Author Topic: COLD IN WACO  (Read 502 times)

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AzCal Retred

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Reply #30 on: February 22, 2021, 02:04:18 am
Annex the worst carpetbaggers. Municipalize or Nationalize the rest. Power Generation is too impactful on the economy to allow the "Private Sector" carte blanche to wargame the power customers. Regulated Public Utilities provide reliable service at reasonable rates. More working folks get employed, nobody is making $50M a year gaming the customers. The public has already paid for these "Blue Light Special" generation systems years ago. My old private utility had an unofficial 5 year payoff requirement for any projects, Texal is at least as venal. These guys have made plenty of dinero, now send them down the road. The Plant Managers, Operators and Maintenance folks all know what to do, you won't miss the CEO class a'tall... 8)
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zimmemr

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Reply #31 on: February 22, 2021, 03:55:06 am
Annex the worst carpetbaggers. Municipalize or Nationalize the rest. Power Generation is too impactful on the economy to allow the "Private Sector" carte blanche to wargame the power customers. Regulated Public Utilities provide reliable service at reasonable rates. More working folks get employed, nobody is making $50M a year gaming the customers. The public has already paid for these "Blue Light Special" generation systems years ago. My old private utility had an unofficial 5 year payoff requirement for any projects, Texal is at least as venal. These guys have made plenty of dinero, now send them down the road. The Plant Managers, Operators and Maintenance folks all know what to do, you won't miss the CEO class a'tall... 8)

I second that. Well said my friend.


Richard230

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Reply #32 on: February 22, 2021, 02:06:12 pm
Annex the worst carpetbaggers. Municipalize or Nationalize the rest. Power Generation is too impactful on the economy to allow the "Private Sector" carte blanche to wargame the power customers. Regulated Public Utilities provide reliable service at reasonable rates. More working folks get employed, nobody is making $50M a year gaming the customers. The public has already paid for these "Blue Light Special" generation systems years ago. My old private utility had an unofficial 5 year payoff requirement for any projects, Texal is at least as venal. These guys have made plenty of dinero, now send them down the road. The Plant Managers, Operators and Maintenance folks all know what to do, you won't miss the CEO class a'tall... 8)

A "Regulated Public Utility" like Pacific Graft and Explosion in California? What do you do when the state's Public Utility Regulators have their heads up their asses and just approve everything that the "Regulated Public Utility" wants to do (including every rate increase), or not do (in the case of maintaining and improving their facilities), because they have no idea how to run a utility?   >: (

I am not sure what the solution is, but many politicians in California believe that having the government run utilities is the way to go. Kind of like having the Department of Motor Vehicles providing your electricity, gas and water.  ::) 

Interestingly, in my city the government runs the sewerage disposal system and that seems to work well.   ;)
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zimmemr

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Reply #33 on: February 22, 2021, 03:12:45 pm
A "Regulated Public Utility" like Pacific Graft and Explosion in California? What do you do when the state's Public Utility Regulators have their heads up their asses and just approve everything that the "Regulated Public Utility" wants to do (including every rate increase), or not do (in the case of maintaining and improving their facilities), because they have no idea how to run a utility?   >: (

I am not sure what the solution is, but many politicians in California believe that having the government run utilities is the way to go. Kind of like having the Department of Motor Vehicles providing your electricity, gas and water.  ::) 

Interestingly, in my city the government runs the sewerage disposal system and that seems to work well.   ;)

In Connecticut there are still a few small municipal utilities, essentially town run, that work quite well, but they're small and I doubt the model would work well on a large scale, there are to many variables and power generation and transmission work best when there is a strong, enforceable set of standards. 

To my mind, having spent 32 years working for an electric utility, there are several issues. The first is that too many DPUC jobs are filled by patronage appointments, they're usually clueless and very often alternate between kowtowing to the utility they're supposed to regulate or display outright hostility to it. Both positions are untenable. The second problem is that in every case I can think off deregulation has been a disaster, in some cases less than others but overall I don't think it's worked out well, California and Texas being two prime examples.

Other issues are largely behind the scenes for example while the blue collar jobs at most utilities pay a very nice wage, especially where those jobs are union, it's very hard to find anyone to fill them, it's hard, dangerous work and always compromises your family life for the worst. Consequently few youngsters want to become linemen, electricians, or meter service mechanics because the work is hard, the hours long, and you're away from your family at the worst times.  There is also the stigma of "working with your hands, " which is another discussion. Consequently most utilities are understaffed, which ironically benefits the bottom line, so companies turn a blind eye to it, meaning in emergency there aren't enough hands to do the work.

