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Thread: My electric bill is going up 60%!

  1. #36
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    probably anticipating a 'big freeze' coming on, eh?
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  2. #37
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Decourcy View Post
    You misunderstand what I mean by the cost. Of course.
    Then elaborate, please - your statement was mighty ambiguous. What's the downside of not using fossil fuels to generate electricity in this case?
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
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  3. #38
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    probably anticipating a 'big freeze' coming on, eh?
    More likely doing exactly what they said what they wouldn't do when they declared bankruptcy after the ERCOT s-show: making they customers pay for it.

  4. #39
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoez View Post
    Then elaborate, please - your statement was mighty ambiguous. What's the downside of not using fossil fuels to generate electricity in this case?
    Electricity is seen as a power source by many on the left. It’s not really. It’s a means of transmitting power from one generation system or another. And every generation system has economic, environmental and societal costs. Benefits as well of course, but also costs. Very little of the world is suitable for solar energy. It’s quite a narrow band actually. So we will have to bear the costs of building more dams, more nuclear plants, more biomass plants or other means of energy production. There is no free lunch, and so very very few talk about reduction of use. It’s always just like for like, as if we can continue to live our present lifestyle with renewables.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog225 View Post
    My fees are greater than my electric usage. Just another tax.
    Ayup. A regressive tax instead of an 'out in the open', more progressive, income tax. That's Texas for ya.
    David G
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  6. #41
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Decourcy View Post
    Electricity is seen as a power source by many on the left. It’s not really. It’s a means of transmitting power from one generation system or another. And every generation system has economic, environmental and societal costs. Benefits as well of course, but also costs. Very little of the world is suitable for solar energy. It’s quite a narrow band actually. So we will have to bear the costs of building more dams, more nuclear plants, more biomass plants or other means of energy production. There is no free lunch, and so very very few talk about reduction of use. It’s always just like for like, as if we can continue to live our present lifestyle with renewables.
    This is some really outdated thinking.

  7. #42
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    The heat pump water heaters also dehumidify - a nice side benefit.
    Another example of how it's more expensive to be poor. If you can afford the (substantial, iirc) premium for this style of hw-heater, it'll be less expensive in the long run. AND you likely won't have to run a dehumidifier.

    Same dynamic as our c.20 year old rooftop solar hot water heater setup. Estimated breakeven was 8 years. Actual was closer to five. And it's still going strong, with zero maintenance, saving us money. The installation seemed expensive at the time... but boy was it a winner. This sort of pattern plays out time after time in life... a hidden tax on those who can't afford to do it right. Hmmmm... you'd almost think some sort of Public Policy solution might be in order...
    Last edited by David G; 09-23-2022 at 01:15 PM.
    David G
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  8. #43
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    This is some really outdated thinking.
    Really eh?

    Site C in BC. Do some googling. And multiply that by about 20 to meet the demand of full electrification of the BC vehicular fleet. Dams are built here because we have a lot of water. We have a lot of water because we have a lot of rain. We have a lot of rain because we have a lot of clouds. We can do tidal (harmful to marine life) or wind (do we want to do the math on how many we would need?),but people think dams are “green” somehow so that’s what we are getting.

    We should really explore geothermal since we are on the ring of fire, but that’s not really in general discussion. Alberta through western Manitoba can do solar but east of that it starts to get pretty questionable again. And the north is, well, an entirely different discussion.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Decourcy View Post
    Electricity is seen as a power source by many on the left. It’s not really. It’s a means of transmitting power from one generation system or another. And every generation system has economic, environmental and societal costs. Benefits as well of course, but also costs. Very little of the world is suitable for solar energy. It’s quite a narrow band actually. So we will have to bear the costs of building more dams, more nuclear plants, more biomass plants or other means of energy production. There is no free lunch, and so very very few talk about reduction of use. It’s always just like for like, as if we can continue to live our present lifestyle with renewables.
    The electrical engineers that I work with would have a field day with that statement.

    So, I think we all know what the economic cost is of having a solar electrical system. Please enlighten us on the negative environmental and societal costs of a solar electric system versus other means of generating electricity.

    Also, please enlighten us on what narrow band of the world is suitable for solar energy generation. I'm dying to know where that happens to be.

    The beauty of solar power is that it doesn't require the building of more dams, nuclear plants, biomass plants or other means of energy production and is usually generated at the point of use, so there are very little in the way of transmission losses. It is the conversion of photons into electrons. Excess energy is usually stored in batteries for later use or sent back to the grid for other users.

