I usually try to stay positive here, but lately that has resulted in a lack of writing. Not that things are bad, just that I’m cranky about the heat and totally over my wife working at the opposite end of the state.
Anyway, today, one of the hottest days of the summer so far, I received one solitary piece of mail. It was my friendly neighborhood electric company’s “Energy Savings Report.”* Let me quote some of the delightful phrases contained therein:
You used more electricity and did not reach the target. … This is a summary of your energy use (actual) and what you could have saved (target) if you had followed our recommendations.
We estimated that you would have saved up to $38. Unfortunately, you used $5 more compared to your use over the same time a year ago.
Let me state, first off, that the average American household uses 958 kilowatt-hours per month. Our usage, during the months of February, March, and April combined was 999 kWh last year and 1041 kWh during the same three months this year. That’s right, we use just over 1/3 of the average American household. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Plus, we increased our energy usage compared to last year by a gluttonous 4.2%.
I understand if you must turn away in horror, ashamed to even read a blog written by someone with obviously so little regard for the environment.
Let’s get down to details. What exactly were these magical recommendations that we so thoughtlessly refused to heed?
1. Raise your A/C thermostat three degrees this summer.
First of all, no one with a brain would describe the months of February, March, and April in Western Massachusetts as “summer.” Our average last frost date is May 15th. Our last fire in the wood stove this season was on June 4th. So the A/C thermostat was not an issue for the time period in question. Plus? WE DON’T HAVE AN AIR CONDITIONER. That’s right. We do without. To save energy.**
2. Clean your window air conditioner’s filter.
See objections to #1.**
3. Replace traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs).
Leaving aside all the controversy about whether household use of CFLs actually saves energy or makes them last longer, leaving aside the serious concerns about disposal and toxins, there’s another problem here. We replaced our light bulbs several years ago. And once you do that, you can no longer save money by doing it again. It’s a one time gain.
So, coming home on this extremely hot day (for this area, anyway), knowing that the only way to cool down will be to drive around in my air-conditioned truck or go sit in the basement, we get to receive a snotty (but glossy and attractively designed!) letter in the mail scolding us for irresponsible squandering of electricity. Rather than a thank you note for being one of the thrifty households who clearly already is doing their part for energy conservation. This tipped my cranky mood straight in to full-on bitchy.
Here’s a suggestion, WMECO. Save the energy you used to create and send out this offensive letter. I’m going to keep this civil (more or less, anyway — Hi Mom!) and not suggest where you can put this particular Energy Savings Report. Use your imagination.**
I feel much better now.
* Yes, I know I’m overreacting. Just go with it.
**Name calling has been removed as a public service.