Saturday, July 16, 2011
Many of you know about the April 27 tornados that devastated parts of Alabama. The storms themselves were a tragedy unlike any other this state has ever seen. 244 people lost their lives, and thousands more lost their homes. The cleanup is ongoing and some rebuilidng has begun. We are working our way through it all. Every day, the Birmingham News features some article about the recovery process on its front page. While some of us are now experiencing "disaster fatigue", it is an important reminder that for many of our neighbors, the recovery from April 27 will continue for months and even years to come. Even if we are fatigued, we can't forget that!
Yesterday's front page headline was this: "Power Bills Going Up". It seems that all Alabamians, that use Alabama Power, will experience a 3% increase in their power bills beginning in October. This is to replenish the storm reserves that are being entirely depleted due to the loss of 900 miles of wire, 318 substations being damaged or destoyed and 7600 poles downed. The cost of this disaster has to come from somewhere. And it will come from the consumers.
The base rates themselves are not actually increasing, but a 3% credit that had something to do with adjustments for the company's tax rates is being eliminated so it amounts to a 3% increase in power costs. Apparently, the credit should have actually been eliminated long ago, but they are doing it now in order to shore up the storm reserves. When I first read the headline, I was prepared to be irritated and angry. But, it appears that I'm not. I guess I realize that so many of my fellow Alabamians are dealing with so much more as a result of April 27. A 3% increase just isn't that huge to me when I look at the big picture of all that was lost on that day.
So, I will pay the 3%, if not gladly, at least not resentfully. However... I will be looking for ways to reduce the effect that 3% has on my wallet. I will now start further pursuing ways to cut my energy usage. I'm already using CFLs in almost every light in the house, I'm trying to use as little AC as humanly possible, I'm cooking more in the microwave, crockpot and toaster oven, I'm air drying my clothes..... any other suggestions????? What do YOU do to reduce your energy costs?