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Posts posted by Melody

  1. 8 minutes ago, CMRivdog said:

    I got into a bit of dutch with a CVS pharmacist earlier this week. She was trying to explain to an older woman a about the vaccine distribution. Either thru their website or call. She did caution the woman the phone lines were usually jammed because of the number of people trying to get appointments. I made the comment that it was like playing the lottery. The pharmacist got a bit defensive, the woman understood me perfectly.

    Meanwhile I keep checking the CVS site for local openings. Out of curiosity I checked South Carolina as well, there were a ton of openings there. I just wasn’t up for the 8 hour drive to Myrtle Beach at 10 PM. (I’m also registered here, they seem to being a decent job updating. I just wish they could give a window of opportunity or say something other than several weeks,,,)

    We had to wait a few weeks for my husband and my mom's initial appointments.   We signed them up online.

  2. 1 hour ago, Gehringer_2 said:

     Fauci said there are thousands of unused monoclonal doses just waiting for use by high risk patients. If you use them early they are very effective. If you are in a risk group and turn positive DO NOT WAIT until you feel sick!

    My brother has multiple issues that make him high risk.  When he got a positive Covid test, his doctor sent him to the ER of a local hospital for this treatment.    He was back at work in a little over a week.

  3. 7 hours ago, chasfh said:

    Which is in part why I have never set up automatic bill pay for anything: I specifically refuse to give any creditor access to my bank account.

    Ditto.  Though most of the lowest cost plans here require auto pay.  This is another reason why we have stuck with TXU and pay a little more per KwH.  I get why they do it: it mitigates risk to the company.  But when you are pinching pennies, you can't afford to have someone else's hands in your wallet uncontrolled.  

  4. I haven’t seen figures but get the impression that these wholesale energy plans are not that widespread and that the larger problem has been the cost of increased usage for those with electric heat.  When you are budgeted for temps in the fifties and have a week in the teens and single digits, your bill is going to double or more.  Also many down here have heat pumps but they don’t work in very cold outdoor temperatures and switch to full electric emergency heat when it is really cold.  Ours was a real budget buster in 83-84.   We have gas heat now.  I expect it will be the gas bill that increases for us, solely because of usage.  

    Right now the primary problems are water related including damage from burst pipes. Homes unlivable, or without water until repairs can be done. 

  5. 17 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

    Economies  exist to serve the common good as well as motivate productive activity and wealth generation. There can be socially useful economic  benefits to allowing investors to take on contractual risks, it's extremely difficult to make any kind of case that there is some conceivable economic or social upside served by letting homeowners take on ridiculous risk in their utility contracts while the down side social and economic risks for families and their communities of sudden economic hardship are real and obvious.

    It's nothing more than an ivory tower kind of commitment to market ideology which really does not even model the real world half way accurately in the case to which it's being applied.

    My understanding in the current situation down here is that the indexed plans are a small number of people, though these have had a large impact on those individuals.  Most of the complaints are increases due entirely to increased usage.  When you budget for a normal winter here but have temperatures fifty degrees below what is normal, it just costs more to heat your home.  

    We have gas heat and fully expect a $150-200 gas bill.  About twice what is normal this time of year in our area.  But that will be because of the low temperatures and how much gas it took to keep our home warm and not the electric market.  That is because of the weather, not the market.    Some may need help.  The rest need to suck it up like we will.

  6. 54 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

    But 'Lazy' isn't even a fair way to put it. Even if you had more ambition to know, there is simply no way on earth that a consumer could have known what the internal spot Nat Gas market was going to reach under what conditions or for how long. That information cannot even reasonably be said to have existed prior to the event so there was no way for anyone to have informed themselves about it or its probability regardless of their dedication to the task.

    Part of the problem here is that there a is perfectly fair and reasonable expectation that consumer products and contracts will never allow truly outrageous and irrational liabilities to accrue. Since almost every one in the civilized world does play by those rules, it's really doubly unfair when a juridiction like ERCOT is allowed to countervene them. Even when people read the "fine print' they understand it within a framework of an assumed level of good faith, plus what they can conceive to be possible, both economically and legally.

