Analog Electric: A new company that will concern itself with the provision of electricity distribution to microgrids as well as ordinary power-grids around the world using analog metering, as opposed to the digital metering that is common today. Analog Electric will gradually phase electricity infrastructure from AC (alternating current) to DC (direct current) and phase out long-distance power transmission.
Folks might be wondering why we have proposed the subsidiary Analog Electric for the reinstated Bell System. It will have, after all, nothing at all to do with the provision of universal, affordable, reliable telephone service. But if you remember why the Bell System Board has proposed the reinstatement of the Bell System, you will soon realize that this subsidiary is in complete alignment with all of our goal.
The primary reason for the reinstatement of the Bell System is because today’s system does not work. Likewise, today’s system of electricity distribution around the world does not work. Our telephone and electricity systems are, to say the least, broken. In the end, neither the customer nor the provider of service is satisfied.
One problem with electricity distribution today is the provision of “smart” meters — digital meters affixed to your home that can charge for time-of-day use and record what appliances are being used when, how much, and by whom; furthermore, these meters constantly emit carcinogenic radiation, are prone to explosions and fires, and will overcharge you without thinking twice. And let’s not forget that they pollute all of your home wiring with dirty electricity.
The solution to this problem is nothing new. Electromechanical analog meters, the predecessor to today’s digital meters, do not consume exorbitant amounts of electricity and do not pose any of the health, safety, or privacy risks that digital meters do. These meters, unlike many of the new digital meters, must be read manually by a meter-reader, which is why electric utilities everywhere are eager to phase them out; not only will they be able to sell their newly available data on your household to third-parties, but they no longer need to hire and pay meter-readers. In the end, the homeowner is the loser.
We can see many parallels between today’s telecommunications corporations and today’s electric utilities. Both maintain the profit-first, rather than service-first (as the Bell System had), mindset. Customer satisfaction is barely a priority, if one at all. And both industries are promoting “solutions” and “services” that are counter-intuitive to the heart of the industry itself. Telecommunications corporations wish the telephone to be dead, while electric utilities would rather serve you dirty, polluted electricity than clean electricity.
The Bell System was known as a service-first system, and will be known as just that if reinstated. We will not only pick up the slack when it comes to telephone service, but we will fill the voids of electricity distribution as well; we will continue providing indefinitely the legacy analog, copper wireline landline service that is the most reliable, most secure, and highest quality voice communications system there is. However, not unlike telephone service, electricity distribution is a natural monopoly that is best provided without competition. And unlike telecommunications corporations, we don’t anticipate that electric companies will be as eager to give their customers to us as telecommunications corporations will be to dump their landline customers on us. So, what’s the catch?
Analog Electric will provide electricity a little different than electric utilities today. First and foremost, we will have our own power grids that are unconnected to the three primary grids currently in existence in the United States today (as well as the other grids in other countries). This may seem like an unnecessary duplication of resources. But you will soon see that this separate distribution system will be necessitated by our distribution methods.
Unlike the realm of landline telephone service, we don’t anticipate becoming a monopoly in that sector. But like the realm of landline telephone service, we will stop at nothing to provide the best-quality electricity in the safest, most efficient way possible to all of our customers. We believe that our grid will be more beneficial to customers than existing grids. Here are a few key proposal points:
- Analog Electric, the electricity subsidiary of the Bell System, will concern itself with the provision of electricity service.
- Analog Electric will only use electromechanical analog meters on the customers’ premises, all of which will be read by our unionized meter-readers. The use of only electromagnetically meters will save energy (digital meters require energy to run, process information, and transmit your data), protect health (digital meters use RF radiation to communicate with the utility) and protect the integrity of your home’s electrical wiring (digital meters pose a fire risk, can arc, and pollute home wiring with dirty electricity).
- Analog Electric will manufacture electromechanical analog utility meters and traditional filament incandescent light-bulbs.
- Analog Electric will support net-metering, using analog meters, that will allow certain types of qualifying electricity generation on customers’ premises to be released back into the grid for payment at the same rate electricity is paid for by the customers (thus, no toxic batteries will be needed to store electricity on customer premises).
- Analog Electric will be a workers’ collective/cooperative utility that is 49% employee owned (the remaining 51% will be owned by American Bell Corporation to secure it as part of the Bell System; however, most decisions and management will fall on the employees) — our workers will be empowered to provide great service due to the lack of obligations to shareholders. Analog Electric will actually care about its customers (wow, unprecedented concept?).
- Analog Electric will derive 100% of its energy from renewable energy sources. Analog Electric will not use or endorse fossil fuels or nuclear power.
