November 13, 2017

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (111317)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


“Illegal Immigrant Goes on Shooting RampageNot One Major Network Covers It” — Underlying Article: “Rolando Martinez charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for weekend rampage up I-35.” Martinez was a busy guy Saturday morning, and was charged when apprehended with “four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of injury to a child” — a 7 year-old in critical condition.



  1. Puerto Rico Status update:

    Electricity is back to 47.8% after recovering from another collapse of the grid from non storm related issues.

    Crews Scramble to Restore Power to Blacked-Out Puerto Rico

    A fire at a power plant knocked out electricity to nearly the entire U.S. territory.


    So who is doing the restoration work IF that itty bitty company’s contract was cancelled, or was it? Waiting for a new bid and contractor? From an industry publication, notice what details are NOT being told to the public by the MSM…

    Workers restoring thousands of miles of power lines in Puerto Rico

    The onslaught was sufficient to knock down hundreds of transmission towers and thousands of distribution poles and lines.
    The storm’s path was ideal for taking down the entire grid. Most of Puerto Rico’s generating capacity is along the southern coast and most consumption is in the north around San Juan, with steel and aluminum transmission towers up to 90 feet tall running through the mountains in the middle.
    At least 10 towers fell along the most important transmission line that runs to the capital, entangling it with a secondary one that runs parallel and that lost about two dozen towers in a hard-to-reach area in the center of the island.
    “It reminds me of a fireball that just burned everything in its path,” said Brig. Gen. Diana Holland, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers unit working to clear debris and restore the grid, with nearly 400 troops on the ground.
    The storm also struck at a terrible time. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority filed for bankruptcy in July. It has put off badly needed maintenance and had just finished dealing with outages from Hurricane Irma in early September.
    “You stop doing your typical deferred maintenance, and so you become even that much more susceptible to a storm like Maria and Irma coming and blowing down your towers, water coming up in your substations and flooding them,” said Tom Lewis, president of the U.S. division of Louis Berger, which has been supplying generators in Puerto Rico to clients that include the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Everything becomes that much more sensitive to any kind of damage whether it be from wind or water.”
    PREPA Director Ricardo Ramos said the authority is working with the Army Corps of Engineers and contractors to bring in more “bucket trucks” and other equipment. It already has about 400 three- to five-member repair crews and is trying to reach 1,000 within three weeks with workers brought in from the U.S. “With this number of brigades we will be able to advance much more rapidly,” Ramos assured reporters during a recent news conference.
    PREPA brought in a Montana company, Whitefish Energy Holdings, to help its crews restore the transmission and distribution lines across the island. It has a rolling contract and can bill up to $300 million for its work, said Odalys de Jesus, a spokeswoman for the power authority.
    It is a huge job for a young company, formed in 2015. Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski said previous work restoring transmission lines damaged by wildfires in the western U.S. has prepared them for the Puerto Rico contract. “We don’t like easy,” he said during a break at one of the company’s base camps near Barceloneta.
    The camp buzzes with activity as helicopters come and go, taking linemen and equipment to the mountain towers, the pilots deftly navigating the lines and mountains to lower men and equipment to the steel-and-aluminum girds high above the trees. Whitefish had about 270 employees in Puerto Rico as of midweek, working both on transmission and distribution. It expects the number to double in the coming weeks if it can find sufficient lodging and transport to the island.
    Other contractors working in Puerto Rico include Fluor Corp., which was awarded a $336.2 million contract from the Army Corps of Engineers for debris removal and power restoration, and Weston Solutions, which is providing two generators to stabilize power in the capital for $35 million.

    The MSM would have us believe that ONLY Whitefish was doing the work and that the results of that work is only limited by the number of employees they have… no other limitations??? no other contractors working to restore power? The Army Corp doing what? So many questions, so oblivious to the facts on the ground? Why bother with the facts when it gets in the way of the narrative.


    The following map shows areas that have been energized. Due to the fragility of the system these areas can change at any time.


    Interesting assessment:

    Lengthy power restoration effort seen in Puerto Rico: U.S. power cos

    The rates PREPA charged were not enough for the utility to maintain its infrastructure, in part due to ineffective collection efforts and long-standing mismanagement that had left it in a $9-billion hole before declaring bankruptcy in July this year.

    PREPA’s equipment was already “degraded and unsafe,” according to a draft fiscal report the company filed in April.

    Government run business failing it’s customers because they care. (customers pay twice the rate we pay on the mainland) The results of Socialism are always the punchline.

    Tom, feel free to run with this angle at Newsbusters, it’s right up their alley.

    Comment by dscott — November 13, 2017 @ 8:54 am

  2. The Greater Fool gambit may be another name for PONZI scheme???

    Tesla Approaches Terminal Decline

    Lengthy but very interesting read.

    Comment by dscott — November 13, 2017 @ 9:26 am

  3. I sense a theme developing rising out of the ashes of the collapsing global warming financial scheme. Taking land/housing development to the next level:

    Floating Cities, No Longer Science Fiction, Begin to Take Shape

    Bill Gates firm buys Arizona land for $80 million to create ‘smart city’

    Saudi Arabia Just Announced Plans to Build a Mega City That Will Cost $500 Billion

    In an environment where global elite investors are getting burned on government bonds and low returns elsewhere, seeing their government guaranteed returns on global warming green profiteering schemes drying up they are going big on building cities from scratch. I liken the new money making approach to developers of housing tracts. The scheme goes like this: The developer builds spec housing under the rubic of if you build it they will come; creates an HOA which they control, and underfund. The developer holds full control of the HOA until the tract is fully developed. The HOA comes with it’s own bylaws, mandates and … expenses. The developer once having sold all the empty lots and built the structures, drops the HOA into the hands of the homeowners. Now imagine this on a city scale! We are talking 100s of billions of dollars.

    IF you can’t mandate your profits using governments, then maybe you can sucker enough gullible individuals with green gimmicks, the promise of green living and the shininess of something new to part them from their money. IF the city fails it will be because the rubes didn’t spend enough money (tax themselves) to make it work… The liberal believer is an easy mark for the liberal elite who intend to profit from them. It is the ultimate form of slavery where people willingly submit themselves for exploitation in the religious belief of sustainability. And if you think HOA Nazis are bad, just imagine the intolerance of anyone who would dare to dissent living in one of these ventures.

    Comment by dscott — November 13, 2017 @ 10:42 am

  4. Not seeing where rates are double those in the U.S. Don’t think it’s in the links you provided (which I really appreciate). Also, is there a justification for that based on it being an island and getting fuel there is logistically difficult?

    Comment by Tom — November 13, 2017 @ 12:45 pm

  5. If getting fuel to an island is difficult and if the PR infrastructure and government is as inefficient as most say, than that would make the importation of fuel there that much more costly and rates that much higher compared to an island that imports its fuel more quickly and easily. So that reason/excuse for PR rates being double would only go so far. Maybe we should look up Hawaii’s rates and compare them to the mainland and see if they are much higher than the rest of the country. I know that Hawaii has a Democrat government but I have not (yet) heard as much bad complaints about their infrastructure/efficiency as PR’s.

    Comment by zf — November 13, 2017 @ 2:12 pm

  6. That would be a good lookup.

    Hawaii is almost exactly 2.5 times the national average (26.17 vs. 10.42):

    But Hawaii’s situation may be highly politicized too, so this isn’t absolute proof.

    That said, getting fuel to Hawaii involves many more miles than getting it to Puerto Rico.

    Comment by Tom — November 13, 2017 @ 2:17 pm

  7. According to this Puerto Rico’s rate is as high as three times the national average. The only state higher than PR’s rate is…Hawaii. But like you said Hawaii is much farther away.

    Comment by zf — November 13, 2017 @ 3:23 pm

  8. #4, from the NBC article called Crews Scramble to Restore Power…:

    Many Puerto Ricans expressed doubts that power would be restored quickly, saying the economic slump has affected basic government services. Hundreds of people took to social media to criticize the Electric Power Authority, noting that they already pay bills on average twice that of the U.S. mainland.

    With 3.5 million customers, we are talking true utility scale electric generation with it’s inherent economy of scale. Such an operation requires a commensurate scale of fuel delivery also at an economy of scale. Unlike Hawaii which is in the middle of the Pacific distantly isolated from refinery outputs for diesel oil (assuming this is the type of fuel being used), Puerto Rico is a short distance from the Texas refineries.

    Let’s stipulate that diesel oil is more expensive than natural gas and would account for some of the higher cost of electricity. However, with the advent of LNG, there is no excuse for converting to a cheaper and cleaner fuel. That would be a management decision.

    The other factor that would make it more expensive to generate electricity is how it is made. Are they using banks of older diesel generators? As opposed to large steam turbine plants? Again, this is a management decision to box themselves into inefficiencies.

    Ineffective management as noted in the articles may well be the source of the high cost of electrical generation. IF management didn’t consider investments in fuel switching OR modernizing the means of production, then failure to plan and invest is a management failure. It doesn’t take a high powered exec. to realize that IF they can reduce the bottom line costs for electric production, even with a stupid Regulatory Commission, you are allowed to amortize the invested cost of modernization to achieve that reduction. That is unless they didn’t give a crap because as far as they were concerned they had to expend more effort for a limited profit increase being regulated as a utility. Puerto Rico’s problems with high unemployment and low business activity probably can be traced to the high cost of energy.

    Comment by dscott — November 14, 2017 @ 7:49 am

  9. Good points, dscott. One would think that there might be financial analyses somewhere which segregate the costs of getting fuel there from the costs of producing it. Also begs the question, given the oil discoveries in the Gulf, why has nobody ever though to build a refinery there? Maybe it’s because of vulnerability to storms, but I’d suggest that with modern tech that building a refinery hardened against even the worst storms should be possible.

    Comment by Tom — November 14, 2017 @ 12:02 pm

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