Kai tracked our utility costs at Villa Curl the past four years. Here are my thoughts (unsupported opinion not based on science or statistics) on the subject:
Electric down 373 Gas down 156 Water up 252
We’ve been doing that Eco-Thing: paying more attention to thermostat settings, turning lights off, and water use.
Gas Cost should be lower but isn’t
Gas prices are at historic lows. The sweetheart privatization of Atlanta Gas/Light marketing has actually worked against the consumer. Great for stockholders and Atlanta Gas/Light, bad for consumers. Can anybody say “pass through charges”?
Water Cost way up
Water Authorities go decades without upgrading their systems. Politicians tout their leadership abilities by keeping costs down while allowing systems to fall into disrepair. Atlanta has been going through this for years-now it’s DeKalb’s turn. Up next: Balancing accounts by claiming leaks on the user side of the meter. Tell the customer to pay an enormous bill or have their service cut off. This happened in the Atlanta system and is likely to occur should DeKalb run short of cash. Think this won’t happen? I just got a solicitation for the “Water Line Protection Program”. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse. Sewer charges are based on meter charges so watering your garden (or any type irrigation, pool filling, etc) comes at a premium.
Many power companies are run like water utilities: companies promise lower rates at the expense of infrastructure maintenance. Use is going up along with increased IT technology. Nuclear plant and dirty coal cleanup costs are coming, so is the cost of renewing the physical and personnel structure sacrificed to quarterly profit statements. The Piper must be paid.
Consumer Bottom Line
Like Alice in Through the Looking Glass we will have to run faster just to stay in place. Relying on Politicians, Utilities and Corporations to act in the consumer’s interest is, at best, a questionable proposition. Better to be a true conservative: act smart and in your own interest. I’m here to show you the way….
Your friendly, neighborhood Eco-Inspector