Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bend over

Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.
This happens every few months... I get my electric bill, have a minor WTF moment wondering if maybe I left the oven on for the last month, dig out the previous year's bill and then have a major WTF moment.

I still remember when my total electric bill was around 20 bucks. Today: $91 and change.


Just for the record, I thought my bill from February 2005 was outrageous at $73 plus. Yet, compared to this year, I guess I should have been happy. I mean, my usage actually went down by 12% (486KWH -> 426KWH) and yet my bill went up by more than 25%. (Yes, I'm kind of a math guy, ok? Deal with it.) You go down to the services and it turns out that the transmission cost has increased by 126% and the generation charge went up by 90%.

During these moments, I can't help but remember a ballot initiative* from many years back where the energy companies wanted to be deregulated. In return, they promised to do something like keep prices down or provide some kind of rate discount for a specified number of years. I really can't believe it passed since the whole concept struck me as one of those schemes where you sucker someone into signing up for something based on an "introductory price" (Can you say six CD's for a penny? Free broadband internet for the first 6 months?) and then reaming them once they're stuck in the program. I mean, doesn't anyone notice that they never tell you what the regular pricing structure actually is? (Comcast seems to still be pushing this kind of bullshit although it looks like RCN has finally given up on the practice.)

Anyway, all I can say is: we are soooo screwed.

*Ok, did a little research: the ballot initiative in 1998 was intended to repeal the electric utility deregulation legislation passed the previous year -- item (w) contains the rate reduction guarantees, and apparently there was considerable effort made by the utilities to defeat the initiative. Go figure.

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