California electrical shortage audio

California is experiencing an electrical power shortage and has random brown outs. Many current audio products are now designed to be left with the power on (they say producing no harm or wear to the unit). Many manufactures recommend that leaving the power on allows the circuitry to remain at a constant operating temperature, providing better performance and longer life. Should I continue to leave my CD Player and integrated amplifier on in mute mode considering the California electrical power shortage and random brown outs? thanks...
Hi Hg; I'm in neighboring Oregon, so I have an interest in this issue too. Personally, I would rather turn my equipment off rather than have it receiving only partial power as in a "brown out". This is just my opinion. Having said that, I presently leave my transport, DAC, and pre-amp (tube) in standby as recommended by the manufacturer, but turn my big power amp off when not listening (300 wpc). According to R. Vandersteen, a solid state power amp will sound very good within 20 minutes of power-up, and that's been my experience too. Cheers. Craig.
craig, very interesting. my electronics manufacturers say just the opposite of yours and mr. vandersteen. that is, you gain nothing by leaving your dac and transport powered up but you do with your amp. i know from personal experienve that my ss amp takes at least 2 hours to fully warm up. that being said, i would not favor leaving any of my electronics powered up if you think you may be in for a black or brown out. I have no scientific basis for this but i've been told by several people in the industry whom i trust that this is the safest protocol to follow.
I usually leave on everything that doesn't have moving parts, like the preamp, DAC, and power amps. I used to leave everything on, but some tape decks and cd players have motors that continue to spin, and then belts and motors wear out too fast. I also have a power conditioner on my stuff since the power is so bad in my area, and I don't like to give up listinging to music during storms just to protect my equipment. I have read that brown-outs can be very hard on equipment like amps because when the voltage drops, the power supply draws more current than normal which can damage the circuits. In general I think its better to leave the eqipment on because it is warmed up and ready to go, but also keeping it at the operating temperature is easier on the components because you don't have the heat up/cool down cycle that can cause components to fail early. However, if your power is not clean, as during brown-outs or electrical storms etc, then you can be doing more harm than good if you don't have protection on the power line.
Hi gentelmen, i live on the island of GUAM. We get power knocked off frequently,along with electical storms. I have my cd plugged into a audioprism foundation 3 and my pass x350 direct.I have not had any problems.I leave everything on or running music thru it 24hrs. a day.
MY pass does sound better i noticed after being on 24hrs.a day and i mean on not in warm up mode. The sound is smoother and more revealing.
There are actually several issues involved here. For one, there is the danger of damage from turn on surges, which is the reason many manufacturers do not even provide an on/off switch for amplifiers or preamplifiers. However, if your electronics -- and especially your amplifier -- have a "soft-start" feature in which it takes anywhere from 15 seconds to a minute to reach full operating power (longer for tube amps, shorter for solid state), this is less of an issue. Secondly, my equipment does seem to sound better when left on all the time, which is what I usually do, but not without a little trepidation. Bryston (manufacturer of both my amp and preamp) has no formal recommendation on the subject. Third, even though all of my electronics are protected by professional/studio grade surge protectors, I always turn everything off during an electrical storm. This decision is based on experience. When we lived in New York, a power pole near our residence was struck by lightning and all of our light bulbs were blown out; and the permanent plug-in plastic night lights used by our then young children all melted. Several of our neighbors lost their well water pumps which were in the on cycle when the lightning struck. A dealer friend of mine lost several pieces of equipment when his store was struck by lightning, and he was using surge protectors. And finally, Sam Tellig in STEREOPHILE reported losing a Bryston integrated amplifier when a nearby power pole was hit by lightning. Fourth, and relating to the issue of brown-outs, when we lived in California, we were once subjected to a very localized brown-out (it encompassed a two-block area) due to a transformer problem and my amplifier suffered very severe damage to the power supply. Obviously, there is no perfect answer to fit every circumstance, so we must each make our own individual decisions. All in all, I personally would rather be a little safe than a lot sorry and thus take the actions outlined above.
I live in LA and have been able to monitor the frequency of the Brown outs with an APC power supply that I recently added to our computer. The APC has a "chirp" alarm that goes off when the power drops. Well, it chirps merrily all morning and throughout the day. It used to settle down after midnight, but this is no longer the case as I suspect that the power company is reducing their power output after that time. The Brown outs are not noticeable to me when I am playing music in that they do not cause MY DAC to lose data or cause anything to malfunction. I suspect that the power supplies on my gear have more than enough juice in reserve to cover these partial seconds of power reduction. I do not however play music at high volume. I now turn my SS amp off in between use to conserve energy (it idles in class A) and do not have standby on my tube amp. I do still leave my DAC and player on 24/7 because they both sound a bit lifeless (for many days) following being powered down for any amount of time. What is the difference between depleting the power supply reserves when playing complex music at high volume -vs- having the power input reduced for milliseconds at a time as far as damage to the equipment? I know that steady low (reduced) amperage is hard on power supplies (and light bulbs) but this is not a "steady" reduction of current (amps and voltage), not yet anyway. I also wonder what effect this would have on the power supply of a power supply/conditioner such as a PS model?
Dekay, you will not suffer a loss of current during brownouts. In fact just the opposite is true for most (non-resistive) components that are powered up during brownouts, a rise in current to account for the decrease in voltage while maintaining a desired (let's call it constant) power output. That is the crux of the biscuit.

