What is a Consumer Choice Aggregate (CCA)?
Have you ever gone into the grocery store and looked at the myriad number of types of water being offered? Then you look at the fine print, and every product is produced by only one or two manufacturers! Do you really have a choice? If only one or two companies control the market, they are a monopoly, and you really don’t have a choice!
Imagine if this applies to energy! It is not a matter of choosing between two brands of petroleum fuel, or saving five or ten cents per gallon – it is a matter of sustainability (quality of life) and control over our own destiny – what if we don’t want to drive a car anymore?
Most of our homes display the modern day horse stable – the garage, at the front of the house. Many city streets give priority to the motor vehicle, with scant resources for pedestrians and bicyclists. Why? When you try to walk to your local shopping center, you find lots of inconveniences – like no sidewalks as you get close to the freeway. But if you complain to any level of government, they cite safety, or lack of money!
Imagine the state freeway department (aka: the dept of transportation) telling you that it is too dangerous to install sidewalks. Aren’t cars more dangerous than pedestrians? If so, the freeway department should limit cars instead of pedestrians!
What is money, but a tool to measure what you value – what your priorities are! So if the government claims they lack money, their priorities are simply elsewhere. Why else are they spending the most on war (national defense), while investing next to nothing on education? 1
There is an old saying that goes something like this “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely! So why is decentralized power needed? Decentralized power not only gives consumers a choice over where they secure their energy, what risks they are willing to assume, and how much they pay for their energy, but it increases their physical security. Imagine if a nuclear power plant exploded, or an oil platform exploded! These centralized power sources are fraught with high risks. But who would take such risks, and why?
Lets look at a few examples: Why does the CEO of Walmart earn close to $22 million dollars while his employees earn minimum wage, and the laborers who produce their products in China earn pennies per hour? 2 Likewise, why did the salary for the CEO of PG&E increase from $7.4 million to close to $10 million dollars after blowing up the City of San Bruno? 3 Is executive compensation tied to performance? Looking at British Petroleum, apparently not! 4
Obviously, the person who lives 10,000 miles away from the source of pollution is likely to take higher risks than the person who lives next to the power source. So who should have the most to say on strategic matters – the workers or the boss? The answer should be clear! Top priority of businesses is not to increase quality of life, but to maximize financial return. Cutting corners on safety gives corporations higher profits, but do they use those profits to improve the quality of people’s lives? If it means enriching the top 1%, then yes, otherwise no!
What is required to form a Consumer Choice Aggregate?
A county must have a transmission station to raise and lower voltage so as to feed it to local end users. Where multiple suppliers exist, there needs to be a common usage maintenance agreement for the infrastructure. Currently, solar energy is becoming mainstream. If consumers produce more energy than is needed, the excess can be fed into the grid. Just a few years ago, most consumers could not afford to buy solar panels. Today, most solar companies are now leasing the infrastructure and charging consumers a usage fee comparable to major utility rates. But by producing electricity at the end-user’s location, there is less need for high voltage transmission lines, and therefore less risk of a major accident. A Consumer Choice Aggregate also afford consumers a more diverse and stable power grid. It can include agricultural bio-mass and bio-gas. The bottom line of a CCA is not only financial – it is quality of life.
In the end:
When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover…
You can NOT eat money!