    No, there is not free lunch. BUT. You obviously didn't read what I wrote. The first thing we did was to reduce our electrical use by going with more efficient means. To get some of those subsidies, a company that evaluates the energy efficiency of your home comes in and both requires, and suggests changes to make your home more energy efficient. It was part of the process.

    The use of solar has reduced my dependency on electricity generated by other sources, reducing the need for more nuclear, more dams, more biomass plants, etc. It has also reduced my dependency on fuel oil for domestic heating and hot water. I generate more electricity than I use with my solar panels. So I am reducing the need for OTHERS to rely on those more traditional sources of electrical generation.

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    This is some really outdated thinking.
    Remarkable thinking.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  10. #45
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    The funny thing about efficiencies is that humans just expand their use to match. Efficient house? Build a bigger house. More efficient car? Let’s put 800 hp in it. People suck at using less.
    Solar is a wonderful thing. I use quite a bit myself. But I’m not so deluded that I think it’s going to keep us living our present lifestyle. Germany prided itself on the green movement with solar on new buildings, and programs to cheaply put them on old, and look what happens when the carbon tap is turned off. Solar has its place, but there is no way for it to keep this train from going off the tracks

  11. #46
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Solar doesn't make economic sense for us. Our annual electric bill is in the $400 range. Given our location in Maine, the orientation of our roof and the fact that we live in the woods we would need about a 9-10 kW solar array, which would cost in the $25K range. We would need a large array because our peak use in in Winter when solar produces the least power. Also the 9-10 kW array size assumes I can keep it snow free in Winter. That is not going to happen with a roof mounted array. Because of the way our electric company handles solar power, a solar system adequate to generate all the power we use would only save us about 75% of the electric bill. So even allowing for a 100% increase in electric costs, it would take us about 40 years to pay off a solar system. Being in our 70s we won't live that long.

    Now that said, I did install an off grid 1 kW solar array with a 20 kWh battery and an inverter for power outages. We have a number of outages every year (mostly in Winter). Since we live on an island at the end of the power lines we are normally about the last to get power restored. The solar/battery setup will run my house for about 4-5 days in the Winter and indefinitely in the Summer. I also have a 5 kW generator in case a Winter outage lasts longer than 4-5 days.
    Last edited by Todd D; 09-23-2022 at 01:46 PM.

  12. #47
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd D View Post
    Solar doesn't make economic sense for us. Our annual electric bill is in the $400 range. Given our location in Maine, the orientation of our roof and the fact that we live in the woods we would need about a 9-10 kW solar array, which would cost in the $25K range. We would need a large array because our peak use in in Winter when solar produces the least power. Also the 9-10 kW array size assumes I can keep it snow free in Winter. That is not going to happen with a roof mounted array. Because of the way our electric company handles solar power, a solar system adequate to generate all the power we use would only save us about 75% of the electric bill. So even allowing for a 100% increase in electric costs, it would take us about 40 years to pay off a solar system. Being in our 70s we won't live that long.

    Now that said, I did install an off grid 1 kW solar array with a 20 kWh battery and an inverter for power outages. We have a number of outages every year (mostly in Winter). Since we live on an island at the end of the power lines we are normally about the last to get power restored. The solar/battery setup will run my house for about 4-5 days in the Winter and indefinitely in the Summer. I also have a 5 kW generator in case a Winter outage lasts longer than 4-5 days.
    So you must have some other energy input for heating and cooking - oil, gas, wood - and be extremely frugal power users for everything else. You're either paying somewhere else, or living within an energy budget and resulting lifestyle that many people wouldn't accept.
    I have a half kilowatt array on my bus. It keeps up with a small compressor fridge, a few lights and the stereo eight months of the year. We turn the fridge off mid-winter otherwise the batteries give up after a couple of weeks - there just aren't enough sunshine hours at 43 degrees South to top them off again. If I had your 1kW array, it would be good year round, but there's still the propane for the cooker and itty-bitty water heater, and diesel for the space heater.

