Residents of Juneau, Alaska, have delved into the world of energy efficiency… not because the want to show the rest of us how “green” they are, but because they no longer have the “green” to afford basic electricity.
A major avalanche has knocked out Juneau’s main hydroelectric power transmission lines, and it could be months before they are fixed, according to MSNBC. Alaska Electric Light and Power started using back-up diesel generators to power the city. But with oil prices at a record high, some people are seeing electric bills that are FIVE TIMES what they once were. The increased power costs have Juneau residents taking new measures to save electricity: eating by candlelight, turning off the computer and television, line drying their clothes.
When I was in high school, we once had a power-outage that lasted four days. It was a loooong four days. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have little or no electricity for three months or more. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have light bills that rivaled my mortgage bill. This story really made me think about how much energy my family uses on any given day, and gives me a new appreciation for it.
It also makes me think about things I can do (are am already doing) that could save energy around my house:
- Wash clothes in cold water
- Use Off-peak heating and water heating
- Line dry clothing
- Unplug appliances and electronics that aren’t used on a regular basis
- Replace energy-sucking appliances with more energy-efficient models
- Replace my old light-bulbs with more energy-efficient compact fluorescents.
- Maximize my oven use (bake more than one thing at a time) and use my crock pot more
- Shut off the TV and computer and do things with my family
Sometimes we all need to be reminded not to take things like electricity for granted. I know the folks in Juneau won’t ever do that again.