Thursday, December 20, 2007

This is what I get for trying to be Al Gore

This week, I received a pleasant surprise. And by "pleasant," I mean "brutal":

Seems my utility bill had surged from $58.76 last cycle (itself high) to $90.08. I did expect my bill to rise somewhat, given current cost trends for, well, everything in the world. But a near-50 percent increase? Foul! For one thing, I use my heater about twice a day, and always turn it off anytime I leave, even for a few minutes. Second, I tend to have on only what I'm using at any given time, which often leaves my apartment lit only by the occasional peek of sun. Third, I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment. Foul!

At first opportunity, I went to City Utilities (or CU, as we say when making puns) to set them straight. I liked my chances, given that my first-ever bill from them was a whopping $211. They told me later it was an estimate, which makes me wonder what they charged people who actually have roommates and other rooms. They were so wrong that time that they actually credited me for the next three months.

This time, however, CU was as certain about my bill as George W. Bush is about, well, everything in the world. After all, this bill was based on actual meter readings, which are gospel. If anything, they said, a broken meter would have worked out in my favor. Hmmm...tempting! Naah. Sounds like entrapment.

After some wrangling with the front desk, which was like trying to push a good idea into Bush's head, I headed over to appeals. I told them of the situation, my energy principles and my history of battling fishy CU prices. How, I asked them, could my carbon footprint have been made by Andre the Giant? (In different words, of course. I'm not always metaphorically pretentious.)

They then showed me that my kilowatt-hour rate had indeed doubled in the past month, probably from leaving my heater on 70 (good call there). Furthermore, that rate was actually stingy compared to previous tenants' readings from this time of year. So my extensive efforts to be an energy hippie actually did help a little. Whee.

So now I accept the $90 charge as a learning tax. This month, I'm determined not to use my heater at all, even when the temperature drops into sub-freezing levels. I've actually done this before, and it's not bad with blankets. Take that, Hallibusto!

The New Orleans Saints will keep me warm.


Anonymous said...

Those pointless Bush jabs didn't seem forced at all. no way.

P.S. you're still a shitty hack "writer".

- Potentate Alday

Ian McGibboney said...

So, Impotentate, how's your blog going? The one that used to be about politics but now is about zombies and material cribbed from other sites? The one that hasn't been updated since October?

And I'm the hack. Pffft.

Anonymous said...

Ian, you could be called a lot of things but a shitty hack writer is not one of them. You are an excellent hack writer. You look as snug as a bug in a rug. Keep those factual comments about Bush coming.

gg said...

Just checked my bill. It's $88.94 for a two-bedroom in the same complex, and I use my heater all the time. You should get them to check your meter.

Speechie said...

Since when did you decide you love the Saints?

When in search of low utilities, you must move in above and next door to or inbetween very old people. They will keep their houses insanely warm and you will never have to know how to light a furnace again.

Trust me, we're doing it right now in our new condo...and with several feet of snow on the ground. We have never once lit our furnace and our laundry room for some reason stays a toasty 78 degrees ALL THE TIME.

At Thanksgiving, my rolls fell...I should have raised them in the laundry room. Next year.

It actually gets so hot in our place that we have to have a fan going at night.

Yet still...somehow...we get charged for using about $35 dollars of hot water every month.

The other trick is that you shouldn't turn off your heater when you leave.

Pick a temperature and stick with it.

Pick something like 58 degrees that you can live with, provided you have central or auto.

Every time you have to turn on your heater it has to take a ton of time to heat up and then it has to heat the whole apt, one bedroom or not, to the temperature you desire.

If you let the auto do its job you'll actually save yourself money in the long run.

On the other hand, if you lack central or auto, you can go to a nearby department store, or something like Target, and buy energy efficient curtains for like $15 or $20. They have special backing and will keep the cold out of your place and keep the heat in.

Also effective at blocking 99% of light.

I may sound like a commercial, but condo is on a high building overlooking the tail end of a metropolis...I can use all the light-blocking I can get.

They block sound too.

I wouldn't necessarily call you a hack...

...but then again...considering what people think of what I do for a living, I'm not sure I have much room to be making judgements.

You know what I miss about Louisiana???

Raisin' Canes.

Of course, my sister recently made a mammoth journey across the US and spotted one in Lincoln, Nebraska. So that's good news.

And my sweet, snow-covered abyss has recently added the likes of Jason's Deli and CiCi's Pizza.

Popeye's is still holding out in Colorado and not quite making its way over like it should.

Don't you just miss good food?

And good people?

I almost miss being called "ma'am."

And yes, I am fully aware that I haven't talked to you in so long that you probably saw my comment and went "Holy Sh**!"

Yeah, I've missed me too.

I'll let you know when my book (co-authored with the infamous boss of course) comes out and you'll have to critique it into mad hell. But not the're just never allowed near that. You can have the trade book...

TCB and TC in general,