Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Of wind, warmth, and utility bills

Good lord, is it windy! It sounds like there's a wild thing trying to take off my siding out there. The wind is making these horrible sobbing noises as it whips round the corner of my house and rattles my windows.

This time last year I would have been wrapped in layers, listening to the heater cycle on/cycle off, and shivering. But now I have thermal drapes, so I'm all toasty.

Thermal drapes, of thee I sing! I have you in the living room, in the kitchen (where there used to be vertical blinds. No good those are! All they do is sway back and forth in the breeze) and upstairs in my bedroom. You are wonderful things. So what if you also block out most of the daylight? I have summer drapes for when I want light. You? You make it so that I won't be paying huge electric bills this year.

I hope.

We'll see. I haven't gotten a bill in a while that didn't have a zero balance on it.

Lemme explain that. I don't know how billing works where you live, gentle readers, but here they only check the meter every other month. On the months they don't come read it, they estimate. They base this on usage from the previous year. Or, if you're not comfortable with them guessing how much you used, you can read the meter yourself and report it to their computer--either over the phone or online.

That's what I'd been doing, reading the meter myself. 'Cause the one time I didn't I got a nasty surprise. Holy power bill, Batman! I'd forgotten that the year before there had been four people in this house, and apparently they would turn on every light and appliance in the place then go stand outside, join hands, and watch the meter go 'round and 'round, just for fun. I didn't want another bill like that one, so I've been taking down numbers and calling the power company computer.

Except for last June. I thought I was clear for last June, since that's when I moved in. I was wrong. The bill for June was estimated from the previous year, and was close to $300. Gulp. But then my own usage kicked in the next month, and I had such a large credit on my account that I didn't owe them anything. I've been riding that same wave ever since. This bill coming up will be the first one in a while where I expect to send them a payment. I'm interested to see how much it is.

I'm also thinking of paying them a large chunk next June and riding the wave through the summer again. That was kind of nice.


Anonymous said...

You are REALLY, REALLY good! I haven't finished reading but had to stop to tell you that when I got to going-outside,join-hands...part I just roared laughing! Bless you. Back to reading.

Anonymous said...

Have to admit that once when I wrote out the bill for the utility company I added to the memo line on our check, "Limb of Satan." Very naughty, but felt momentarily good.