Monthly Archives: January 2019

Brett Houser with Greenlots suggests that every electric vehicles pulls as much power as a single family house per day  Ouch!  That was not what you expected right?  That means lots of power plants – upgraded wiring, new poles, new transformers, etc.  Subsides to encourage electric vehicles, but all power consumers pay the cost of upgrades.  J.A. Lesser, notes that the subsidies for electric vehicles primary go to those who can afford electric cars, which are currently high end vehicles, so the benefit translate to the higher income people, vs working people who pay for all power.  The savings in emissions is a question unless power plants become cleaner (a question under the Trump White House).  Otherwise we are simply switching fuels – gasoline for natural gas (at the moment).   While natural gas now exceeds coal as the largest fuel source for power plants, but appears to have peaked at about 33%.  One issue may be that natural gas has priority for heating – some diversions in the winter could pose a challenge if new pipelines are not constructed.  And that has been an ongoing challenge in some communities.

Renewables are the only sector climbing because they are easily placed and can be constructed in small increments, but they are only 12% of total power produced although many electric vehicle supported think solar and EVs are a match.  Time will tell if the battery technology has developed to appoint that is can address the night time concerns with solar electric.

So back to self driving vehicles – how soon is the technology coming?  Hard to say.  Sensors are an issue.  “Seeing” the road lanes is an issue.  Snow, rain, sleet are issues.  Liability is an issue.  Ownership may be an issue if the cost is high.  Who holds the insurance (Warren Buffett has asked this question).  But we sure could get some work done in the self driving vehicle. …


One of the quiet issues that was raised during the 2016 election was that there was a goal to have long haul trucking done by autonomous vehicles within 10 years.  Many large companies, including Amazon and Google, plus members of both political parties talked about safety and reduced costs.  Long haul truckers are about 1.3 of the cost for transportation in the US – 10% of the economy. That means some big profits for someone.  Here is a link –

One of the issues is the age of long haul truckers – they are getting older which increases accident risk. There are over 1 million long haul truckers, which is one of the higher paid jobs for non-college educated people.  So that is a huge hit to working class individuals.  Waymo (a Google company) is leading the way in California after testing in Arizona. Tesla and others are trying out the market.  But in addition to the workers, there are other questions.  First how are they going to run?  They cannot fill up with fuel themselves so that suggests electric vehicles, perhaps with added solar components.  Electric vehicles makes sense as that is easier to operate – like electric trains.  Solar-electric-autonomous – that is the plan it seems.

Electric vehicles are all the rage.  GM will be completely electric by 2022 (a goal anyway).  Tesla is only electric.  Other manufacturers are racing to electric. Volkswagon has a goal to be the world leader by 2022.  Toyota has a goal to be zero emission by 2050.  Governments are feeding the demand.  California leads the way with electric vehicles in the US.  The state has a goal of 5 million by 2030. Ireland, the Netherlands, and Solvenia have 2030 deadlines to end gasoline car sales.  Norway has a 2025 deadline; Sweden 2045.   France and the UK have given automakers a 2040 deadline to end the sale of new gas-powered cars, and Germany may soon follow.  India has a 100 percent electric vehicles, as does China although neither is published. Why?  Electric vehicles will reduce the demands for gasoline, reduce particulates and reduce greenhouse gases.  Right?  Well before we get too carried away all these electric cars begs the question, like all electric vehicles, where does the power come from?

Where the power comes from and how utilities can benefit are subjects to come….

A nationwide survey on water industry leadership was developed last summer (you were all given the site on this blog to participate).  The survey was conducted over a period of months from June 2018 to October 2018.  The survey was developed on SurveyMonkey ®.  The Florida Section of the American Water Works Association first distributed a link to the survey to their membership via email.  Two follow-up email reminders were sent.  The survey was noted in a blog ( on WordPress® given that over 2000 people view this website and most are utility related.  Finally, the 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition attendee list was acquired for $350 and three email requests were sent to the 6000 people on the list.  The survey is located in Appendix A.  A total of 41 questions were asked – several about leadership, several about their organizations, demographics and training.

For the first question, the goal was to create a pool of people we see as leaders. A series of people were listed, and it was noted that there were potentially many more.  The question asked the respondents to check three people they saw as leaders, noting that not all leaders were good people or did good things, Hitler and Stalin among them. The responses were not unexpected given prior in person workshops on this topic.  Lincoln normally comers up on top, with Roosevelt, Kennedy and Washington in the top 10.  Of interest, Dr. John Snow, Louis Pasteur and Dr. Jonas Salk were not in the top 30. The top female vote-getter was Queen Elizabeth at #17.  Among the more interesting recipients – Adolf Hitler received votes from 7.3% of the respondents, while other mentions included Joseph Stalin, Genghis Khan, Karl Marx, Attila the Hun and William Wallace.  Of note, young people were much more likely to name Martin Luther King (50%), with Lincoln second.


Table 1 Most Common Leaders


Abraham Lincoln 39.33% 129
Martin Luther King 35.67% 117
Winston Churchill 32.93% 108
George Washington 27.13% 89
John F. Kennedy 20.43% 67
Nelson Mandela 20.12% 66
Franklin Delano Roosevelt 19.21% 63
Steve Jobs 17.99% 59
Dwight Eisenhower 15.85% 52
Mahatma Ghandi 15.55% 51
Teddy Roosevelt 15.55% 51


When asked why the respondent selected the people they chose as leaders, there were 6 primary answers – all other were less than 20 percent. The goal of this question is to see what your view as the major requirements for leaders?  The answers are shown in Table 2.


Table 2 Why People chose Certain Leaders.

Inspired people 46.01% 150
Ability to bring people together 39.57% 129
Set Direction and Create a vision 39.26% 128
Made tough choices 37.42% 122
Ability to create a vision 31.60% 103
Agent for Change 27.61% 90
Great communicator 24.85% 81


Interesting stuff, but not very surprising.  As we study the answer more fully, more results will be released.


Construction starts were up 1% in the first half of 2018 according to ENR.  Transportation fed a global market analysis while water and sewer was only /20th of the transportation amount and barely registering 1.75% of the total worldwide among all construction.  The US was only 12 percent of the worldwide total.  The Pacific, northwest, southeast and northeast were down, while the southwest, mid Atlantic, mountain and New England states were up.  Public works capital (including water/sewer) was down 23% over 2017.  In several states, construction costs has declined (Minnesota 10.1%).  Materials costs were up a modest 0.2%, while the overall construction index was up 2.6%.  Housing starts were have declined significantly over the past year.  What does all this mean?  It means that rebuilding water and sewer infrastructure is still not keeping pace, and a slowing construction market may portend slower growth and lesser rate bases in the near future.  That should be a wakeup call – something we should watch going forward.

%d bloggers like this: