Thursday, October 10, 2013

Why I refuse to participate in Energy Upgrade California


When I first heard of Energy Upgrade California I was excited. Energy upgrade packages for existing homes with rebates sounded awesome. I attended the ACI conference in LA which was the kick off. The event was interesting as we heard from program developers of how the program would be initiated. I also attended some orientation sessions at the CCSE. I liked what I heard. As my business is primarily residential repairs and upgrades I thought this would be a perfect fit.

What I have found is the program is not what I expected.  I have sat on the sidelines refusing to critique or participate in the system. I think I have given it a long enough run and now I will explain my concerns.
The upgrades are consistent with Energy Pro calculations that estimate energy savings. Now to be fair I know a base has to be somewhere and Energy Pro is certainly a capable program. But the estimates are just that estimates. Living in San Diego and having the most mild climate makes modeling savings a challenge. While our money from the Utilities and the State of California is taken at the same percentages our rebates are severely compromised. We get less of the pie but no less of our contribution to this pie. This is simply not fair.

The system is very much geared toward equipment. An example would be that often duct sealing and air sealing have very low margins but replacing a HVAC has a high bar. Water Heater upgrades from the standard tank to a tank less have large margins. These margins often do not reflect real world savings.
Those that do not currently have HVAC and are looking to replace legacy furnaces and upgrade to AC see no benefit as an AC system was not in place to begin with and therefore may not be modeled. Because of this they might chose a less efficient model based on the rules of the program which is not the spirit of the program in my mind.

Work scope is controlled by an outside group. As a contractor this is what I find really problematic. I have to stand behind a  work scope not of my nor my customers choosing.  My initial audit is rendered useless as  program administrators duplicate the same process and then provide me with the accepted work scope. This duplicity makes no sense and our tax/utility dollars are wasted in the process. The original audit should simply be performed by the outside service if they control the work scope. Furthermore as the contractor I am married to a work scope that I might not agree with and responsible 100% of any liabilities that might arise in the future. I personally am not comfortable with such as system.

I must note that is not the CCSE I am criticizing.  I have always held a high opinion of CCSE here in San Diego and still do. The staff has always been responsive and eager to help. They have provided training classes and opportunities to connect with other professionals. They still provide this high level service as well as countless others. They listen to concerns and attempt to be as proactive as they can. I would have been far more comfortable with them running the program which sadly is not the case.

As we move forward control of such programs to ensure that tax/rate payer dollars are not wasted, upgrades are performed and provide reasonable work scope is imperative.  However having a quasi government organization with autocratic control over the entire program and 100 percent QA does not seem like a wise nor cost effective way to proceed in the future.  Furthermore rebates should be equitable for improvements regardless of weather conditions. 

This system is sadly broken. In conclusion I chose not to participate and see no reason to in the future. 

Washington's Spirit is Failing

 The spirit of George Washington has failed in the city that so proudly bears his name.   Freedom and Democracy that this great man be quested to all of world to witness and walked away from power to the amazement of the world.  King George III asked his American painter, Benjamin West, what Washington would do after winning independence. West replied, “They say he will return to his farm.” “If he does that,” the incredulous monarch said, “he will be the greatest man in the world.”

This selfless act for the greater good of the citizens of this United States lit a fire of freedom and self governing that still burns bright in the world today. . But the stench and burning of these very principles by our current Senate, Congress and President have left the light dim, the air hard to breathe and the world mocking us. They are laughing at the petty squabbling, the lack reason and love of power by those that represent us.

They forget this is the United States, United we stand Divided we fall. Not only are they steadfast in being divided but they care little for how far we fall and are committed to take us all with them into the abyss. This does not represent the principles of my family my friends or my neighbors and certainly does not represent my Country

I think I am most disappointed with the President Obama. I had so much hope when he was first elected. He promised how he would reach across the aisle and unite us all. I was inspired by his speeches and thought this was the turning point we needed as a country.

Instead we are burdened with a man in love with a legacy that he does not even own yet. So full of pride and the power of his office that he refuses to negotiate unless  he gets what he wants. How is this negotiating? Does he even know the meaning of the word?

I also have no love for the Tea Party and Speaker Boehner who are leading the charge straight into a Washington Political Massacre. They have thrown all their weight into a fight with no defined goal  based purely on opportunity and having the power to do so and could care less of the casualties it causes. A reckless ill-conceived battle plan based on indignation with little hope for any.

We need leaders. Somebody needs to step up and stand down for the greater good. George Washington would as would most Americans. We know that the need to be right is not noble but to do the right thing is. Our leaders have either forgotten this or never knew it. I hope they can either remember it or learn it for the sake of us all.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

                                                 Political Terrorism 

    As the house republicans continue to hold onto their demands I for one cannot support them. Their stand reminds me of the quote from former Governor Blagojevich.  "I've got this thing and it's f------ golden" and "I'm just not giving it up for ... nothing."

This trend in American politics must stop.  We have seen it too many times and it is tiresome. I believe there is much to be improved on the ACA but this is not the way to go about it. The pain that they are willing to ensue is not justified by the reward if there even is one at the end.

Unfortunately there is no way to save face on this stand. The decision was made by a handful and they cannot turn back. "Now that we've jumped off the cliff, lit ourselves on fire, we've entered the valley of death," said Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who has criticized the conservatives' strategy. "So now we've got to keep running and we have to hold together."

The end result is the American people are also forced into this valley as they have pulled us in and now all of us are burning and running.  While I am sure some will contend that they are simply trying to shove back on poor legislation that was forced back in 2009. Who can forget the famous quote by then majority leader Pelosi " we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy."

But if we were to shutdown the government for every bad decision that is made it would never run. This is a poor way to make change and even unprecedented.  I would agree that the ACA needs work I just  disagree how they are trying to enact change. With the debt ceiling coming next and the absolute stalemate in Washington I have very little hope for the direction my Country is going.

Partisan politics has hit an all time low as lawmaker are so focused on their own selfish desires that they refuse to look up and see the big picture. I would hope that both Republicans and Democrats can find away to behave in a manner that the rest of society can accept. They do not have to like each other but they do have to do what is right by the Country and put partisan politics aside.

Just as then Governor Blagojevich thought that he had something golden the Midas Touch did not last long and it turned to shit. I would remind those that are holding the Country hostage in what can best be described as Political Terrorism that they need to take their foot off the gas and reassess the road before they take us all into a fiery crash.