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In a story that quietly emerged over the weekend, the headline reported,

Savers Push $374 Billion U.S. Utility Industry to Shift

The gist of the story is this: Households are become smarter about their energy consumption, finding ways of reducing energy usage primarily through new technologies. This, we thought, was a good thing.

Not so: The utility companies are now wringing their hands as they watch their sales and profits drop. Households are saving too much energy.

My natural, sarcastic reaction would be, “Boo hoo.”

But wait. The utilities are planning to take revenge on our energy savings. Buried in the middle of the story was this:

Angie Storozynski, a New York City-based analyst for Macquarie Capital USA Inc., predicted long-term load growth will be even lower, about 0.6 percent, in a Sept. 11 note to clients.

“Slow load growth should hurt near-term earnings,” Storozynski wrote. “It may drive utilities to seek rate increases more frequently from regulators or postpone spending on power plants and transmission lines,” she said.

So despite the valiant efforts of households to reduce energy consumption, they will get rewarded with monthly bill increases, possible energy shortages, or both.

Doesn’t this fly in the face of that supply-and-demand graph we were taught in introductory economics?

Just for that, I should go out and buy an incandescent bulb.

But I won’t.

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