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Maverick Survivalist Profits from California Energy Crisis

Thousand dollar monthly checks from Pacific Electric was never anything Joe Fleck expected when he installed his wind generators six years ago.

The self proclaimed rural survivalist is cashing in on the high wholesale energy prices in his home state of California.

Homeowners with their own generating equipment (co-generation)  have been benefiting from the high wholesale prices as the utilities are required to buy from them the excess power their generating equipment provides.

    "I've been averaging over $1,500 a month for a while now" reports Fleck. "Up until last spring I had to pay them $50 per month for power, now they pay me".

With wholesale energy prices higher than retail, co-generators are reaping huge rewards.

"For every watt you put into the grid, you can take out ten" says Al Broderick, of PV Labs in San Mateo.

Sales of small photo-voltaic (PV) generators have hit the roof as consumers realize that by turning on their PV units when they go to bed, they can sell power to the grid all night and receive a nice check from their utility at the end of the month.

Government regulators have taken note of the proliferation of ad-hoc home power creation and have likened it to the distributed computing model used by SETI to track extraterrestrials.  The California legislature is set to debate a slate of new regulations to tax home co-generation and increase bureaucratic involvement.




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