So what would fix it? First, the nation needs a coherent, rational energy plan, with one set of standards that every Utility would be bound to, right down to the right way of making a splice. Second, deregulation has to end, there are some industries that need regulation and the electrical business is one of them. I'd also suggest that electrical utilities should, to some degree, be nationalized, few services are more vital to our nations well being than a steady, reliable flow of electricity. To that end I think a national control board, even one with limited power, if you'll excuse the pun, would be better than what we now have.

 Lastly elected officials must hold industry leaders accountable. At Connecticut Light and Power I think we had a good record on that. During my tenure quite a few high ranking officers, including a CEO were forced to resign because they performed poorly during storm restorations, or were caught in outright lies. That's as it should be but rarely is. whether that would solve all or even any of the problems is questionable, but at least it would make a good start.


Richard230

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Reply #34 on: February 22, 2021, 04:27:13 pm
That is a great analysis, zimmemr. My observation of PG&E in California over many years is that the workmen are very competent and do their jobs well with professionalism. However, the weak link is upper management who are more concerned about cutting costs, keeping the price of the company's stock high and paying out dividends to their stockholders. While these tasks are necessary to run a publicly-traded company, in PG&E's case they got carried away with the profit end and lost track of their primary job of providing safe and reliable electric and gas services.  They are also big on "golden parachutes" for the top executives, who seem to need these parachutes on a regular basis.  ::)
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #35 on: February 22, 2021, 04:29:36 pm
@ #32:  A "Regulated Public Utility" like Pacific Graft and Explosion in California?
No, as a bit of easy research reveals to the interested searcher that PG&E is in point of fact an investor owned utility.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Gas_and_Electric_Company
The Pacific Gas and Electric Company is an American investor-owned utility with publicly traded stock. The company is headquartered in the Pacific Gas & Electric Building, in San Francisco, California, United States.

The LADWP, a municipal utility, is more pertinent to this discussion. The "Public Control" and "Power Delivery" sections are interesting. What's not mentioned in the "California Electricity Crisis" attached article is that LADWP customers were largely unaffected due to the mandate that such a utility operates under, that it's allegiance is to their customers, NOT "shareholders".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000%E2%80%9301_California_electricity_crisis#:~:text=Drought%2C%20delays%20in%20approval%20of,April%202000%20to%20December%202000.&text=Enron%20took%20advantage%20of%20this,bidding%20in%20California's%20spot%20markets.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Department_of_Water_and_Power

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Department_of_Water_and_Power#Public_control

Power delivery
The LADWP first offered municipal electricity in 1917 when Powerhouse No. 1, a hydroelectric power plant located in San Francisquito Canyon and which is powered by the Los Angeles Aqueduct, began generating electricity. It ultimately produced 70.5 megawatts and is still in operation, producing 44.5 megawatts. Three years later, in 1920, Powerhouse No. 2 was added. The powerhouse was destroyed when the St. Francis Dam failed, but the plant was completely rebuilt and back in service by November 1928. It remains in operation today, having the capacity to generate 18 megawatts.
On January 17, 1994, the city of Los Angeles experienced its one and only total system black-out as a result of the Northridge earthquake. Much of the power was restored within a few hours.
In September 2005, a DWP worker accidentally cut power lines that caused over half of Los Angeles to be without power for one and one-half hours.[3]

Again - Power Generation is too impactful on the economy to allow the "Private Sector" carte blanche to wargame the power customers.
Generation = Energy, which is a basic commodity of our civilization. The LADWP was formed to pry the dead cold fingers of Private (Pirate?) Enterprise off of Los Angeles water supply. The same applies to electricity, sunlight & air. Anyone controlling the price of a basic commodity like these affects the entire economy. Unlike in 1880, there is now no voodoo to making power happen. We need to get the incentive to manipulate the power supply for profit in the rear view mirror.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2021, 04:40:58 pm by AzCal Retred »
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zimmemr

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Reply #36 on: February 22, 2021, 07:03:26 pm
That is a great analysis, zimmemr. My observation of PG&E in California over many years is that the workmen are very competent and do their jobs well with professionalism. However, the weak link is upper management who are more concerned about cutting costs, keeping the price of the company's stock high and paying out dividends to their stockholders. While these tasks are necessary to run a publicly-traded company, in PG&E's case they got carried away with the profit end and lost track of their primary job of providing safe and reliable electric and gas services.  They are also big on "golden parachutes" for the top executives, who seem to need these parachutes on a regular basis.  ::)

Thanks, they always say it's the sergeant's that run the army and in my experience that's true of utility companies, most of the management hacks are just there to push paper. It's the foremen and crews that actually keep the wire up and the lights on.

