My local utility company recently sent me a letter saying that I was one of 10,000 randomly selected customers chosen to receive a “Personalized Home Electricity Report.”
The report contains information and analysis about our electricity consumption and includes comparisons to my neighbors’ electricity usage. The report also contains tips to make my home more effecient and to help me “make smart choices to reduce [my] electricity use and bills.”
When I got this little note in my mailbox, I was excited about it because I thought I would be able to find new ways to save on my electric bill.
And then I read the report. And then I got angry.
According to the report, we use 35 percent more electricity than our neighbors. Now, I don’t know who they consider my “neighbors” – probably other randomly selected people – but I can tell you that my actual neighbors are all summer cabin owners, so of course, my consumption will be higher.
We also have a duel fuel hot water heat system. Which means that we use off-peak electricity to heat our house most of the time, and fuel oil at other times. I wonder if that fact is even considered in their comparison with our neighbors’ usage.
But what really got me angry was their “Personalized Action Steps:”
Heat water at a reduced rate. I am already on the utility company’s program for off-peak water heating – something they could have easily found by looking at my records.
Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). I just spent the last two years replacing every single light in our home with CFLS. I also claimed all the rebates through my utility company that I could for those bulbs. Once again… they could have checked their records.
Look for the Energy Star label. We don’t buy any appliances that don’t have the Energy Star label. We replaced our last big energy-sucking appliance last year. And we also got a rebate from our utility company for that. Once again, they need to check their records.
Looks to me like this entire report was a giant waste of energy for them. And since it is a rural electric cooperative – that means they’re wasting my money, too.
Tell me something I don’t know.