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Monday, August 23, 2010

Power

Can't live without it.

I'm not being metaphorical. I mean the power that comes from PG&E. Or wherever the heck power comes from.

Have you received your August bill? We have. It made my stomach drop a bit. So I started researching ways to save energy.

My mom raised us to be green before green was Cool. She never ran the air conditioner. She never turned on the heater. We did not own a clothes dryer. She did all of her baking in the toaster oven. She used her dishwater to water the plants. She would bang on the door of the bathroom incessantly if our cleaning process took more than the allotted five minutes.

Yes, even in high school. I started playing sports because I got access to free, long, hot showers.

That's a joke.

Anyway, somewhere along the way, while we had no children and both had lucrative jobs, I began turning the AC way down with relish. I nonchalantly ran smallish loads of dishes and wash through their respective machines. I bought more produce than we could eat in a week and I wouldn't think twice about throwing away a few rotten apples.

Not anymore.

Here is what I learned while talking to Pete, my friendly PG&E customer service representative:

1- Each home in Bakersfield is allotted 20 kWh daily.
2- Three (3) hours of running your AC eats up that entire 20 kWh
3- Each dryer load in an electric dryer eats 5 kWh.
4- Running every ceiling fan in your home 24 hours a day only costs about $5.00/ month
5- There is no "lower priced electricity time of day" for residents unless you sign up for a plan.
(so this means that having your AC on at night costs the same as having it on during the day).

I told Pete that PG&E must hate stay-at-home moms.

Pete said it was not his fault.

I agreed and we had a lovely chat about solar energy.

So we sit here, a little warmer, trying to brainstorm other ways to save power. We have cut out the dishwasher (redundant anyways), use the dryer only for necessary items (like Beau's work clothes- the rest dry on racks), leave the AC at 82 degrees (or "off", as it may well be!), and run those ceiling fans.

6 comments:

Meg said...

We have a swamp cooler, and while on some days if it's too humid it doesn't work well, I am so very thankful for it - $80 PG&E bill last month! It also helps that most of our appliances run on natural gas as well.

Do you crock pot much? That might save you money if you have an electric stove and use it often. That and BBQing.

Jennifer said...

Thanks, Meg! I think I will start using my crock pot more. I was on a kick last summer and Beau finally said, "do you realize we have had chicken and some sort of vegetable 8 out of 10 nights?" Whoops. I need some creativity with my crockery.

Brandy Afterthoughts said...

Your power bill sounds like my water bill! I can't believe how much it costs to water half an acre! This past month our power bill wasn't too bad (especially for the summer), but the water bill was almost the SAME.

Bah.

I wonder if my orchard would care if I cut back? Hmmmm....

Jennifer said...

Your home-sourced goodies are worth it, I am sure, dear Brandy. They probably make up for whatever you spend in water. My water bill is always $35. But my power bill laughs at my water bill.

Farm Girl said...

Hi Jennifer, we won't even talk about my electric and my water bill but they have been neck and neck all summer and lets just say, anyone could be its own house payment. :)
To let you know where I got the bees I got online and went to a place in Fresno and ordered them. I ordered 3 pounds of bees and a queen, they came parcel post and the parcel post guy was having a melt down he was so scared.
I ordered mine in the spring and the bees I have now are in the second summer and the first time I have robbed them. I think I will have to re-queen this year because queens get old and wear out. I have never done it before so it is a bit daunting. You read my post so I am still thinking about whether I want to do it anymore.
I really am tired of getting stung and these bees are really aggressive. My Mom was a bee keeper when I was growing up and I helped her and I never got stung as much as I have from mine.
It is a great hobby and I wish that I had had them when the kids were younger. The boys I have at home now go and watch and have helped me but they really aren't that in to it.
I hope we get cooler weather soon and then we won't have to worry about the high bills.

NetRaptor said...

Hey Jennifer, this is completely off topic, but how did your kimchi turn out? I've been reading about homemade sauerkraut, and it's basically the same as kimchi, just with different veggies and seasonings. But I've never tried it and I wondered how your trial went.

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