In a perfect world utility company rates would be balanced against the cost of doing business vs a fair return on investment for their shareholders, while still allowing the company to set aside enough cash for routine maintenance and upgrades. Once the company's profits exceed a certain margin, they should be rebated to the consumers. When utilities were regulated that was more or less the case. I'm not up on all the current regs, but I know it's no longer the case in Connecticut, and even if it were slick management would certainly figure a way around it. One way they could increase profits would be to limit the compensation of upper management. Jim Judge, CEO of Eversource, the parent company of CL&P, made 20 some million dollars in 2018 alone. Judge is a decent guy, and I think he did a fair job running the company but I'm pretty sure he could have got along just fine on 2 million a year. Full disclosure I own stock in Eversource, and I've done well with it, but seriously 20 million a year? :o


Richard230

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Reply #37 on: February 22, 2021, 10:21:48 pm
PG&E is moving out of San Francisco and their old building is up for sale. They are moving to Oakland, CA where I believe I heard that they will be leasing a portion of an existing office building in the downtown area to save money - or perhaps for some other reason.
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derottone

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Reply #38 on: February 23, 2021, 10:49:47 am
@ #19:
Who is the workbees? Where are they? What are they doing? Union SOB´s defintely eating a huge portion of the pie.
Are you on Management's payroll? Sounds like every Pro-Corporate First Line Supervisors rhetoric I've had to listen to. Apparently all that time you spent in Sweden paid off for their management. "Who is the workerbees" indeed. Across the board Labor is getting a smaller slice of the pie. Not unsupported opinion, just cold numerical fact.
https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/employment-and-growth/a-new-look-at-the-declining-labor-share-of-income-in-the-united-states#

There are computers to monitor processes and ring alarm when something is off in a process. Hopefully someone left with little bit of clue to take a "corrective" action once the alarm goes off.
Are we talking Process Facility or System Oversight? Power Plants only can do what the hardware allows to be possible within the budgetary constraints permitted by their Management. Are you attempting to reference ERCOT? Ercot just suggests, the individual members can decide whether or not to route profits away from the Owners pocket or squander them on trifling system reliability upgrades. Looks like the pockets are winning, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!" as Gomer Pyle used to say. Senator Cruz's behavior makes it pretty clear who's driving, and it ain't the frozen, dehydrated ratepayers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_Reliability_Council_of_Texas

ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation,[12][13] and its members include consumers, electric cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities (transmission and distribution providers), and municipally owned electric utilities.[14]

During the February 2021 storm it emerged that a third of ERCOT's board of directors live outside of Texas; this includes the chair Sally A. Talberg, who lives in Michigan, and the vice chair Peter Cramton.[2] This revelation drew considerable anger from the public as well as elected representatives, and the board members' names and photographs were temporarily removed from the ERCOT website due to death threats.[45][46] The board was also criticized for its meeting days before the storm: though the meeting lasted more than two hours, the members spent less than a minute discussing storm preparations and readiness.[47][48][49][50]


The indivdual members are not humans and would not fill their pockets if they got the chance, right? Same way as the CEO's and bord members, who are on the payroll. Just another employee to entertain the public and squeeze the inefficiencies within of the company = not very sucessfully those days, often because they are inheritors and have no clue what they are doing.

You may know as a hobby pilot that fighter jets are aerodynamically instable. That means the centre of gravity is infront of the aerodynamic centre which results in simillar behaviour as
an inverted pendelum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWhGjxdug0o

While you may get away with a long pendelum, the shorter it gets the quicker the reaction has to occure to keep it up there. It is beyond human control, something some humans apparently are not capable to process in their mind. It´s the computer that has to maintain ballance, if it fails only a redundant control loop can save the day. There is no energy mix without oil and gas which is the foundation to all energy, why is it so difficult to understand.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 10:55:37 am by derottone »
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #39 on: Yesterday at 02:20:33 am
@ #38: Sounds like you are confused about who decides where the profit goes.
Same way as the CEO's and bord members, who are on the payroll.
Ercot just suggests, the individual members can decide whether or not to route profits away from the Owners pocket or squander them on trifling system reliability upgrades.
The CEO's and Board members are the only ones with a "vote" here. They make their own rules & pay scales.

often because they are inheritors and have no clue what they are doing.
Sadly they DON'T CARE about their impact, the only game is to extract maximum return.