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  13. #48
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Our primary heat source is wood cut on our property (windfall). I currently have about 5 years wood cut, split and drying. We do have a propane combi-boiler that can heat the house and provides hot water. We use it mostly for hot water and if my wife doesn't want a fire in the wood stove. As far as electric use goes we use electricity for cooking, lights, for the refrigerator and freezer, to run the combi-boiler, for the well and the washing machine. In summer we do not heat the house and do not have air conditioning. We also don't watch TV. We do use our laptops quite a bit, but they run off of solar during the day and on battery at night. We have all LED lights and NEVER leave a light on if we leave the room. Right now only the refrigerator and freezer are drawing any power from the grid. The circuit my laptop is plugged into is running off of the solar array. Normally the refrigerator and freezer would also be running from solar this time of year, but today is mostly cloudy and we will likely have a power outage tonight when the wind picks up due the close passage of Fiona (50 knots forecast for tonight) so I am saving battery just in case.

    We could switch over to heat pumps for heating, but that would require installing a new electric panel since our current service isn't adequate to handle the extra load. If we did that we could not install enough solar to keep up with the electric use due to a lack of available space. Our roof faces east-west so it is not optimal for solar and we are surrounded by trees, particularly to the south where the land owner refuses to even consider trimming any trees - damn national park.
    Last edited by Todd D; 09-24-2022 at 04:17 PM.

  14. #49
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Another example of how it's more expensive to be poor. If you can afford the (substantial, iirc) premium for this style of hw-heater, it'll be less expensive in the long run. AND you likely won't have to run a dehumidifier
    Not here in Maine. We have a State agency called Efficiency Maine that gives an $850 rebate on heat pump water heaters. The plumbing supply house can do the paperwork so when I got ours I just had to pay $300 and they got the rest of the money from the State of Maine.

  15. #50
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    We've installed two solar PV systems, one on our former house (now a rental, below) and a larger system for our current place (started 2011, paid itself off in 2019).



    Here's a sample graph for the rental place. With net metering, the bill is the minimum ($32) from June through October.


  16. #51
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Decourcy View Post
    The funny thing about efficiencies is that humans just expand their use to match. Efficient house? Build a bigger house. More efficient car? Let’s put 800 hp in it. People suck at using less.
    Yep. The Jevons Paradox in action. We need to be talking about reducing energy consumption, not just increasing efficiency. But in the U.S. the last politician to say anything along those lines that I know of was Jimmy Carter, almost 50 years ago.

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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Yep. The Jevons Paradox in action. We need to be talking about reducing energy consumption, not just increasing efficiency. But in the U.S. the last politician to say anything along those lines that I know of was Jimmy Carter, almost 50 years ago.

    Tom

    Yup, the first R of the three R’s is reduce. It’s the most effective.

  18. #53
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Okay. If you reduce consumption (insulation, double windows, lower room temps, spot heat, cleaner appliances) and get your electricity from solar, wind, etc. then you're on the right track.

    Our energy costs are less than 1/3 what the previous owners were spending. And we aren't suffering.
    Last edited by Chip-skiff; 09-25-2022 at 02:44 PM.

  19. #54
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Reduce the size of the house in the first place. A well insulated 15000 sq ft house is still a waste. Reduce

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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    So why don’t you tell us about your own energy choices?
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    The heat pump water heaters also dehumidify - a nice side benefit.
    what a nightmare!!
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  22. #57
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Decourcy View Post
    The funny thing about efficiencies is that humans just expand their use to match. Efficient house? Build a bigger house. More efficient car? Let’s put 800 hp in it. People suck at using less.
    Solar is a wonderful thing. I use quite a bit myself. But I’m not so deluded that I think it’s going to keep us living our present lifestyle. Germany prided itself on the green movement with solar on new buildings, and programs to cheaply put them on old, and look what happens when the carbon tap is turned off. Solar has its place, but there is no way for it to keep this train from going off the tracks
    Given the metaphorical train and tracks were built with fossil fuels by definition the train will stop and/or go off the tracks. So you build a different train, a smaller one with solar and other sources.
    People will shed their delusions and cultivate new ones. It’s what we do.

  23. #58
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    Okay. If you reduce consumption (insulation, double windows, lower room temps, spot heat, cleaner appliances) and get your electricity from solar, sind, etc. then you're on the right track.

    Our energy costs are less than 1/3 what the previous owners were spending. And we aren't suffering.
    Chip,

    your solution obviously works well for you, but you're really talking about increasing efficiency as a method of reducing consumption with those bolded bits. And what history shows, without any doubt really, is that increasing efficiency in individual applications as you have done results in an overall increase in energy use when you look at the big picture. As things become cheaper, more people use more of those things--more than enough to offset the increased efficiency and then some. This is very clear looking at coal consumption as Jevons did.

