up the chain profiteering ?

I have this suspicion, first sparked by petrol prices but now energy in general, that the relatively few companies that control supplies control prices to their advantage, Not so much illegal price fixing, but that when the suppliers are few and greedy, the normal process of competition keeping down prices goes into reverse; instead of looking over their shoulder thinking "are we being undercut by our competitors" they think "what can we just about get away with charging before looking so expensive people notice and go elsewhere".

I would love it to be driven by the recognition of the value of the earth's resources, but I have my doubts ...
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Post by Dandelion 6th February 2022, 4:28 pm

...and when fuel prices go up, it raises the prices of anything which needs to be delivered. (i.e most things!) I hope that someone, somewhere is taking an in-depth look at the realistic effects of changing the way we heat our houses, travel from A to B and provide power to our factories. I'm getting really fed-up with pronouncements from the top, giving a date by which (for instance) all petrol cars will cease to be sold, but not seeming to have any kind of plan for providing these new cars with charging points. Another example is the change to heat pumps for houses: a lady wrote to Any Answers (radio4) to ask how her flat would be heated, seeing she owned a property on the fourth floor of a block of flats. Am I naïve to hope that there is a team of people working on such problems?

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head 6th February 2022, 8:20 pm

Indeed. It seems superficially like an easy solution to outlaw gas boilers in favour of heat pumps. But they aren't a drop in replacement; the higher the temperature gradient they have to pump against, the less effective they are. So big radiators, preferably underfloor heating, and top notch insulation are a must. So what of a house like mine with solid brick walls ? Insulate the inside, and we lose a bedroom. Insulating the outside is problematic too.

And on top of that, the electricity to power all this stuff - heatpumps, cars etc is still ~50% generated ... by burning gas.

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Post by Ploshkin 7th February 2022, 8:49 pm

I'm sure you're right about the big companies Chilli Head. I also think that decisions are influenced by who donates to political parties.
Mr P used to work on the highways. Amongst manybthings I remember him complaining about having to use an inferior material for road surfacing that had a 7 year lifespan instead of the one used previously which lasted 20 years. The new one was considerably more than a third of the price but was produced by a large and influential company.
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Post by Dandelion 8th February 2022, 8:48 am

I hadn't realised about the uselessness of heat pumps in an old, solid walled house until I read an article about it yesterday. We did have the kitchen walls insulated on the inside when we had it done up last year, but after the disruption and mess it made, the thought (and cost...) of having every room in the house internally insulated is very daunting. The house is redbrick, and is in a road of similar houses, so external insulation isn't an option as it would completely change the character of the building. I can see that the government is now in a difficult position - they have given their deadline for the phasing out of gas boilers but have done nothing to prepare buildings for heat pumps. And if they start giving proper grants for insulation, will they then feel that they have fallen into the clutches of Insulate Britain by doing so? (We looked into getting loft insulation under one of the previous government schemes - the process was a bit of an eye-opener. We have a loft conversion with good insulation, but there are two sections of roof not included in the loft room which need better insulation. The firm who came to look at the job said that because it was a restricted space, it wasn't something they would do, and we would have to buy the materials and do it ourselves. But aren't lofts usually full of restricted spaces??)

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Dandelion 8th February 2022, 8:50 am

Ploshkin wrote:I'm sure you're right about the big companies Chilli Head.  I also think that decisions are influenced by who donates to political parties.
Mr P used to work on the highways.  Amongst manybthings I remember him complaining about having to use an inferior material for road surfacing that had a 7 year lifespan instead of  the one used previously which lasted 20 years.  The new one was considerably more than a third of the price but was produced by a large and influential company.

You couldn't make it up...

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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