There is no energy mix without oil and gas which is the foundation to all energy, why is it so difficult to understand.
Here's a handy guide to the electrical power mix in the USA:
https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3
Roughly-
40% Nat Gas
20% Coal
20% Nuclear
 7% Wind
 7% Hydro
 2% PV Solar
 4% "other"

Energy doesn't care where it comes from. Commercial & Residential rooftop PV can cover 40% of the US's energy needs if it's developed. Wind is nowhere near built out. Tidal & Ocean Current energy is untapped. Bio-methane digesters for animal & human waste are largely untapped. Like I have pointed out many times, energy storage for renewable intermittent sources is key to adoption, and H2 as blends or as pure H2 in oil wells and salt domes is the easiest way to get there.
The "foundation to all energy" is energy, not a specific source. Whale oil, kerosene and wood was the "foundation to all energy" in 1800, but science moved on. We can go with more nukes and build out PV & Wind with utility grade storage and easily cover gas & coal.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321742090_Rooftop_solar_photovoltaic_potential_in_cities_How_scalable_are_assessment_approaches



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derottone

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Reply #40 on: Yesterday at 09:36:18 am
Energy does´t care where it comes from. That´s true, but to consumer does. If you have a fully automated plant that makes let´s say high tech polymer components the wages are miniscule. Lot of factories left Europe "only" because of  high energy cost and went to china "because" they make predominantely cheap energy with cole plants. Cheap energy doesn´t need to mean dirty. The cost of enery is reflected in everything, in agriculture, in industrial production and at the energy bill itself. Unless you like to see everything going to the dustbin it might be a good idea to be ballance it out with import duties and/or trying to lower the cost of energy.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 09:40:45 am by derottone »
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Richard230

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Reply #41 on: Yesterday at 02:49:09 pm
When it comes to new clean power plants, like windmills, just don't put them in my backyard. And bird lovers say that they slice and dice flying birds - that apparently can't see the slowly moving blades.  ::) And of course nuclear is a dirty word, especially in Japan, so I hear.

I would love solar panels on my roof, but I am surrounded by hills and only see the sun during the summer when that star is overhead. Perhaps the best solution is to use less power by wearing warmer clothes during the winter and opening windows to let the breeze in during the summer which is what I do.  ;)
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #42 on: Yesterday at 03:29:34 pm
"Cheap energy doesn´t need to mean dirty. The cost of energy is reflected in everything, in agriculture, in industrial production and at the energy bill itself."
Precisely correct. Converting over to a National Grid, promoting rooftop PV, creating utility grade H2 storage, promoting H2/NatGas blending and then having a functional way to store renewable energy helps decarbonize the energy supply at minimal cost. Energy is way too important to our technological society let the "Free Market Casino" stack the chips in favour of the House. And to clarify by House I am talking about the folks currently controlling & manipulating the energy supply for profit, i.e. the corporate boards of private energy companies. How did you like those $16,000 Houston power bills from the same good folks that brought you the rolling blackouts? Laissez-faire capitalism at it's finest...
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derottone

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Reply #43 on: Yesterday at 04:05:16 pm
"Cheap energy doesn´t need to mean dirty. The cost of energy is reflected in everything, in agriculture, in industrial production and at the energy bill itself."
Precisely correct. Converting over to a National Grid, promoting rooftop PV, creating utility grade H2 storage, promoting H2/NatGas blending and then having a functional way to store renewable energy helps decarbonize the energy supply at minimal cost. Energy is way too important to our technological society let the "Free Market Casino" stack the chips in favour of the House. And to clarify by House I am talking about the folks currently controlling & manipulating the energy supply for profit, i.e. the corporate boards of private energy companies. How did you like those $16,000 Houston power bills from the same good folks that brought you the rolling blackouts? Laissez-faire capitalism at it's finest...