    If everyone did something along those lines, it would be great. Thing is, everyone is NOT in a position to do it.

    First, some won't live in places as suitable for solar/wind power. Second, lots of people are renters, and have no control over how their homes get energy. Third, some won't invest the up-front costs because their situations are not stable enough that "it'll pay for itself over time" makes sense for them.

    Tom
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoez View Post
    So why don’t you tell us about your own energy choices?
    I lived in the same house for 21 years. Hindsight: I should have installed a solar array on a south-facing lawn. I suspect it would have paid itself off before we sold the house. That said, a first-year teacher and a third-year employee in a small non-profit don't make a lot of money. Had we done that (assuming we could have managed it), our lives would have been very different for a while, with less $ for other things.

    But, we chose to live in a house that:

    1. Was located 1/2 mile from my wife's office, and 1 mile from my school. I always walked to work; my wife often did so.

    2. Contained about 800 sq ft of living space, part of which was an unheated porch.

    I think the ideal would have been a house properly designed to take advantage of passive solar. That would drastically reduce electricity use, I imagine.

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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    Given the metaphorical train and tracks were built with fossil fuels by definition the train will stop and/or go off the tracks. So you build a different train, a smaller one with solar and other sources.
    People will shed their delusions and cultivate new ones. It’s what we do.
    But it's becoming more and more obvious that, in this case, we won't shed them quickly enough to avoid mass extinctions around the planet, and plenty of pain and unpleasantness for all life on the planet.

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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    But it's becoming more and more obvious that, in this case, we won't shed them quickly enough to avoid mass extinctions around the planet, and plenty of pain and unpleasantness for all life on the planet.

    Tom
    I don’t think delusions lead to our species leveraging future resources for present benefit as much as they are a side effect.

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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Decourcy View Post
    Reduce the size of the house in the first place. A well insulated 15000 sq ft house is still a waste. Reduce
    I agree, get it down to 5,000 sq ft.

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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    I put a lot of study into this stuff when designing the house I built. The house itself is so efficient that solar or so-called geothermal wouldn't pay off in my lifetime. The house is ICF, with R60 insulation in the attic. I used decent windows, and put a lot of study into orienting the house on the land for energy efficiency. I also built a smallish, by US standards house at 1400 square feet. We go months at a time in the spring and fall without using the HVAC at all. We use mini-splits, as they don't make central systems small enough for our cooling and heating load. Summer A/C is only 9,000 BTU, or 3/4 ton. Our fully finished basement has no HVAC at all, yet stays at a usable temperature year-round, ranging from 64 to 74 F. Every light in the house is LED. The one energy hog we have is a conventional electric water heater. I wanted to go with a heat pump unit, but at the time, the affordable ones had dismal reliability, and I didn't have an extra $3000 for a good one. I've toyed with the idea of building a solar one (can't afford to buy one) or eventually go with a heat pump. Oh, and for the record, I'm a conservative, politically (but not a Republican).

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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    why does the right hate electricity so much ?
    I have a RWW brother in law who was WAY ahead of his time in his hatred for electric cars, now half my FB feed is "patriots "bashing tesla
    What? The right likes electricity to be produced economically and efficiently. Germany, in its recent foray into it's version of the Green New Deal, now pays the highest electrical rates in Western Europe per Forbes Business. In the US, electrical rates are higher in states that use/promote Green Energy. Germany shut down it's nucs and coal-fired power plants. This was well before Russia's adventure into Ukraine.

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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    I put a lot of study into this stuff when designing the house I built. The house itself is so efficient that solar or so-called geothermal wouldn't pay off in my lifetime. The house is ICF, with R60 insulation in the attic. I used decent windows, and put a lot of study into orienting the house on the land for energy efficiency. I also built a smallish, by US standards house at 1400 square feet. We go months at a time in the spring and fall without using the HVAC at all. We use mini-splits, as they don't make central systems small enough for our cooling and heating load. Summer A/C is only 9,000 BTU, or 3/4 ton. Our fully finished basement has no HVAC at all, yet stays at a usable temperature year-round, ranging from 64 to 74 F. Every light in the house is LED. The one energy hog we have is a conventional electric water heater. I wanted to go with a heat pump unit, but at the time, the affordable ones had dismal reliability, and I didn't have an extra $3000 for a good one. I've toyed with the idea of building a solar one (can't afford to buy one) or eventually go with a heat pump. Oh, and for the record, I'm a conservative, politically (but not a Republican).
    My story is similar. I built a 1500 sq. ft, passive solar, earth sheltered home in 1984. The house envelope is so efficient that I had to use a heat pump package for an 800 sq.ft condo,(the smallest I could find) coupled with a larger air handler, designed for a 1000 sq. ft space. My local energy provider, the GA Power Co., greatly assisted me with finding the components and vendors to do the cobbling and installation. I also have a conventional electrical water heater, abet it does have an additional thermal blanket, and it is on a timer.