    Utility contracts with unbounded liabilities should not be made available. There are basically on a par with writing naked calls - which the average consumer would never contemplate because in that context they generally can clearly conceive the nature of the risk.

    I used "lazy," in reference to myself.  We could stalk the markets hourly and make trades or adjustments to these contracts.  (And they are essentially like stock investments.).  We consider it too much work and choose the more expensive and stable plans and investments.  But I don't expect everyone to be like us.  If they can save some money by assuming the risk and doing the work, that isn't my business until they expect me to also assume the risk they voluntarily took upon themselves.  In the same way that I don't expect any "profit," they make.     It isn't that I don't have some sympathy for those who just didn't understand what they were signing up for; if the sales techniques aren't transparent then go after that.  

  7. 2 hours ago, mtutiger said:

    For better or worse, I don't think the average consumer is thinking about the wisdom of any of these plans (ie. Fixed versus variable rate, rates at various levels of usage, etc ), they are looking at the topline price per kWh and purchasing.

    If you are informed consumer, it works. But that requires going in and evaluating numerous plans... that's generally how I have found it, but it's not the easiest thing figuring out the pricing schemes and various catches that come with each plan. Not to mention that most people don't have the time or aren't going to dedicate the time required to go through and do it right.

    In general, by nature I prefer more predictable prices, which you tend to get with larger utilities on a regulated market versus our market. But that's a personal preference, I can see why some would prefer the Texas model as well.

    We do as well, which is why we choose more conservative plans and investments.  It may cost us a bit, but it saves us all that work and inherent risk.  For most people, these griddy type plans are probably unwise.  In the same way that you don't invest your retirement funds into high risk stocks.  But there are those who are willing to do the homework and able to accept the risk and I am not convinced that they should be barred from it.


  8. We are too lazy to be that "informed," know that we are, so stuck with a more expensive provider (TXU) and plan.    We aren't fans of a bailout except perhaps the victims rather than those who just wagered poorly. Not sure how they would sort that out though.


  9. 32 minutes ago, mtutiger said:

    The long-short is that Texas' deregulated energy market allows companies to sell variable rate plans, as well as plans that are pegged to wholesale prices  (such as Griddy, which is the one largely chronicled in the Times piece).

    Fixed rate plans (which we have) are pretty common as well, and obviously do not fluctuate, so we'll be good... but anyone on a variable rate plan or Griddy will get a rude awakening next bill cycle. 

    Personally, I think the whole thing is a racket and am envious of Texans who live in co-ops that were carved out of deregulation (such as the area where my wife's parents live or in Denton, where we used to live)... you don't have competition, you pay a little more, but the service is generally more reliable

    That was't my mom's experience with co-ops in Granbury over the years.  She is so much happier with the utility service in Fort Worth despite its imperfections.

    And I think anyone signing up for a variable rate anything (whether utility, mortgage, etc.) is taking an enormous risk to save pennies.   Much less allowing them unfettered access to your bank accounts.  Our ONLY autopay is for our health insurance, but even that is for a specific contract rate.  We have to approve it again every year when the rates change.

  10. 4 hours ago, chasfh said:

    More to the point, Melody booking a room at the Hampton Inn does not have the responsibility to 29 million Texans that Ted fleeing to Mexico in luxury does.

    When you are working remotely, what the heck difference does it make where you are phoning in from?

    Man.  I don't particularly like Cruz but this, like all the right wing criticism of Obama over not cancelling vacations during various national and international crises, is just bullcrap.

    Sick of the concern over optics instead of reality.  We are in the twenty first century where they don't have to go horseback to Washington DC to do their jobs.  Utter crap, and why I loathe the Red v Blue crowd.


