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Genesis 1, 28 says that we should "go forth and multiply, and replenish the earth." Not all Bibles have this "replenish the e...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tariff increases will kill incentives to save electricity and water

David Lipschitz Letter to the Cape Times published Mon 8 May 2017 in their Insight Section


THE City of Cape Town has published their draft tariffs for the 2017/18 financial year. Search for "draft electricity consumptive tariffs 2017/18" on the City's web site.

My calculations are based on people living in accommodation valued at more than R1 million. The poor still get their incentives and in fact the poor using more than 350 kWh per month will get up to 23.5% discount of their electricity usage.

And service fees for large users are increasing too, in one case by as much as 120%, so we can all look forward to higher inflation come July when this city, that works for us, makes it more difficult to work with us.

My calculations show that for someone using 600 kWh a month the price increase is 2.8% and someone using 1200 kWh a month the price increase is also 2.8%.

For 600 kWh it changes from R1125 domestic tariff excluding service fee, to R1156 home tariff including the fee, a 2.8% increase.

The 1200 kWh changes from R2493 domestic tariff excluding service fee to R2562 home tariff including the service fee, 2.8% increase.

But 300 kWh changes from R562 to R702, a 25% increase.

And 100 kWh changes from R187 to R400, a 214% increase.

For myself, a few years ago, we were changed from "Lifeline" to "Domestic" and from July this year we will be changed to "Home".

Being incentivised to use less has fallen by the wayside.

Note that the free water allowance is falling away! So if you are using 10 kL a month, and you were paying R66, you will now be paying R98, a 48% increase. Plus the free sewerage component is also falling away, increasing this increase even further.

It seems to me that the financial incentives to save electricity and water will cease on July 1, when these new measures come into play.

At some point, economics says that if you are prepared to pay the price, you can get what you need.

People might choose to buy more water and electricity instead of other luxuries.

And our water crisis will get much worse as people's financial psychological incentive to save is removed.

We might even end up with load shedding again, as people stop worrying about how much electricity they are using and just use as much as they want.

I tend to think that energy efficiency measures will simply go out of the window and people will use as much as they want.

This seems to be the case in my mind, where even though I am a very energy-conscious customer, I just don't see the point of saving electricity and water, when perhaps I can afford to pay the higher rates. There is just no incentive anymore for saving.

The city is putting up their prices. They are telling their customers "if you can afford it, we will supply you; and if you can't afford it, please move to another city".

The free water allowance is falling away, which means that the incentive to do all you can to use less than 6 kL of water a month, and boast about not pay anything, is meaningless.

Grid tie, without batteries, solar electric is already cheaper than City of Cape Town electricity. It could be up to half the price, depending on circumstances. And battery capability is increasing in leaps and bounds and prices are coming down, so we will soon be at grid parity with batteries. Grid parity is where one can make one's own electricity cheaper than one can buy it.

As I've been writing in this newspaper for years, it is time for residents to work together to produce their own electricity and water, at a much cheaper cost than our government can provide it, and in fact sell this cheap electricity and water to the city and to our residential neighbours.

Besides paying or moving, another opportunity is to move into "townships". This way I get a much cheaper house, with all the benefits that come with this, and I can afford to pay for security with the savings I get.

I think we will see enclaves of "rich people" living in the middle of townships, within the next few years. The "poor" won't want to move into "rich" areas, when they see the overtaxed rich, moving to them.

Lastly, existing homeowners who have paid for infrastructure numerous times are in effect subsidising new entrants into the market. New suburbs and new parts of suburbs and densification is happening all over the place. It seems to me that these people are being way undercharged for the services they need.

Lets suppose that a new power station is required for a new suburb.

Why should the entire population be forced to pay for it? And why do new suburbs need external power stations in any case?
  • Lipschitz is an energy analyst and owner of My Power Station.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Delphi a top 10 programming language

According to TIOBE, Delphi is a top 10 programming language. Might overtake Javascript in the next year or two.

 TIOBE

The index is based on searches on search engines. More here.

Textile Factory Open Source Software

I am a Delphi and RDBMS software development expert.
I've been programming since the 1970's and with Pascal since Turbo Pascal on an Apple Computer in the early 80's. Delphi is easy to write, easy to maintain, self documenting, lends itself to sharing, and I would like to share my amazing textile factory, and many of my other software applications, free of charge for the world to use and share.