Brownouts are one of the first phases of power reduction, and do not last short periods, but indeed rather long periods (hours) as the utilities lower the overall electrical distribution grid voltage to compensate for lack of production. The question you ask about the depleting of power supply (amplifiers and the like) reserves compared to brownouts presents two very different cases as I understand it. To maintain the stored energy capacity of the inductors and capacitors of the power supply requires a given AC supply power. If voltage goes down, current goes up to maintain that same power output. Large inductive loads -- AC units, refrigerators, inductive furnaces, etc. are all subject to the same issue. But I think that you may be able to live without your inductive furnace during the brownout anyway.
I realized I didn't address the "brownout" part very well. Brownout gets it's name from the fact that light bulbs, which are resistive loads, glow less brightly during this phase of utility energy conservation. Since the bult is a resistor, as voltage goes down, so does current flow. Not quite the same issue as motors that are being called upon to deliver 1.5 h.p. They simply draw more current at the reduced voltage to obtain the same power output.
Cornfed; Yep, I pretty much agree with you re: leaving amps on. My amp does sound pretty good after only 20-30 of "on" time, but IMO it sounds even better if I leave it on for 2-3 days. This amp (McCormack DNA-2DX) automatically goes into a standby mode after not getting a signal for 10 minutes, and then draws only about 130 watts (rather than about 325 at idle). I typically turn it on 2-3 hours prior to listening. I just thought R. Vandersteen's position on this might be interesting. Cheers. Craig.
While i basically like Richard Vandersteen and know first hand how opinionated he is, i tend to disagree with his findings. EVERY solid state power amp that i've ever owned sounds better after being left on for at least 24 - 36 hours or so. As to the original question about leaving gear turned on while "browning out", i would not think twice about it. If they are literally dropping power output i.e. voltage for periods of time, my equipment would be turned off when not in use. Low voltage can cause just as much of a problem as overvoltage. Some circuitry can become unstable under low voltage conditions and begin to oscillate. I would rather live with slightly worse sound for a period of time than have to worry about having to repair or replace my equipment. The bigger question is "WHY" are you still experiencing brown-outs and "WHY" hasn't there been a class action suit against the power companies for not providing the needed power ??? Sean
Let's get some facts straight first. A brown out is when businesses voluntarily turn half their lights off to try and avoid a black out. I also live in LA and I am only concerned with one issue. Who caused this problem? The liberal legislators have let the environmental wacko's dictate energy policies for the last 20 years. These wacko's won't let us build any new power plants or drill for oil anywhere. So we get to pay $2.00+ a gallon for gas while our electric bills go through the roof. I see these complete wacko's that don't even have a job, and are COMPLETELY USELESS TO SOCITITY on the news, telling us to ride a bike to work and turn our heaters down to 20 degrees. I would like to propose a new bumper stick that reads, improve California; Kill an environmentalist. Now we have elected Gray Davis our Governor and fearless Communist leader, wanting to take over the power companies. Great! Don't forget that Bill Clinton protected 60 million acres of land. Let's see how badly this screws us in the near future. Thanks you a--hole.

