Japan Homeowners Going Electric

I remember the jingle on the radio when I was a kid: "Live better electrically!" promoting the cleanliness and safety of the all-electric home. The wonderful all-electric world never quite worked out as the costs of electricity went through the roof; it is inherently inefficient to burn fuel for heat to make electricity, transport it long distances and then convert it back to heat.

However In Japan, homeowners are rushing for the convenience of the all-electric home as the population ages. "Electricity is safe, comfortable and clean," said Ken Hasegawa, manager at commodities futures broker Himawari CX. "Driving to gas stations to buy kerosene and returning home is not easy if you're over 60." A combination of more efficient cars, shrinking population and increasing use of electricity is leading to a significant reduction in oil imports. The flip side, of course, is an increase in electricity demand; coal consumption has doubled in the last five years to meet it.

But you can't burn coal at home; it has to be centralized. Will "live better electrically" jingles be heard again over here as energy security trumps global warming? ::Reuters

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