Nearly three months ago, I asked what kind of electric bills people get.
One very green thing to do, obviously, is to cut back on power whenever possible, to avoid the not-very-friendly processes we use to create electricity. (Think coal-powered plants.)
And I said I'd spill about my bill.
How I wish I had done so before my air-conditioning was fixed. (If you feel like fessing up after my confession, tack on a comment or e-mail me.)
Commenter Ms. McD said she and her husband pay about $63 a month on ComEd's budget plan. She, the keeper o' the green, sets the thermostat to 80 when the AC is on. And she's not escaping to a cold office. She works part-time and her husband is retired. So they're sitting in their 80-degree house being uber-energy efficient.
Commenter Tom is in a new home and keeps bills down by competing with himself to see how low he can go. His lowest bill so far was $67.35 in May. In the winter, it gets a little ugly, hitting $107. (But, Tom, rest assured this is much lower than the bills of the folks' getting green makeovers on TV.)
I, on the other hand, just got a ComEd bill for $87. I'm ashamed. That sounds silly, but I am.
There are only two of us in my house and we're not big power users usually. Our cross to bear is the AC unit on this new-to-us house. Everyone swears it was put in in the early 1990s. If that's the case, it was a refurbished model from 1975.
This thing looks like it was born to suck up energy, as though more power means more degrees dropped. "Energy Star?," it scoffs, "Who needs Energy Star appliances?"
Think I'm misplacing the blame? Before this summer, the highest electricity bill I can recall was for $27. Seriously.
That means I'm paying $50 a month for my air conditioning alone.
Unlike the savvy Ms. McD, I don't set the thermostat to 80. But we aim for 78. My husband has been doing freelance computer programming, meaning he's been working from home, so we haven't been shutting it off when I go off to work.
On the greener side: My husband works hard to unplug all of the unused items that would suck energy, we have all CFL bulbs, our washer is an Energy Star and our dishwasher is a countertop model. (If I were a real earth-loving hippie, I'd handwash my dishes using little to no water. But I hate dishes, so I load up this countertop model and call it a day.)
I'm shaking my fist at you old AC unit.
We don't exactly have a couple thousand bucks just sitting around for a new Energy Star unit. But we'll save up and get it there and feel better about what we're doing.
Till then, we'll be joining Tom, in his competition to see that ComEd bar graph get lower and lower.
How low can we go?