Sorry I got off track, I thought for a moment I was posting a political tread.

I would love to see this energy debacle set the environmental movement back at least 20 years.
Chriskh, man are you SERIOUSLY misinformed. I am a physicist and geochemist by training. I worked for a major oil and gas research group over the past decade, mostly developing new ways (e.g., diagenetic modeling and well log analysis methods) to predict the locations of previously unknown oil and gas deposits, and also researching means such as CO2 injection to enhance production from tapped out fields (even after a field is tapped out, there is still a lot of oil left in the ground -- when it takes a barrel's worth of energy to get a barrel out of the ground, pumping is no longer worthwhile). It's largely because of this kind of research that a gallon of gas still costs less than a gallon of milk. I now work for and environmental organization dealing with ecological problems in the Rocky Mountain region, some of which are being caused by oil and gas field development. So that makes me one of the "environmentalists" you seem to want to blame for all your problems. Here is a little factual information in response to your baseless claim that "environmental wacko's" don't let oil companies "drill for oil anywhere" and are responsible for the high price of gas. First, nearly all the U.S. fields that had significant oil deposits have already been drilled and tapped out; the remaining fields are typically much smaller, deeper, and thus more costly to locate, drill and put into production. This is the main reason for low U.S. production. The second factor is price. When oil dips below $22 barrel or so (controlled entirely by global supply), it is no longer cost effective for oil companies to drill new wildcat or exploratory wells or to pay for seismic shots, core and well-log analysis (e.g, gamma ray, porosity, conductivity), and other research needed to help find new fields in the U.S. It is a lot cheaper for them to simply import oil from somewhere outside the U.S. where huge oil fields are already known to exist close to the surface. Check the U.S. rig count figures over the years and try to correlate them with oil price and environmental regulations -- you'll find the environmental regs have nothing to do with the level of U.S. drilling activity; it is entirely price-driven. Third, contrary to your claim, the vast majority of lands in the U.S. are actually open to oil & gas development right now, and they will remain so. A very small percentage of sensitive lands (e.g., lakes, wetlands, scenic areas, historic sites, etc.) presently have "no surface occupancy" stipulations which do not allow for drilling on-site but do allow directional drilling from outside the area. Another small percentage of land in the U.S. has been deemed so special it has been designated "wilderness" and is off limits to drilling. However, the vast majority of wilderness areas are "rock & ice" (i.e., high elevation alpine areas) and don't have any hydrocarbon recovery potential. (Essentially all oil & gas deposits are found in the sedimentary basins between mountain ranges, i.e., the same places where most highways are built.) For instance, the Bighorn Basin and Thunder Basin Grassland in Wyoming both have something like 98% of their lands classifed as fully or seasonally open to oil & gas drilling, and the remaining 2% or so of the lands are NSO and can be drilled directionally from off-site. The 60 million acres of land you refer to are "roadless areas" that have remained roadless over the past century of rampant development largely because they lack appreciable natural resources and are inaccessible. The few roadless areas that have oil and gas resources can still be drilled directionally. This policy won't "screw us in the future" as you claim. It is also worth pointing out that over a million people commented in support of Clinton's policy to protect these special areas -- more public comment than was submitted on any federal proposal in history. Maybe you think public comment shouldn't be used to decide how to manage the public's resources. Finally, I will add that there are, in fact, thousands and thousands of new oil and gas wells being drilled in the U.S. each year, with thousands of miles roads, powerlines, and pipelines to support this fast-paced development. For instance, in the Powder River Basin of NE Wyoming, some 5,000 new coalbed methane (CBM) wells have been built in the past few years, and another 5,000-10,000 wells are anticipated in the next 5 years. In the basins of SW Wyoming, 5,000-10,000 new oil and gas wells are also planned for construction, along with a host of new roads, etc. If you want to confirm these figures, I encourage you to call the Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission or the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Rock