- Analog Electric will not maintain any “large” power plants. Instead, windmills, solar panels, small-scale hydroelectric dams, water turbines, and geothermal facilities will be scattered across the grid. This way, no area is hit too hard by any negative environmental impacts of these renewable energy generators.
- Analog Electric’s grid(s) will be small-scale, with reserve batteries at a fuel reserve plant only for storing excess energy generation. If batteries are full, generators (i.e. turbines) will automatically turn off until the energy supply begins to deplete.
- Our grid will provide direct-current (DC) electricity as opposed to alternating-current (AC) electricity. The primary advantage of AC power is that it can travel over long-distances requiring voltage-changes more effectively than DC power. Because the electricity a customer uses will be sourced locally from a nearby generators, there is no advantage of using AC power. In fact, today, long-distance DC is viable and in some ways superior to long-distance AC transmission. DC power is what is used by design by most appliances, and AC power must be first converted to DC power. Furthermore, DC wire and insulators are cheaper than their AC counterparts. While there are pros and cons to the use of both AC and DC power, we believe that in light of climate change, the limitations of nonrenewable energy, advances in energy distribution and generation, and the fact that our current system of power generation and consumption is inherently broken and outdated, DC is a more economically efficient way to distribute and consumer electricity. We plan to gradually help phase customer premises equipment over from AC power supplies to DC power supplies so that no conversion from AC to DC or vice-versa is required at all between generation and consumption.
- Analog Electric will not provide long-distance transmission of electricity, unless there is an extenuating circumstance that requires this. Otherwise, most electricity will be generated and used locally.
- Analog Electric will work together with Bell Labs to develop more efficient methods of electricity generation.
- Due to the lack of existing DC power equipment, Western Electric will manufacturer the necessary relevant DC power related equipment, including AC to DC adapters for legacy equipment, for Analog Electric and any retailers and customers interested in bulk purchases of DC equipment. Western Electric will also refurbish appliances to convert them from AC to DC consumption. Western Electric will also work together with computer, equipment, and appliance manufacturers to begin phasing AC equipment over to DC equipment.
- Analog Electric’s grids will be primarily micro-grids that are isolated from other grids. This will protect the grid in the event of a cascading power failure, making widespread blackouts virtually impossible. Transmission lines will still link the micro-grids together but the micro-grids will operate independently unless one grid has an excess of energy and another grid nearby is in short supply of energy. In that case, the transmission line will be manually activated for a short period of time to allow grid levels to balance again. There will still be no long-distance transmission of electricity.
- If a customer generates power themselves and participates in net-metering, the customer’s energy reserves will be used to power the customer’s premises first before energy is drawn from the grid, in order to reduce “transactions”.
- Analog Electric will use a state-of-the-art payment system for electricity. While much of the electricity in our grids will be generated by Analog Electricity itself, we anticipate that much of the electricity circulating in our grids will be generated by many of our customers as well. Payment per customer, therefore, will be extremely variable. Pricing will be based on consumption and generation; customers will pay for all electricity taken from the grid, regardless of its source, and will be paid for all electricity fed back into the grid, regardless of its destination. Because the grid as a whole will have a net balance of zero consumption, Analog Electric will simply bill the customer using the formula [FIXED RATE (i.e. $5/month to cover Analog Electric’s distribution and generation charges, as well as meter reader charges) + ENERGY CONSUMED – ENERGY RELEASED]. Analog Electric will not charge customers as a whole for energy generated by Analog Electric, because customers will pay individually for how much energy they used. Regardless of where your energy comes from or goes to, your bill is strictly between Analog Electric and you. Rather than paying the actual generator of your electricity or getting paid by the actual consumer of your electricity, Analog Electric will act as a middleman between all customers that will be able to efficiently and effectively charge and reimburse customers; net metering charges will be accurate but indirect to reduce complications. Analog Electric will end up paying customers back each month for how much electricity they fed into the grid, and whatever is leftover will equate to how much Analog Electric generated for the customers collectively (i.e. the sum of ENERGY CONSUMED – ENERGY RELEASED for all customers combined will be $0). Energy is taken from the grid only when the customer has none left and is fed back to the grid only when it is not being used. For instance, in a simple 3-customer grid, if Customer 1 consumes $33 of electricity from the grid and feeds $14 worth of electricity back into the grid, Customer 2 consumes $47 of electricity and feeds $52 of electricity back into the grid, Customer 3 consumes $17 of electricity and does not feed any electricity back into the grid (customers who do not participate in net metering will simply pay for the energy used from the grid), then Customer 1 will be billed $19, Customer 2 will profit (be reimbursed) $5, and Customer 3 will be charged $17. In this setup, it is likely that a portion of the energy Customer 3 used from the grid was generated by both Customer 1 and Customer 2. In reality, the actual amount of electricity consumed and fed into the grid will be unknown, because the analog meters on customer premises will simply spin forward if energy is consumed and backwards if energy is fed back into the grid — at the end of the month, only the net amount owed will be known. In this scenario, Analog Electric will have had to have provided $31 of electricity to the customers collectively, to make up the collective difference between electricity generated and electricity consumed. It is unknown how much of each customer’s electricity came from the other customers or Analog Electric, but it doesn’t matter, nor is it important or worthwhile to find out. Analog Electric simply pays a specific customer for whatever is fed back into the grid by that customer, and then charges a specific customer for whatever is used from the grid by that customer. This localized “peer-metering” system will dramatically cut costs and increase efficiency. Thus, while the consumption and flow of electricity is transparent to the customer, billing is still easy to understand. At the end of the day, Analog Electric will have no revenue from ENERGY CONSUMED charges if all the energy has been used up. If Analog Electric is storing electricity, it will be “in debt” to the customers it purchased it from, and it will be repaid when that electricity is consumed. Analog Electric’s revenue will consist primarily of the FIXED RATE charges customers are billed, and this revenue is used to maintain the facilities and equipment used for the transmission and distribution of power between customers. We believe this new, innovative pricing system will encourage customers to invest in their own renewable-energy generation equipment while also keeping costs for both Analog Electric and the customer low.
