Buying electricity or anything now – independent, verifiable data and better than human interfaces.

Conclusion: Perhaps energy companies ought to be required to tell you where to get independent advice for choosing energy plans.  And the plan details and operation and benefits to the company should be open (public and auditable, verifiable and clear). Society functions best if incentive move workers to do what is best for users, not for companies.  An AI could be taught to be a fair and testably fair advisor to all humans – when choosing any service. But water, sewer, electric, gas, transporation, housing, schools, jobs, food, medical and other common services — foremost.  A computer can have permanent auditable memory and abilities.

My thoughts:

I am ambivalent because the person helping me was knowledgeable about TXU plans, and helpful. But what I really wanted was someone to help me choose the best plan for me – from all sources.

If TXU is buying remote energy and distributing it through Centerpoint which can serve my home, then why not go the whole way and become an advocate for energy users and keep them supplied? I am getting older and do not have a lot of money, and yet have to use electricity for most everything. I use as little as possible, and my needs are different from a young family, a business, or single people.

Perhaps, there is a program needed for people over 65, where they are not considered customers to make money from. Rather part of society where their safety, security and life are considered. In demographics the term “dependency ratio” is used. And it highlights the fundamental notion that young, old, disabled, sick or other categories are not actively working. Yet they have value to society.

Mostly I do not like to have to go through 72 plans for my zip code. The list is not easy to use because it forces one to read each plan individually. Yet the numbers are there to take basic data and estimate lifetime costs and benefits.

I think the plan I got from calling is OK. But I have a nagging worry because I did not seriously look for alternatives. Any company selling to make money is likely to bias towards what benefits them. Except when there is a division or separate entity that helps sift through alternatives and monitor the industry and changes. Maybe there are hundreds of groups out there that work for good of individuals. But trying to find, evaluate, meet and learn to trust them now has high costs as well.

I cannot remember the name of the person helping me. He said they recorded the conversation, but did not offer to send me a copy of the recording for MY records. And did not use AI assisted speech to text to transcribe that to clear text. The asymmetry between information for “customers/clients/members/users” and “employee/staff/representatives” is great. It need not be.

Richard K Collins

About: Richard K Collins

Director, The Internet Foundation Studying formation and optimized collaboration of global communities. Applying the Internet to solve global problems and build sustainable communities. Internet policies, standards and best practices.

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