Springs, Wyoming. In any case, you are just plain wrong to say that oil companies are not being allowed to drill anywhere; they are allowed to drill practically everywhere, and they are taking full advantage of it. If you're pissed off about the price of gas, blame OPEC for tightening its taps; blame U.S. oil companies for overcharging you and for tapping out our reserves when oil wasn't worth much; blame utility companies for poor management and for not being prepared for such a cold winter; blame Clinton, Bush Sr., and Reagan for not establishing sensible energy policies over the past 2 decades; blame the people of the U.S. for wasting $2 billion a year on needless nighttime lighting; or blame all those people who bought gas-guzzling SUVs, knowing full-well that oil is a finite, non-renewable resources. Just don't blame the handful of good people who are trying to keep a few places wild and beautiful for your children to enjoy. Since you are an audiophile, I would assume you also have a great appreciation for things of beauty, so I can't really understand why you seem to hate environmentalists. "Kill an Environmentalist"? I won't wish bad things on you -- it sounds like you've got a serious bout of ignorance to deal with already which is one of the worst curses of all. Fortunately, though, it's curable, but it will take some work on your part. You can start by actually researching the issues before you mouth off and try to incite others. In the mean time, please don't spew your baseless, inflamatory B.S. on this website -- especially under the guise of setting "some facts straight." Don
Chriskh, I would beg to differ with you on what a brownout is. I have been involved with power generation for 15 years, operated a large utility base load generating station, am somewhat familiar with the agreements that utilities and regional power dispatchers utilize in the event of power shortfalls, and have in fact been working during periods when actions have been taken in accordance with such agreements . What you refer to a "brownout" is really a reduction based upon contractual agreement between commercial and industrial customers and their utility companies, or in some cases simply voluntary reductions to ease the grid load. Some industrial and commercial companies, in return for rate compensation, are contractually required to completely shutdown production during periods when load demand exceeds production. The colloquial term "brownout" applies to various stages of grid voltage reduction mandated by the governing agreements between the utility power generators and regional or local distribution organizations. The reductions occur in steps to limit the effect on end users, and if not successful in preventing demand from exceeding generating capacity, could result in local rolling blackouts to reduce demand to a manageable level. This step prevents uncontrolled blackouts resulting from extended long-term generation and demand mismatches. The New York City blackout is an example of what can happen during long-term mismatches, and while the cause of that problem had nothing to do with regional mismatches, the results were in fact the same. The New York City blackout caused national and regional distribution organizations to re-think and change their management strategies to deal with such problems.
Djjd, I would like to add another group of folks to your list that deserve some blame as well. Not that you really need many more, but I think one group of folks should get the finger pointed at them. I am talking about us. We are all partly responsible for the power shortfalls occurring in Ca. In our zeal to deregulate the electric utility industry, we overlooked the fact that if utilities are not lawfully mandated to ensure that sufficient power does and will exist it may not. Simply believing that if the demand is there, the desire of utilities to make money will ensure that supply will match it is flawed. Utilities found that more money can be made, with lower capital investment and greater profit margins simply by operating distribution and supply, rather than generation. Quite a few smaller companies simply wish to be in the “wires” business, selling or closing generating facilities while they can still recoup their capital investments through the present regulatory structure by passing it along to customers. A lot of companies simply don’t wish to take the risk that the fluctuating natural gas and oil prices may have on their return, and simply aren’t taking the plunge into huge capital investments that base load generating facilities require. Because of the political climate, companies are not building large nuclear facilities, and probably won’t for quite a few years to come. The deregulation of the utility industry hasn’t struck the country as hard as it has in Ca., but IMHO it’s coming.