- It is entirely possible that one day, customer energy derived from the grid will be the backup, rather than the norm, if on-site, small-scale renewable energy generation by the customer becomes widespread. In this situation, the pricing model described above will still stay relevant.
- Analog Electric will sell excess energy to other non-Analog Electric grids that utilize DC power at a variable rate, but will not purchase energy from any other grids.
Today’s electric utilities and corporations are some of the most irresponsible entities on Earth. How will Analog Electric be different? For one, Analog Electric will be collectively owned by its employees (as well as the Bell System); unlike other energy companies that have a duty to satisfy their shareholders, Analog Electric will serve only to meet the needs of its customers and employees. Furthermore, Analog Electric will create a grassroots environmental organization that it itself will be apart of in order to more effectively tackle the challenges that climate change poses. We will work together with organizations like Polar Bears International and the Center For Biological Diversity to ensure that future generations are born into a world with as much diversity as today’s. This environmental organization will tackle environmental issues like fighting climate change, saving the polar bears, and protecting vulnerable and endangered species. Together, Analog Electric hopes to foster a more responsible corporate world. Here are a few things that might entail:
- Analog Electric will seek to actively involve itself in political and legislative matters concerning the use and conservation of energy. We’ve all seen that empty building at night and asked ourselves: why are all the lights still on? Together, we will ask these questions that need to be answered and work together with local, state, and federal governments to resolve these environmental concerns.
- Analog Electric will encourage reduction of light pollution. While it was initially thought that increased lighting would discourage crime, this increase in lighting has only disrupted sleep, stargazers, wildlife, and local ecosystems. A global reduction in light pollution will cut carbon emissions as well as consumption of fragile renewable energy supplies, return these parts of the world to a more natural state, and allow more people to actually see the stars instead of dream of them. Nighttime lighting should be systematic and purposeful and should not disrupt residential neighborhoods and rural areas.
- Analog Electric will promote the use of regular incandescent bulbs as opposed to CFL and LED bulbs (even though this seems to counter our mission to strive for a healthier, more sustainable planet). Although energy-efficient light-bulbs like CFL (compact fluorescent) and LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs use significantly less energy and last longer than the traditional, regular, incandescent bulbs, these energy-efficient bulbs have their own environmental concerns. CFL bulbs emit UV radiation that is extremely dangerous and contains mercury which will create an extremely toxic situation should the bulb ever break — this is why CFL bulbs require special disposal. LED bulbs have been known to cause seizures and also pollute electrical wiring. All things considered, incandescent bulbs are much cheaper to produce and the extra energy required for their operation is worth it. The health risks of CFL and LED bulbs are not worth it. In a world where energy will come from renewable energy, as it will for Analog Electric customers, the extra energy required to run incandescent bulbs will be worth it. And hey — you’ll save on heating in the winter!
- Analog Electric will discourage the shift from desktop computers to laptop computers and mobile devices. The requirement of wireless communications presented by many mobile and notebook devices counteracts any energy savings and poses a health risk. Furthermore, manufacturing these compact devices is far more energy-intensive and requires specialized natural resources — all to create a device that will ultimately provide minimal performance. The desktop computer will not only allow technology to stay relevant in the future but will help prevent unhealthy habits (i.e. technology at the table, technology addiction) and allow utilization of computing power in the most efficient way possible. Furthermore, desktop computers can be kept far away from the individual with the use of longer, shielded cords to connect the peripherals and monitor for those who are sensitized to the magnetic fields emitted by the computer.