I know something about Textile Factory Software. I have decided to open source my development. Approximately 197 forms in the 8 applications will be published free of charge.

“The system must have a zero maintenance requirement on a monthly basis as there will be no technical computer people on hand.  This means that the chosen system must manage itself, that the software must be bug free and at the same time easy to maintain.”
 - David Lipschitz, 1995


Look at the presentation. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Programming and Learning: eg on Udemy

When you can't get something done, or when you can't understand something, eg when learning on Udemy:

1) Try to find a working example of what you want to do, eg on another web site. Copy and paste and change to your needs. I see Rob doing a lot of copying of existing code from various web sites. This is a good thing in web development.

2) When you are stuck, watch Rob do the work. Then try to do it yourself without watching the video and without referring to what Rob did. Then try again the next day, or when you have time.

3) Sometimes it is difficult to get to certain concepts. I am currently a bit confused between the various syntax requirements in JavaScript, JQuery and PHP, but I guess it will come right with practice. For example string concatenation and $'s at the beginning of variables is slightly confusing.

Keep at it. Don't give up. And remember many of us give ourselves an unnecessary hard time, including me.

Note: Rob is one of the Udemy trainers.

Monday, January 30, 2017

"Welcome to the 'childhood dream age': let's embrace it". David Lipschitz's Letter in the Cape Times on 30th January 2017

So tonight (Thursday 26th January 2017) I attended a talk on our energy future.

The crowd was young. New people. New dreams. In a modern "co-working space".

And yet the discussion was the same as my generation have been having for the past 15 years.

Who will pay for nuclear energy? Why do we need it? Do we need the dinosaur industries that need base-load power? If we have a decentralized grid, how will the poor get their free electricity?

The same discussion. The same fears.

And yet whilst we myopic South Africans stay trapped in our insular world, people like Elon Musk​,​ who escaped these confines, are inventing our future.

It is one of electric vehicles, massive storage systems, 80​% fewer cars, no servicing requirement​s​, no parking garages (a huge opportunity for the poor to move into the city centres), a massive reduction in the need for fossil​-​fueled power, self-driving cars, no need for petrol stations.

We are heading into a massive change over the next 15 years. Nothing can stop it. The tipping points are near.

And the opportunities are immense, not just for the rich. But also for the so-called "poor", who have an immense latent talent.

We are in an age that I call "the childhood dream age". Finally our children's dreams, and our dreams as children, can be reali​s​ed.

It is a dream come true. If we fight it, we will lose. If we embrace it, we embrace a world where machines, not human machines, do the physical work, whilst the mental work gets done by super​-​brainy humans.

The​ Industrial Revolution's education system needs a complete overhaul. The answers are simple, but not easy to implement, mostly due to inertia​, but also due to our habit of not listening to our children.

And every single human on this tiny planet is a super brain, a super computer, able to do more than the biggest most powerful machines that we can invent.

For millennia we have hidden in work and in war whilst ignoring the depression that seeps through our society. We finally are at an age where we can focus on ourselves, where everyone will finally be equal, and where opportunities will abound to "fix ourselves" and bring the ​Messianic Age that we have dreamt about for eons.

Will we continue with the same conversations we have had for as long as we can remember?

Will we continue to ignore the tide of change and bury ourselves in work, and in our fears?

Or will we be children again, inventing and being a part of a future that we have always dreamt about?

I look forward to our new conversations and to everyone being able to enjoy the abundance that we have on our planet, together.

David Lipschitz
Milnerton

Saturday, January 28, 2017

When it rains, pour on the gratitude. David Lipschitz's letter to the Cape Times. Friday 27th January 2017.

Dear Editor

Photo by David Lipschitz

It seems to me that we need to find alternative ways of thinking about our water crisis. Pool covers, well-points, boreholes, dehumidifiers, water restrictions, water tanks, etc, are all great, but are there any other ways of bringing rain?

Rain dances and prayer meetings have also been suggested and shouldn't be poo-pooed. I personally pray for rain, and when it rains I make a point of watching the rain and going outside to celebrate and sing in the rain. I even set my alarm for the early hours when rain is predicted.

We hear how important affirmations and gratitude are.

Let's not take our rain for granted and let's celebrate and enjoy it as much as possible.

Yours faithfully,
David Lipschitz
Milnerton