Roof top PV, Windturbines, H2 ....is all a result of the casino fu"§$in up the grid and the energy supplie driving the cost up. Nukes, Cole, Railways and anything that was for the "collective" prosperity, paid for by tax money was in many parts of Europe state property until the "privatisation" started. Now nationalising it back to the State is definitly a bad idea those days because the officials are part of the casino and the players are in the house. Nevertheless it's the card being playd and may indeed happen, they are ready.
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #44 on: Yesterday at 06:55:57 pm
EVERY process fails if not kept an eye on and corrected from time to time. When was the last time YOU voted to appoint anyone to a private company's Board of Directors? That would be never. If you are an active voter, at least you have some say in how a Public Utility is run. Rooftop PV is generally paid for by the homeowner, as mostly the subsidies are gone. The panels are good for probably 80 years, the inverters normally at least 20, and when you are making your own KW's you don't much care if they are 5 cents or 5 dollars, you are replacing like for like on Net Metering. You use the Grid at night and push kilowatts back into it the next day. Siting a generation facility is expensive, adding panels to a carport doesn't take a 5 year Environmental study. If the homeowner pays for it, I'm not seeing the downside here. You remove system load, reducing infrastructure upgrade costs. The Public Utility gets some essentially free generation during the day, reducing costs across the board. Add in energy storage as H2 blending or as a pure gas in existing oil wells and you really start to get somewhere. Again, unmanaged processes tend to fail. Total Private sector power gets you a ringside seat a debacle just like Texas has right now. You have an input as regards public power operation, private you do not. Doing nothing has a predictable outcome, don't talk yourself out of trying.

Science to the rescue, from out of the past!
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210223-the-battery-invented-120-years-too-soon
>>> Speeding forward to the mid 2010s, a research team at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands happened upon a use for the nickel-iron battery based on the hydrogen produced. When electricity passes through the battery as it’s being recharged, it undergoes a chemical reaction that releases hydrogen and oxygen. The team recognised the reaction as reminiscent of the one used to release hydrogen from water, known as electrolysis.
"It looked to me like the chemistry was the same," says Fokko Mulder, leader of the Delft University research team. This water-splitting reaction is one way hydrogen is produced for use as a fuel – and an entirely clean fuel too, provided the energy used to drive the reaction is from a renewable source.
Nickel-iron batteries are extremely durable, as Edison proved in his early electric car, and some have been known to last upwards of 40 years
While Mulder and his team knew that the nickel-iron battery’s electrodes were capable of splitting water, they were surprised to see that the electrodes started to have a higher energy storage than before hydrogen was being produced. In other words, it became a better battery when it was used as an electrolyser too. They were also surprised to see how well the electrodes held up to the electrolysis, which can excessively tax and degrade more traditional batteries. "And, of course, we were rather content that the energy efficiency appeared to be good during all this," says Mulder, reaching levels of 80-90%.
Mulder dubbed their creation the "battolyser", and they hope their discovery can help solve two major challenges for renewable energy: energy storage and, when the batteries are full, production of clean fuel.
"You'll hear all these discussions about batteries on the one hand and hydrogen on the other hand," says Mulder. "There's always been a kind of competition between those two sets of directions, but you basically need both."
Renewable value
One of the biggest challenges of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar is how unpredictable and intermittent they can be. With solar, for example, you have a surplus of energy produced during the daytime and summertime, but at night and in the winter months, the supply dwindles.
Conventional batteries, such as those based on lithium, can store energy in the short-term, but when they’re fully charged they have to release any excess or they could overheat and degrade. The nickel-iron battolyser, on the other hand remains stable when fully charged, at which point it can transition to making hydrogen instead.
"[Nickel-iron batteries] are resilient, being able to withstand undercharging and overcharging better than other batteries," says John Barton, a research associate at the School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University in the UK, who also researches battolysers. "With hydrogen production, the battolyser adds multi-day and even inter-seasonal energy storage."
Besides creating hydrogen, nickel-iron batteries have other useful traits, first and foremost that they are unusually low-maintenance. They are extremely durable, as Edison proved in his early electric car, and some have been known to last upwards of 40 years. The metals needed to make the battery – nickel and iron – are also more common than, say, cobalt which is used to make conventional batteries.
This means the battolyser could have another possible role for renewable energy: helping it become more profitable.
Like any other industry, renewable energy prices fluctuate based on supply and demand. On a bright, sunny day there might be an abundance of power from solar, which can lead to a glut and a dip in the price the energy can be sold for. The battolyser, however, could help smooth out those peaks and troughs.
"When electricity prices are high, then you can discharge this battery, but when the electricity price is low, you can charge the battery and make hydrogen," says Mulder.
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« Last Edit: Yesterday at 07:18:50 pm by AzCal Retred »
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