I said that we, us, Joe and Jane Blow, should partly accept the responsibility because I believe we didn’t do our homework when we allowed our elected officials to pass laws permitting deregulation. Many people surely believed the hype that it would result in lower electric rates. When? In 10 years? 20? Doesn’t do many people in Ca. and the pacific northwest much good now. Did deregulation of the airline industry in the United States result in lower fares and safer travel? My opinion would be no to both. Anti-trust laws did in Ma Bell, but has phone service improved; have rates lowered; can you get anyone to come to your house to fix the service your dog chewed through without paying a premium for it? Stand by for Microsoft. It will truly surprise me if the breakup promotes competition, improves the computer industry, or makes anything cheaper. Don’t get me wrong. I love capitalistic free enterprise. I just don’t believe that we as consumers should chew on whatever our elected officials serve up. Climbing down off the soap box.

My opinion, for what it’s worth.
Massvm: I then have been using the term "Brown out" incorrectly to describe the situation where the power drops for only a small portion of a second. This is what I am experiencing at this time (if the APC unit is accurate in testing for this). It appears that we are just having fluctuations in my area (approx. one every 30 seconds or so) instead of a constant reduction of either voltage or amps. I really don't know the difference between the two other than that "amps" can make or break you (I have been shocked by both low and high amperage lines with the same stated voltage and the difference was quite apparent). An electrician told us a couple of years ago that we had problems with low amperage in our building which was why the light bulbs were only lasting a couple of weeks (we also went through a computer fan every 6 to 9 months or so during this period as the motors burned out). Since then the electric company replaced the power transformer that feeds our building and now things seem to be back to normal (as far as light bulbs, anyway). I am a bit concerned about this issue as I have a lot of money (for me anyway) invested in my current system, that I am actually satisfied with and wish to keep long term.
wow, but for chriskh, i certainly am proud of the company i keep. the diversity of backgrounds and depth of knowledge displayed by a-goners astounds me more every day. bravo don! bravo massm!
A few comments on the state of power supplies in California from energy land: Texas. While all of the comments made above have some merit. The genesis of the existing power shortages has nothing to do with macro-level economic or energy policy. The State of California and its citizens got into this mess by:

- Making a decision to refuse pemitting of new or expansion of existing power generation capacity, relying on merchant power generation elsewhere to fuel their economy.
-Declining ro make use of existing risk management tools and long term power supply contracts in favor of power purchasing and allocation by a state agency operating in the "spot" market. This makes it infeasible for any private power generator to finance a plant to supply California with power because they have no long term client commitment. Additionally it exposes the power agency to price volatility that no sane business man would accept.
-Implementing price controls on power that limit the price that can be charged by "lines & wires" companies to end users. This has three major effects, first at current market prices exceeding $1000/ megawatt, No one wants to send power to California for the $250/ megawatt maximum cost. Second the lines & wires company lose $750/ megawatt on everything they sell, losing $3 for every 1$ of revenue so that now PG&E and SoCal Edison are insolvent and have negative net worth in the billions. Third, artificially cheap power due to price controls ( users paying 25% of actual cost) increases quantity demanded, which makes the price go up,which makes utilities lose more money, which makes the power generation companies, more reluctant to sell power to them, etc. etc.

The oil business, drilling on public land, etc have very little to do with this problem. Virtually all the generation capacity developed in the U.S in the last 10 years has been in natural gas fired plants. We do not have a shortage of natural gas. However, we cannot radically increase supply, build pipelines to carry it, and build generating plants to turn it into electric power nearly as fast as the idiot politicians and bureaucrats in California can increase demand, restrain supply, and simultaneously attempt to violate the laws of economics and physics.

