Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Osaka's "Third Way" to Conserve Electricity in Summer: Citizen Informants

The boy-wonder mayor of Osaka City, who wants to teach "the next generation" a lesson on electricity conservation by having them experience rolling blackouts, proposes his "third way" to combat electricity consumption during the peak hours in the hot summer days.

(As a reminder, the first way is to restart Ooi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture, and the second way is to have the rolling blackouts.)

What's his third way? Mainichi Shinbun says it is to turn the residents into the informants for the local government who will rat out businesses that look like using too much electricity.

From Mainichi Shinbun evening paper for Osaka (part; 5/15/2012):


On the other hand, the energy strategy conference of Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City proposed its own plan to save electricity on May 15. It includes setting up the "electricity saving informing counter" where the residents report offices and stores whose lighting is too bright, encouraging electricity saving among medium- and small-size businesses. The plan also calls for shutting down the government offices in the afternoon during the middle of summer. Overall, 1.1 million kilowatt saving is being targeted from households, businesses, and government offices.

I don't see why it should stop at reporting the seemingly wasteful businesses. Everybody against everybody else, like the life under the Stasi, except the Japanese are probably better at it than East Germans. After all, 250 years of peace during the Edo era (until the Black Ships appeared) were partly maintained by the "group of 5 households" in which people watched their 4 other neighboring households for suspicious behaviors, for mutual assistance, and for collective responsibility. That system was resurrected as the "neighborhood group" in the Showa era before the World War II, and it continues today as "voluntary" neighborhood association all over Japan, though without collective responsibility or mutual watch for suspicious behaviors.


JAnonymous said...

How long before he starts his own religion and has statues of him placed in all parks in Osaka ?

Seriously now, this person amazes me. I guess the 4th way (he might dare to call it final solution, after all he seems to prefer the darkest parts of history) will be to increase electricity prices by a ridiculous amount, say 200%, so that people will refrain by themselves. Kansai people will probably rush for diesel generators.

Anonymous said...

He needs to go back to the drawing board.

Anonymous said...

This is Japans future, no foresight, stupidity and totalitarianism by a total shithead of a governor, i thought Ishihara was bad, but this guy?

Anonymous said...

Working in government in the States, I can honestly say, this third response is the first response that finally makes sense from him. The reality is simple. Nuclear energy provided a false sense of endless energy resources, and without the nuke plants, power resources appear to be not so endless. How do you control a situation where supplies are limited? You ration. How do you ensure that rationing works? Everyone watches to ensure everyone is rationing.

The reality is resources are not unlimited, and that if we want to go without nuclear plants (which I strong encourage), we can not continue to live in a world where capitalism simply tries to use as much of the resources as it can based purely on what the market can afford.

We must start balancing our resource usage, and instead of requiring permits to pollute the land, simply require permits to be able to use the land. You see this model in use elsewhere, like getting a permit to hunt. There's only so many animals to kill...

Anonymous said...

Anon above, uh... by ratting out each other for the government?

Anonymous said...

One person's "ratting out" is another person's "citizen obligation". I'll give you two examples that I see running in the same vein as this.

On your local highway, you may have signs that say "If you see a drunk driver, please call *199". If you saw a drunk driver, would you call to potentially save a life or just see that as "ratting out"?

In your national parks, you may have signs that warn about illegal fires. If you saw someone behaving dangerously, would you notify a forest ranger to potentially save a national treasure, or at the very least, maybe save some homes from burning to the ground if a forest fire started? Maybe that too would be "ratting out".

Ask yourself this... if this story broke with your favorite non-government organization setting up the service booth, would this somehow be more palettable? Consider the question honestly, because forces are at work to convince you your government can never do anything right.

Those who attempt to control this world through the shadows love that when your government actually tries to do something good, the numerous times your government has failed you serves as a stumbling block to engaging your government in those few times where government actually has a decent idea. They fear nothing more than a government by the people, for the people... and valued by the people.

The harsh truth is that it took many governments and many thousands of years to produce the democracy we have. There were many bad ideas before we got this one right. There will be many more bad ideas before we get the next one right. We just need to make sure we actually allow the next right idea to flourish when it comes along.

Anonymous said...

>if this story broke with your favorite non-government organization setting up the service booth, would this somehow be more palettable?

No thank you. Just go vote for Obama and praise the government.

Anonymous said...

Very few energy-intensive businesses use the majority of energy (think 80/20 rule or even more). This is totally not obvious for an outsider to judge - what can they say, oh they still have the lights on etc.? - it is a silly exercise. Just go to the power companies and ask who are your top 10% of consumers and force them to reduce by 20-30%. But of course the guy is too scared to do that, instead keep the populace busy spying on each other for no real benefit.

In fact, the highest consumer in a private household is a TV. Yeah, tell people to not buy flashy TVs or stop watching content-free talento shows or news.

JAnonymous said...

Well, that reading above was quite shocking, about the 'ratting out each other' examples. And while I can understand that they make sense, I believe the context to be different.

If we want to ration electrical power, then so be it : electricity can be measured so there's no need to rat, and unless you make electricity consumption outlawed, I can't see how it relates to drunk driving (which is unlawful) or illegal fires (the name says it).

As I said, people will turn to other sources. Their own solar panel or wind array (yay) OR diesel generators (boo).

Anonymous said...

Stasi was quite successful I hear. The official name of the country was Democratic Republic of Germany, if I recall.

I heard neighbors turning on diesel generators during the CA rolling blackouts. They needed to keep the oxygen flowing for their illness.

Lord Metroid said...

How about everyone installs solapanels on the roofs. That should yield quite a lot of electricity during the day when it is needed the most.

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