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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post

    If everyone did something along those lines, it would be great. Thing is, everyone is NOT in a position to do it.

    First, some won't live in places as suitable for solar/wind power. Second, lots of people are renters, and have no control over how their homes get energy. Third, some won't invest the up-front costs because their situations are not stable enough that "it'll pay for itself over time" makes sense for them.

    Tom
    Sure, not everyone has the choice to install where they live. For that reason, you can buy or lease panels panels at solar “farms”, or other generation methods that are credited to your power meter. This works for most owners and renters. If you rent it is possible, but difficult to have an impact on your energy use.

    One major point missed in this discussion is the cost per kilowatt for what used to be unique generation methods - solar photovoltaic and solar thermal, wind micro turbines and others, continues to decline as the installation base goes up. It is making it more appealing for the pay over time crowd. For those that own their homes, there are companies who will install solar panels at no cost to you if you enter a fixed rate contract for the electricity. In some places code for new construction requires “net zero” or other similar things requiring reduced energy use, and on-site generation to meet those goals. Change is slow, but it is positive and it is coming.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoez View Post
    So why don’t you tell us about your own energy choices?
    For the last 30 years my wife and I have walked from our bedroom to our offices upstairs. We seldom see clients. Mostly email and UPSP mail. So we save a lot on fuel. My wife likes to keep the house/office hot in the summer and cold in the winter. We have been paperless for a very long time.

    My wife prefers to take her Honda Accord - 40+mpg, on vacation, but when we have too many people we take my van - 25mpg.

    I don't object to those who are less concerned about resource usage. There are certainly billions of people who use less than we do.
    Life is complex.

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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoez View Post
    So why don’t you tell us about your own energy choices?
    I went “low impact” in the mid 90’s. Lived on a series of boats, then moved onto a property and built a small (under 600sq ft) off grid house. Still have that house but presently live in a non-off grid place of 900sq ft heated by wood. I spent a lot of time thinking that people were going to change our trajectory as a species, but eventually, as I watched consumption just continue to skyrocket, I realized that only a tiny fraction of people actually care enough to do anything themselves.
    My life now is still low energy usage from habit more than from effort.

  34. #69
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    As things become cheaper, more people use more of those things--more than enough to offset the increased efficiency and then some.

    First, some won't live in places as suitable for solar/wind power. Second, lots of people are renters, and have no control over how their homes get energy. Third, some won't invest the up-front costs because their situations are not stable enough that "it'll pay for itself over time" makes sense for them.
    I can't control what everyone else does or might do. We don't consume more because our costs are less. (Did you notice that our rental place also has solar power?)

    For those who can't afford to change, tax credits or subsidies can give them an incentive. But some people are so fixed in their habits that they can't stand any change whatsoever.

    Still, if you compare the scope of voluntary change to those involuntary changes (and damages) wrought by climate disasters, you might conclude that your reasoning is faulty.

  35. #70
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    Default Re: My electric bill is going up 60%!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    I can't control what everyone else does or might do. We don't consume more because our costs are less. (Did you notice that our rental place also has solar power?)

    For those who can't afford to change, tax credits or subsidies can give them an incentive. But some people are so fixed in their habits that they can't stand any change whatsoever.

    Still, if you compare the scope of voluntary change to those involuntary changes (and damages) wrought by climate disasters, you might conclude that your reasoning is faulty.
    I wish it were. But Jevons Paradox has held true historically: as energy costs go down because of increased efficiency, overall consumption goes up. That's reality.

    We need to be talking about reducing overall energy use, and that will take lifestyle changes at a societal, global level. Individual efforts alone won't do it.

    Tom
    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

    www.tompamperin.com

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