At the moment major power suppliers are providing the energy in California for free. Neither the utilities or state have funds to pay for it but the bill will come due and the citizens will pay.

This problem is not the result of macroeconomic forces or evil energy companies conspiring against us. Its stupid is as stupid does.
If you are in CA like I am then play it safe while helping out by turning your system off when not in listening use or bring in alternative energy source to power the system. We all an strong economy. BTW: those of you that are not in CA don't think this won't happen in your area. It can and most will unless your state has been planning for lots of power margin in the future. Remember - deregulation is the mantra of large power interests.
I knew my tangent would get this topic on the right path. I would like to agree with cornfedboy, this is a very intelligent panel. I would also like to say to Ignatz, very well said. And to Djjd, I will do some research regarding our oil companies being able to drill everywhere. My initial reaction is bull. We are importing 20% more from OPEC and producing 20% less. Several of our oil fields are about to stop producing. I am a capitalist and will assume our nations oil companies are interested in selling all the oil they can get their hands on. As a business owner, I never want to loss sales to any competitor regardless if I am getting a higher unit price. There are ways of controlling the price without losing sales to OPEC. I am sure OPEC is not sharing the profits with our oil companies for producing less. I will apologize for saying we should kill environmentalist.

California citizens should blame our local politicians (mostly liberals) for setting up our power deregulation this way. I believe that Texas deregulated their power successfully. I also know that all of California’s power companies agreed; they should not have. Actually, I don’t believe that LA participated in this madness. I also believe that LA is making 30 to 40 million a month selling power to the rest of California. We can also blame our local politicians (mostly liberals) for allowing the environmentalist to make it so difficult in building new power plants. I would like to suggest building a lot more nuclear plants. I bet that statement knocked off a few environmentalists. You guys and gals have a great weekend. Pop a beer, uncork a great bottle of wine or… and listen to great music. P.S. Even you Djjd. God bless.
It was the Republican Governor Pete Wilson, who pushed and signed legislation deregulating the power industry. It was the Democrats who fought against it for fear of the very events that has taken place during the past few months.
From my very “clever” moniker, I’m sure many can guess that I reside in Massachusetts. The State that is home to elected officials such as Senator Ted “My dog’s name is Splash” Kennedy, domicile to Willie “weekend furlough” Horton, as well as the mailing address of more than just a few of the countries finest liberal institutions and organizations. In short, not a state looked at as a benchmarking locale for conservative politic views.

Despite the political bent in Massachusetts, the commonweal accepted proposed legislation to deregulate the electric power generation industry. I state this to point out that an elected official’s political affiliations don’t necessarily play into the decision making process, at least it didn’t in Massachusetts

What drives deicsions such this? It’s shortsighted greed, simple myopic avarice. A trait that has found a happy home in both of our countries largest political parties; and let’s not forget about the supporters of said parties. Us. Short term black ink, and let’s hope for the best in the future. Ignatz made a great point about the proper use of our national resources. The natural gas price crunch has hit the country hard in the last few months; prices here have gone up close to 40% in one month alone. Even though most of the residents here would like to believe it, the “evil” local utilities are not to blame. The price increases are dictated by supply and demand and passed on, without profit to distribution companies and utilities, to the consumers. More clean burning gas power plants, a colder winter across the entire country, home usage increases, and viola, demand exceeds supply and distribution capacity.

Governor Wilson will (sadly) fail in providing the generation so badly needed for California, and importation at enormous cost will continue. The residents have been fed a political placebo by statements that new generation will be brought on line to combat the shortfall of reserves. He’s attempting to treat a compound fracture with iodine and Band-Aids. Long-term planning is necessary to avert the problems that California residents currently, and in the future, will face.

The supercilious blame directed toward political parties won’t fix it. Just look in the mirror to you’ll find the culprit.

OUCH! Think I broke my ankle falling off the soap box. Anybody got a Band-Aid?

