May 24, 2015
Gore Vidal Sounds Off on Solar Power Caper
Posted on Jul 6, 2007
Anderson: So you’re unable to fully get off the grid, and you’ll always be in some way beholden to the department. ...
Vidal: Oh, we’re totally [on the grid] now. We were totally off it, for a couple of weeks. By the time they finished muddling around and pulling wires out and so on, they shoved us right back on where they wanted us! Now they can just switch it off whenever they please. And apparently they can get into the basement here whenever they please to make sure that they’ve evaded such-and-such a switch.
Anderson: And they don’t call ahead to say they’re going to need to come in?
Vidal: Well, they did at first, and I said, “All the dials that you need are on the outside of the house! You don’t need to come inside!” They always want to get down into the basement, because that’s where they’re cheating ... oh, we can tell a mile away. These are real dum-dums.
Square, Site wide
Anderson: So, after your initial complaints, [DWP representatives] came [on Tuesday]. ...
Vidal: Tuesday, and by the time I got up, they’d turned off everything, all the lights. “Because, you see, we’ve got to turn off the solar panels before we can get to the—do you understand that? We’ve got to turn those off!” I said, “Why? They’re working terribly well!” Well, there was no direct answer to that, except they wanted to! And, (a) it’s infantile, their approach, and (b) it’s very, you know, Third Reich!
Anderson: I was told by another solar company provider that they don’t need to necessarily come over to inspect nor to turn anything off in order to inspect.
Vidal: Well, the fact that they know it’s on and working should be enough. They can tell that from their dials.
Anderson: So, where did they leave it after you had the summit meeting of different representatives on Tuesday?
[Vidal’s assistant] Daren Simkin: They went through all of the different requirements, and it apparently turned out that the solar was not installed exactly according to their requirements. It was installed as efficiently as possible, which made sense given the structure of the house and the efficiency of the solar, but it didn’t completely comply with what they required. So, the solar guy, William, who’s the CEO of the [solar] company, had to rewire ... and that was the end of it. So, now they’re currently working on the second stage of inspections.
Anderson: [The solar company CEO] being somebody who’s done a lot of these before—he didn’t anticipate this complaint by them [the DWP]?
Vidal: He was astonished. He didn’t expect any of this.
Simkin: The idea is it doesn’t make sense electrically for them to rewire it this way. Which begs the question: What does the department have to do with this? Why should they make these rules that don’t make sense across the board?
Anderson: Does it enable the DWP to use any excess solar energy in a better fashion?
Simkin: I think it just complies with their rules—that’s it.
Vidal: Well, I think that they make their rules backwards, you know. If there’s a situation, they say, “That’s our rule, you see, and you’ve gone against our rule! And we can’t permit that, because this is for your protection and the protection of every good American!” So we get a lot of nonsense.
Anderson: And their explanation was that it had to do with personal safety ... ?
Vidal: We’re so grateful for their attentions! They’re so good at personal safety in this state, you know. Just go along the highways—you’ll see how much they care.
Simkin: And someone has to recognize the conflict of interest here. Because as a government division, I suppose they have the right to protect the safety of citizens.
Vidal: Or pretend that they are, which is what they’re doing. They don’t give a damn!
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