Sunday, January 21, 2007


"What's that, Jeff?" you ask. "Is it how much you spent on a new PS3?"


"The lease payment on a new BMW, perhaps?"

Wrong again.

"Hmm. I've got it. It was the cost of the brand new snowblower you bought to get out from underneath all the white stuff piled up outside!"

Strike three.

No, my dears, $399.65 was the amount of the goddamn utility bill we just received from Xcel Energy for our natural gas and electric yesterday.

Excuse me? $399.65 for one month? And my toes are still cold? You gotta be shitting me. We keep our house at about 68º during the day and drop it down to 65º while we're sleeping. It's comfortable, but certainly not tropical.

The bill, which ran from December 8 until January 12, said that the average daily temperature for that period of time was 32 degrees Farenheit (that's a big fat zero to those of you in Celsius land). Same time last year the average daily temp was 39. So yeah, brrrr fucking cold land. And the truly scary thing is that December is traditionally not even close to being our coldest month. It's usually third behind January and February. And so far, January's been pretty frigid.

The thing is, I have no idea what I'm really paying for. I can't translate those dollars into anything that I can mathematically work out in my head (or on paper for that matter). The bill says I'm paying for Kilowatt Hours with electrical and Therms with gas. What the fuck is a therm? How do you measure that? Can I just call them and ask for fewer therms? It says we used 1970 kilowatt hours last month. Is that a lot? I don't know if 1970 is high, but I do know it's a year in which lots of people were getting high, so maybe there's some correlation there.

I don't know what the hell I'm getting charged for. My bill is completely nonsensical. There are all kinds of charges on there beyond just therms and KWHs. There are charges for GRSA, Air Quality Imp, Elec Commodity Adj, Demand Side Mgmt Cost, Purch Cap Cost Adj, and Renew. Energy Std Adj. There's a franchise fee. I don't own a fucking franchise. There's even something called a Therm Multiplier. It appears that they take the amount of therms we used and then multiply them by a completely arbitrary number, just to be able to charge me more. Oh, and they're charging me more per therm for December than for January.

Goddamn utility monopolies.

Oh, and oh goody, it's snowing again.


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