  11. What I do not get is how stupid people are.  The city and various entities are having to warn people not to run a generator INSIDE THEIR HOUSE!   Two guys died in an apartment doing this.   And then there was the dive team that had to go out to a lake up the street from my house this morning to make sure that nobody had fallen through the ice and died because some visitors to the park saw footprints on the frozen surface that went to the middle of the lake but none returning.   Last I heard no body found, but various neighbors were posting photos yesterday on Nextdoor of people walking on that lake.  Anyway, we are now getting warnings not to walk on the lakes or rivers.  


  12. 12 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

    This is new policy with DTE (ex Detroit Edison, the largest util in SE MI). For 80yrs is you saw trees near wires you called DTE and they came out and trimmed. Now they want a monthly surcharge on your bill to trim around your lines. How many people are going to go for that? Then next time everyone is out DTE will claim "Well we offered to trim and you wouldn't pay us". That's the kind of perfectly predictable human behavior paradox that utility monopoly investment return guarantees took care of for almost a century, but Americans are too stupid to understand when their wheel has already been already invented.

    I was told by a friend who works for one of the electric service companies that (at least at that time, some years ago) ONCOR (the delivery company) was fudging the books because they can legally maximize profit by not doing maintenance and could increase fees without going through the regulatory process to recoup storm damage repair.  In essence, it pays to neglect those of us who live in older neighborhood with large trees and overhead lines.   The new developments have all buried lines.

  13. 31 minutes ago, mtutiger said:

    Where you and I part company on this is that the situation that Cruz finds himself in isn't unique: he wouldn't be the first politician who has landed in hot water for bailing in the middle of a crisis (see: Chris Christie on the beach, for instance).

    And the thing is, he knows better. To his credit, he was front and center with Harvey to the point that he campaigned in 2018 on his advocacy for the state during that time. But that was then and this is now...

    The particular sources of power (fossil fuels or renewables) are not the reason this happened: its that the various means weren't furnished to withstand these conditions. I agree, the partisans who don't live here are idiots and should refrain from commenting 

    Fixing this is going to require more investment in winterizing... the conditions are such that one of our very conservative SW Arlington reps (Tinderholt) was on the teevee this morning talking about how we need to do more in this Legislative session to compel these sorts of changes. Hopefully that happens this time (unlike 2011)

    Unfortunately, they want an easy fix for a single issue so they can claim they "did something."  And will do nothing else.   Winters are not typically when we have energy shortages.  And winterizing the production equipment doesn't deal with our most pressing needs overall.

     I don't understand why there are some still without power in my neighborhood.  The demand crisis is past, largely due to the weather warming.  But ONCOR is still not accepting outage reports when the remaining issues have to be local such as lines down, transformers blown, etc.  I'm hoping they are monitoring it via their fancy new meters and sending out crews.

    For the most part, our winter weather outages have been local.  That 2010 snow storm just showed up on my FB memories recently.  Pictures of the snowmen in the neighborhood and of the lineman from that Florida outfit that sent workers up.  He was repair the damaged pole that we can see from our breakfast room window.  That deal was almost all on ONCOR because the damage was caused by limbs down.  ONCOR no longer trims trees unless to repair an outage.  Before deregulation, we had trimmers every year.   We just had short term (rolling) outages in 2011 here.  It wasn't too bad that year, at least not here in Funkytown.

  14. 2 minutes ago, mtutiger said:

    I honestly could care less whether Beto was suffering or not, or what (if any) motives he has for helping... if he was doing things in order to help people in our state in the middle of a crisis, I'm good with that. Same with AOC or Joe Biden or any other R politicians who have advocated for those in need. It doesn't matter.

    I'll reiterate that maybe Ted was doing that in the midst of planning an out-of-country junket at the Ritz Cancun, but understand that will be a really hard sell for a large cross section of folks in this state right now.


    Unfortunately, this country is so hyper partisan that it doesn't ultimately matter what is true or fair.

    Like the wind energy versus fossil fuel argument the two wings are spamming social media with.  And mostly posted by people who don't even live here and don't understand how the system works.    There were multiple issues all coming together.  And IMO, they could have been mitigated by an efficient rolling blackout system.  So ONCOR shares some blame along with ERCOT for not managing this well.