My opinion, for watt (sic) it’s worth.
I wonder if we're going to see a sell off of Pass Labs equipment in California ? In my state with .05 cent / kwH electricity , I noticed my electricity bill went up by $20 a month when my aleph 2's landed. How much is California electricity now ?
Djjd - Bravo, well said. It's also worth noting that over population is the underlying cause. As the population steadily rises so will the shortages.
I live in Los Angeles and find it intersting that our public untility (DWP) has excess power and hasn't had a rate hike in more than eight years. Fewer fingers in the pie? Less raping and pillaging? Being in an all electric building, with dreaded radiant heat, this doesn't stop me from getting outragious bills during the "cold" winter months here. ;~)
As a resident of LA, I think that we all have a responsibility to help in the energy crisis here. I agree with most of the sound related posts that my amps sound harsh at first turn-on and about 95% after around an hour warm up. They still get a little better over a day or so. I really like how my system sounds after a long warm up.
That said, I am running Aleph 2 monos and at 600w/ hr just being turned on, that's not only a heap of change, but is a little irresponsible in light of the current (no pun intended) situation.
As far as the political tangent on this thread, I think one of our weaknesses as Americans is we often look to blame (or lynch) someone else for causing just about any problem. Everyone who consumes enregy is at least a part of the problem.
If we spent half as much energy trying to fix, or better yet prevent problems, rather than finding scapegoats, we'd be a hell of a lot better off. Responsibility is what helped make America great. I wish we all would accept a little more nowadays.
Now back to the thread from a pure audio sound/safety standpoint. Most of my equipment has built in protection. I also run pretty good conditioning/ surge protection on the lines. However, I have had several days in the last 5 mos where I return home and my preamp (Muse 3) is, for lack of a better word, "shorted". The LED lights are incorrect and I need to unplug and replug it to get it to work again. I also had a Faroudja DV-1000 fry one night this fall in spite of line conditioning. Fortunately, it was repaired for only a couple hundred bucks. My VCR's and clocks were reset at these times too, so it's wasn't isolated to the components. For these reasons, I turn my stuff off most of the time.
I turn off the amps due to the electricity shortage. I do admit that I justified leaving them on over the "cold" LA winter as they were serving as heaters for my home. (Pretty good rationalization anyway). Peace,

Tsquared... get some tubes. Better sound *and* good karma to boot ;~). I'm cooking Paella on an open wood fire this weekend just to show that we don't need to be slaves to "the man".
Chriskh - Thanks for toning down the rhetoric and for agreeing to do some research on the issue of oil & gas production in the U.S. Since you seemed skeptical of my post concerning the high level of drilling activity that's going on in the United States, I thought I'd pass along some recently published figures on this subject.

A March 2001 report just released by the Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission states that there are now a total of 17,450 permits for coal-bed methane wells in the Powder River Basin of northeastern Wyoming alone. The breakdown on well development is as follows:

4,900 wells currently producing gas in this Basin,
9,600 new wells that have been drilled recently but are not yet producing,
2,950 active permits for other new wells that have not yet been drilled.

The Wyoming Oil & Gas Commission reports that an average of 40 permits for new wells are issused each day. These figures were also reported by the Casper Star Tribune newspaper (Wyoming's only state-wide newspaper) on April 11, 2001. You can request a copy of this paper at

The Casper Star Tribune also cites a U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) report estimating that the number of methane wells in Wyoming's Powder River Basin (an area encompassing roughly 13,500 square miles) could reach 51,000 wells by 2010 and 70,000 wells by 2060. This will result in an average of more than 5 gas wells on each square mile of land. No estimates were provided for the amount of roads, powerlines, pipelines, etc. that would be constructed to facilitate all these wells.

These figures reflect the drilling activity in only one basin in only one western state. Thus, my previous post was inaccurate -- there is significantly more drilling activity going on in Wyoming than I had suggested.

