Sunday, August 03, 2008

Which do you agree with?

First up, here's ChickenYoghurt with a new challenge.
Anybody care to have a punt on how many extra deaths the British Gas price rise will cause this winter?

Justin goes for 10,000. Of course, I imagine that he could personally save a few by tightening his belt and donating the money saved to some pensioners in his area: after all, surely saving a life or two is more important than being able to access the internet, eh?

Or, of course, you could take the PigDogFucker approach.
The price of energy is much higher than it used to be. Therefore, British Gas is putting up prices. This will mean that we waste less energy. Good.

Indeed. Wasting energy is a bad thing. And I thought that we wanted people to use less energy in order to stop Armageddon, or something? Surely everyone should be jumping up and down with joy?

But what about those pensioners?
And no, this won’t kill pensioners, or any of that shite. For a start, pensioners in the UK are fucking loaded – they’re less likely to be poor than the population as a whole. I have no idea why the ‘ooh, those struggling old people’ nonsense comes up whenever energy pricing is mentioned, but it’s bollocks.

Fair enough.
In any case, most homes in the UK didn’t even have central heating until after WWII - it’s not as if we needed to heat our entire houses up like tropical paradises all winter. If you’re really fucking poor, why not try only heating your front room rather than the whole house, using a thick duvet and blankets in your bedroom, wearing more clothes, and generally stopping this nonsensical bleating about “oh noes, the basic cost structure of society has shifted due to oil scarcity, I blame the evil bastards at EDF and British Gas”...

Indeed so. Your humble Devil lives in a block of flats in which all of the heating is centrally controlled so, alas, I am unable to control the temperature of my flat (besides, it's always hot in Hell). I also have no idea what temperature people generally set the thermostat too, but Timmy expresses disbelief that it might be as high as 21°C.

Still, if you are worried about pensioners popping their clogs because of the cold, maybe we should reduce demand for heating fuel? So, why don't we start lambasting the government for ensuring that their offices are kept at a balmy 23°C, eh?


Anonymous said...

23,000 elderly people died because of the cold in 2005 [in England & Wales] - there were 29,000 deaths in 2004.

Most suffer heart attack or strokes due to thrombotic or embolic events [blood thickens as temperature drops resulting in clot formation].

There is a linear relationship between the number of deaths and lowering of each degree.

Jake Ulrich the boss of Centrica [parent company of British Gas] suggested the elderly should "wear two jumpers".
The 55yr old who struggles to get by on more than £1 mil a year, has a pension pot worth a mere £3.2 mil - he prefers underfloor heating to the bulky and frankly inconvenient additional clothing gambit.

I'm sure pigdog must have felt a warm glow inside after Jakes sage advice ?

IanPJ said...

One of the things that the press seem not to mention is the overall consumption figures.

All energy companies are beholding to their shareholders, who expect year on year growth.

As the great global warming scam, backed by governments begins to bite, we see overall consumption figures falling, but energy companies must make more money to satisfy shareholder expectations.

The only way in which they can satisfy both Government calls for less consumption and shareholder calls for more profits is to raise the price.

This quote from the BERR Energy Trends document June 08 gives the real picture.

Total inland consumption
In 2007 consumption of primary fuels was lower than the preceding year, 2.8 per cent down on
2006. The largest contribution to this fall in absolute terms was from coal (which decreased by 6.4
per cent). On a temperature corrected basis, consumption in 2007 was 2.2 per cent lower than in
Total inland energy consumption, on a primary fuel input basis (not temperature corrected or
seasonally adjusted), in the first quarter of 2008 was 64.8 million tonnes of oil equivalent. This was
0.8 per cent higher than in the corresponding period a year ago and 8.2 per cent lower than in the
corresponding period two years ago.

link to the document here.

Anonymous said...

So, some elderly folk suffer a massive stroke or heart attack to keep the shareholders happy ?


IanPJ said...

For further reference, you may like to view a series of Excel spreadsheets generated by BERR, overall entitled Energy consumption in the United Kingdom.

Although Energy Consumption was published in July 2002, the consumption tables which are National Statistics were updated in July 2008.

chris said...

What is this heating of which you speak? Sweltering down here under the sub-tropical sun I'm not going to close the windows until November. As for the gas, just got so say that this is obviously not the time to put a windfall tax on them so as to make the prices even higher. Unless this is Labour's way of reducing the costs on the NHS, by just killing all the old people nice and gently from hypothermia instead of having to treat them.

Mercurius Aulicus said...

A room heated to 21 degrees Celsius is high? I would be wearing a tracksuit to keep out the cold if I were in Britain.

Roger Thornhill said...

If it bothers you, donate, or at least ensure your own wrinklies are kept warm.

Centrica makes a profit because they are selling their gas wholesale and BG buys it at market rates. BG makes about £10 per customer year.

The Remittance Man said...

Well, try this: Here in Kleinkudoeskop at this time of year, the daytime temperature is about 15 to 20 degrees. At night it drops to only a couple of degrees above freezing (we even get frost once or twice a year). But winer only lasts about two months so the houses are designed to ward off heat not cold. While I'm awake, I leave the doors open to let the Fearsome Hounds of Remittance wander in and out. Basically this means in the morning and evening my house is chuffing cold. Do I have an electric blanket? An electric fire? No, I just put on a jersey and make a big mug of tea

Anonymous said...

You're in danger of tipping over the line into talking arse here, especially Tim's "I don't know what's right, but that sounds wrong to me" argument. Well, me, I used to work in building services engineering, that's a polite word for being a maintenance man. Standard office temperature in ye office blocks of ye City Of London is around 21C, and most people, particularly women, are more comfortable in a higher temperature than that, 23 or 24.

Part of it's what you're doing. Sitting still for long periods, typing, hands get cold etc. It's not imaginary. 21 is a reasonably comfortable temperature. I'm a bit disappointed to see a kind of greenie-style comfort denialist argument going on, "well why can't the moaning bastards wear balaclavas and fingerless gloves?" Yes, and why can't they eat stale bread and cheese, they have it to easy these days, when I were a lad...

Everyone's overlooking the fact that when it got cold in the old days, you started up a big roaring fire in the grate and clustered around it, abandoning the rest of the house to spiders and cold adapted mice. They're also overlooking the fact that we are more sendentary these days, sitting in front of a PC, rather than chopping wood for the fire. Most kids aren't even allowed out of the house to play these days without armed guards. Life has changed.

Central heating doesn't provide spot radiant heating, as fires did. You need to get the whole space to a standard comfortable temperature, because you're heating the air rather than people sitting basking in the radiant warmth. Try toasting a crumpet on a radiator** and you'll grasp the difference.

Back in the old days we did it such and such a way. Yes. People forget that the old days were mostly crap. You also need to remember that back in the old days old folks were more likely to live with families and benefit from spreading of costs and subsidy; and that they didn't live as long either. Telling a 95 year old alone in a frigid sheltered flat to put on another jumper is just plain ignorant.

**radiators actually convect more than they radiate. You can improve the efficiency no end by mounting fans under them.

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