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  15. 1 hour ago, mtutiger said:

    Texarkana probably got hit harder than DFW did and didn't have many (if any) issues with power either, fwiw. Beaumont got hit as bad as Houston did, and didnt have many (if any) issues with power. And naturally, both fall outside of ERCOT

    Doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that the grid needs investment in weatherization.

    That would certainly be prudent.  But my point is that Beto wasn't some hero suffering with the people as he is being hailed.  His city and life were unaffected and his children were warm and going about normal activities.  

    I was one of those in the dark and cold charging my cell phone in the car and wearing sweats under a bathrobe topped with a parka.  

  16. 10 hours ago, pfife said:

    Nothing Ted could do...


    If there is one thing the Beto heads are good at, it is spamming people with robo dialers.   Word is he is running for governor next.  I can't say if he called us because I don't answer calls from unknown numbers.   But we were okay, my mom was okay, and neighbors checked on neighbors on my street.

    El Paso didn't lose power, by the way.  And didn't generally get the same level of freezing for the same duration as much of the rest of the state.

  17. 6 minutes ago, pfife said:

    so you're saying the dude your state elected is useless in the time of greatest need?

    In a matter that is strictly in the state domain, pretty much. 

    There is a U.S. House Rep who lives in my neighborhood.  African-American, Democrat.  He is somewhat active on Nextdoor.  He had to explain this truth to some Trumper idiot who was griping about how he had done nothing about some local matter.  I applauded.  People just don't seem to understand how government works and who is controls what.  

  18. 3 minutes ago, Hongbit said:

    Um no.  He’s not just like me and you and he’s not like any parent with kids at home.  He’s one of 100 United States Senators and there is an expectation of the office to have a high standard of behavior at all times, especially so in a crisis.   He eschewed his duty as a leader and repeatedly lied about it until he was finally caught and had no other choice than to come clean.    It’s borderline ridiculous that you’d refer to people criticizing his tremendously poor judgement as “STFU haters”.

    Are you a Texan?  LOL. Everybody with the means was getting the heck out of dodge to hotels.  I would have, so am not a hypocrite that a holds our representatives to different standards than I hold myself.


  19. 12 minutes ago, tigerbomb13 said:

    If any of my senators bailed on my state in the middle of a state crisis (especially in the middle of a pandemic when most of us can’t go anywhere), with so many suffering, I would be absolutely livid. 

    What are they going to do?  Deliver firewood and shovel our walkways and driveways?  Or maybe making guest appearances at various places interfering with the actual work going on.   I have no doubt that these stay in touch with their offices by phone no matter where they are. I don't care where they are when accepting phone calls unless it is a bordello or some such.

    (Honestly that snow shoveling was the worst part of it for me.  Dang, how do you live somewhere that it is a regular part of life.  This storm was my first experience shoveling snow. )

  20. If we had the means to have a choice between freezing our butts off in a dark house and the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun, hail yes I'd have gone to Cancun.

    Honestly, the only reasons we didn't get a hotel room were because my mom wanted to stay in her house (we live next door to her), and the roads in my neighborhood were and are still impassible.  My husband is on warfarin (a blood thinner) so even a small fender bender is dangerous for him.  We bundled up, made coffee on the butane stove and lit the oil lamps.

    It sucked but we were not in danger and survived it.  But I do not at all judge anyone who went to a hotel or anywhere else especially if they have kids.  Not like Cruz has been one of the travel scolds.   My criticism is that he didn't just own it and say STFU haters and instead tried to manage the optics on something that should not be an issue..  But that's what he does.  Its what they all do.


  21. 4 minutes ago, Motown Bombers said:

    I believe we have backup generators and actual plans in place for these types of things. Texas also has a lot of rural population who are probably on wells and don't have electricity to power them. 

    Not just rural.  Quite a few people I know in suburbs outside city limits have well water.  No electric, no pump hence no water.

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