Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Energy Conservation Audit Disclosure letter to former Austin Mayor, Will Wynn


December 10th, 2009

Dear Mr. Wynn,

My name is John Barksdale and I'm an Austin homeowner.

In your June 11th, 2008 letter to the Austinist in which you reference the Energy Audit Ordinance, -which has evolved into the loathsome Energy Conservation Disclosure Audit (ECAD)-, you wrote,

"It WOULD require sellers to get an inexpensive energy audit and provide that information to prospective homebuyers."

Since you signed the mandatory ECAD into law, some details about the ordinance have changed since you penned your letter.

If an Austin homeowner fails to get an ECAD audit, a fine of up to $2000 for non-compliance and a Class C misdemeanor charge can be imposed. I guess you failed to mention the criminal charge in your letter? Also, the audit disclosure paperwork has to be submitted to Austin Energy so they can "keep it on file".

Austin Energy is a "community-owned" monopoly. As an Austin homeowner I can't take my money and buy electricity from a competing utility. Austin Energy sells me the electricity then browbeats me if I "use too much", or in your nanny-state jargon, "wasteful in their habits".

From your ABC News interview with Scott Mayerowitz on June 10, 2009, "Austin Forces Home Sellers to Pay for Energy Audits", "Wynn said the idea behind the ordinance was to encourage homeowners to upgrade their homes with more efficient air-conditioners, better windows and insulation. The original idea was just to require sellers to disclose their electric bills, but then he realized that some people are more wasteful in their habits than others. Hence, the home inspections."

I'm so pleased you decided to make yourself the arbiter of my labor, time and capital.

And the reason we have to "make expensive power purchases on the energy markets during the heat of summer" is because environmentalists like you make the construction of new power plants almost impossible. The French have a solution that produces electricity in a carbon-free manor; it's called nuclear power. Sadly, U.S. environmentalists demonized nuclear power in the 70's, so the utilities turned to cheap, abundant coal. Oh the environmental zealots of the 70's were so pleased with themselves! They had stopped the construction of new power plants in America, yet electricity utilities met consumer demands by contracting coal-burning plants. Well done environmentalists, pat yourself on the back.

Mr. Wynn, the amount of electricity I purchase and consume is my business, not yours or the business of the City of Austin.

Why am I so tough on you Mr. Wynn? Because you could have stood up for homeowner's liberty and property rights with a veto of the mandatory audit and its Class C misdemeanor.

Because you think you have the right to tell me what to do with my time, labor and capital, then I think I too have that right. Sir, how do you propose to pay for the ECAD audit of my Austin home?

After all, you did say it was inexpensive.


John Barksdale

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