25 August 2008

The cost of Natural Gas


It is quite amusing sometimes to look at official statistics: 4 times more natural gas is lost in storage and in the natural gas pipe network than is used for transportation.
This means that they (Sempra etc) could in theory sell natural gas for use in transportation for free and write it off as 20% increase in network storage losses.
However, the cost of fuel to owners of natural gas vehicles in California is up to 3 times higher than the cost of fuel to vehicle owners in Utah. Given that the wholesale price of natural gas is prroximately $9.03 per 1000 cu.ft. and the retail price to CNG vehicle owners in California is around $2.89 / gge (1 gge = 127.77 cu.ft.), then the natural gas companies have a profit margin of approximately 150%. If California is really serious about reducing pollution, natural gas vehicles needs to be encouraged since natural gas is the source fuel used by all hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, whether the natural gas is cracked in a converter at home, within the vehicle itself (natural gas fuel cell) or done industrially at the filling station. Price gouging by the natural gas suppliers needs to stop - CNG vehicle owners should not have to have a home filling station fitted just to avoid the inflated prices at the filling stations.

20 August 2008

There can be a whole new service industry,

Here is an interesting business idea which maybe someone can run with and exploit:
For a nominal fee, perhaps $5-$10 per week, a company can provide a junk call phone screening service. Here is the details:
  • A FXO/FXS device is plugged into your PC which is wired to the internet.
  • The phone line from customer's phone service plugs into the PC.
  • All the home phones are connected to the PC.
  • Outgoing calls are unhindered... The service may optionally route the call through cheapest path.
  • VOIP-based phone services, such as Vonage, can skip some of the above.
  • An incoming call which matches customer-supplied list of phone numbers causes home phones to ring.
  • All other incoming calls are immediately picked up by the computer.
  • If it sounds like a FAX, receive it and store on hard drive.
  • Otherwise, call is routed to phone-screening operator, perhaps in India or wherever is cheap.
  • If caller can identify themselves, matching supplied list (such as credit card account number), the call may be forwarded to the customer's home phones or a pre-recorded message can be played back at the caller.
  • Forwarding services can be provided for extra $$ subscription... No need to miss an important call. Forward to a VOIP target, or a cellphone perhaps...
  • All received non-personal calls can be recorded. The operator will notify the caller immediately after answering the call.
  • The audio file will be stored (long term) on the customer's PC.
  • Short-term audio retrieval would be available online from the service's web site.
  • All received calls, (CID details, date, time, duration) are logged/archived on customer's PC.
  • Recent calls list may be viewed online.

Now, wouldn't it be funny when a Telemarketer from India is received by an operator in India, and you never need be bothered by a phone call in the middle of the night?