- Analog Electric will work with municipalities to increase access to public transportation and design urban areas so that residents in these areas will not require a car. By limiting the ownership of cars to suburban and rural residents, we can dramatically cut carbon emissions. Analog Electric will work together with Bell Labs to analyze different solutions to the problem cars currently pose. Electric cars are not inherently any better than gasoline-powered cars since they require batteries, which are toxic and resource-intensive to create, and still require power that is usually still derived from fossil fuels anyways. Thus, Analog Electric will encourage a critical shift in the way cars are owned and utilized: drastically reducing ownership of cars in urban areas, and limiting car ownership to one per suburban and rural household, if that. This will also have the pleasant side-affect of avoiding needing to widen Interstate highways, repave roads, build more roads, and construct parking lots, structures, and garages.
- Part of sustainable living is minimizing or eliminating length commutes. While some of these may be unavoidable (i.e. commuting from a rural area to a suburban or urban area for work, etc.), commuting from urban areas to other urban areas or suburban areas to other suburban areas, etc. on a regular basis is wasteful and time-consuming. Analog Electric will work with scientists at Bell Labs to analyze these traffic patterns and why they happen in order to develop working solutions to minimize these long-distance commutes. As a result, the average commute distance will decrease and more of these commutes can be handled by public transportation, cycling, walking, or alternative transport.
- Analog Electric will work with Bell Labs to design and promote economically friendly and efficient alternative transportation, including hybrid-alternatives meant to bridge the gap between car and walking/cycling, such as the ELF (click here to watch a short video about the ELF).
- Analog Electric will discourage the regular use of vehicles by minors. In most cases, if a student lives further than 2 miles from school, busing is provided. Students should be discouraged from driving to school if they are eligible to take the bus, as this is not sustainable. If they are not eligible for busing because they live closer than 2 miles to school, they should walk or bike, which will replace carbon emissions with exercise. If they are not eligible for busing and live further than 2 miles away from school (i.e. student lives too far away from school), the student should consider ridesharing or getting a ride from parents on the way to work.
- Analog Electric will encourage the use of carpooling and ridesharing and programs (i.e. Interstate High Occupancy Vehicle lanes) that endorse these practices.
- Analog Electric will work with restaurants and households to eliminate the amount of food wasted. Leftover food from households and restaurants should either be used for composting or should be donated to farms for livestock feed in a mutually-beneficial arrangement.
- Analog Electric will encourage a reduction in population growth to reduce the effects of human activity on the planet. While any number of renewable practices will benefit the planet, overpopulation is a pressing problem that needs to be addressed. Economic incentives in conjunction with government programs and initiatives, such as encouraged use of contraceptives, can be used to address overpopulation. A gradual but natural reduction in human population from over 7 billion today to less than 2 billion in the future will cut human carbon emissions by half and allow for more efficient allocation and utilization of resources. Already, the trend of rural-to-urban migration has reversed to urban-to-suburban migration and even suburban-to-rural migration. An overall drop in the average global population density as well as population densities of rural, suburban, and urban areas is required.
- Analog Electric will encourage locally-sourced merchandise, produce, etc. to be purchased whenever possible. Globalization is responsible for a significant portion of current human carbon emissions. International trade should not be eliminated, but restricted to specialty items. The corresponding increase in cost for having the majority of products used in the United States once again made in the United States will discourage the excessive consumption practices that have become synonymous with developed countries and are extremely unsustainable.
- Analog Electric will discourage the use of wireless appliances and communications by civilians, including the use of cellular phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, etc. — all of which pose a severe health risk and consume far more energy than their hardwired counterparts.
- Analog Electric will discourage the use of toxic materials and chemicals when building homes, appliances, and equipment (i.e. bakelite, soft plastics).
- Analog Electric will encourage and foster the Tiny Home Movement in order to reduce our carbon footprint and discourage excess accumulation of property. Analog Electric will actively engage in legislation to make Tiny Homes safe, viable, and legal for living in.
- Analog Electric will discourage the use of pesticides, chemicals, vaccines, genetically modified food, pharmaceuticals, and fluoride in toothpaste and fillings, as well as discourage the use of chemical sweeteners and encourage lower levels of sugar and natural sweeteners in food and beverages. Analog Electric will encourage smaller portion sizes and smaller beverage sizes in order to reduce the prevalence of obesity and chronicle health disorders caused by excess sugar, fat, and weight. Analog Electric will also encourage an overall shift to healthier eating and the reduction of synthetics, chemicals, and misc. ingredients in mainstream food.
Analog Electric hopes not only to be the responsible provider of electricity but to also pave the way towards a healthier, more sustainable future for not just humans, but all habitats of the earth!