As for your doubts about how little public land is closed to oil & gas development, the Casper Star Tribune (April 15, 2001 issue) obtained the following figures from the BLM for public lands in Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado:

WY: 97.5% open, only 2.5% of public lands closed to mineral (i.e., oil & gas) leasing,
MT: 98% open, only 2% of public lands closed to mineral leasing,
CO: 96.5% open, only 3.5% of public lands closed to mineral leasing.

These figures are consistent with those I reported in my previous post. No estimate was given for how much of the "potential" oil and gas reserves under the small percentage of the lands with a "no-surface occupancy" (NSO) closure could be tapped from outside the areas using directional drilling technology. (In my estimation, virtually all the potential deposits under NSO areas can be accessed directionally without lifting surface restrictions needed to protect soils, streams, structures, camp grounds, cultural cites, wildlife habitat, etc.).

Moving on to the roadless policy you were concerned about, the Casper Star Tribune (4/15/01 issue) cites a U.S. Geological Survey report which calculated that the "roadless" lands in six states contain less than 0.6% of nation's natural gas deposits and an even smaller percentage of the nation's oil desposits. This is consistent with what was reported in my earlier post. No estimate was given by USGS or the Tribune for how much of this small amount of "potential" reserve could be extracted by directional drilling from along the boundaries of the roadless areas.

Here are a few other figures reported by the Casper Star Tribune (4/15/01 issue) you might find interesting:

The U.S. contains less than 3% of the world's known oil reserves (nearly all of which is currently accessible).

The Bush administration's budget cuts $200 million from federal renewable energy and efficiency programs, cuts 50% from geothermal technology programs, and cuts 54% from solar
energy programs.

The Bush administration's budget provides a $15 million increase in funding for BLM to expand oil and gas development on public lands in the western U.S.

Food for thought. Do with it what you will.
Ah, America! Land of the strong, home of the blame it on anyone but me. Massvm and Tsquared have it right. It's us, the citizens of this country, we want it all, all the power, but at no cost. When the energy crises hit in the early 70's we all jumped to attention. We looked for alternate sources of energy, wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal, wave generation... We cut back on consumption, turning or lights off much less our 1000w amps. we changed the heat and cooling requirements by changing the temperature in our homes. Hell we even changed our homes, better insulation, smaller, more efficient. We alternated shifts in our factories to off hour production. WE- yes we the American public even gave up our cars! Remember when a sales tool was 50 mpg and not 50% bigger than a suburban? My wife and I have for the past 15 years asked, What the hell happened to concerns for energy?

So yes two bad Republican and one bad Democratic White house have paid the tole, and now WE THE MIGHTY AMERICANS demand MORE POWER!! We whine because gasoline prices are approaching the world price threshold. We scream because our power is no longer constant and is subject to fluctuations the rest of the world are used to (at the cost of bowing to the great empire)


It's time folks, time to climb down from your mighty SUV, time to close off a portion of your 8000 sq. ft. house.
We were so close 25 years ago! Remember? All the funding for research is gone, the tax incentives are gone. The Universities have redirected there research to other areas. Not a single nuclear power plant is even proposed, solar and wind energy are in there infancy, diapers for 25 years, mpg- do they still post that?
Wake-up! The press is more interested in blaming the environmentalists, the environmentalists want to blame big business, big business is blaming deregulation to smaller companies, the US government lobs a bomb or two as an annual message to the middle east, the globe blames the US industrialist for global warming and NO ONE TAKES THE BLAME. IT'S US KIDS!!!!!!!!
I hope we do start looking at these issues and not have "MORE" continue as the solution. I was crushed 25 years ago after 8 years of research into energy efficient structures and process, only to find the tax incentives (funding) were gone.

If we really do care, we'll turn off our amps during the day (peak demand) while were at work and turn them on a couple hours ahead of time, maybe leaving them on through the weekend. It's up to us, but it requires each of use to cast blame on ourselves first, not on all the excuses we use.
O.K. enough from me. I'm not a liberal or an environmentalist and I'm not a republican either. I voted for Jessie, so go figure. J.D.