My electric bill came in the mail today. I opened the envelope and smiled...$55 bucks....far less than the $250 Arizona Public Service (APS) will be gouging out of me in August.
On the back of my bill is a nice little bar chart. It shows 1) how well I'm doing in saving energy versus my average neighbor, 2) how I'm doing against my energy-thrifty neighbors, and 3) how I'm doing this year versus this time last year.
Now isn't that wonderful? Here you have an electric company (ours is nuclear powered), and they are encouraging you to use less of their product!
Well, hold on boys and girls. The energy utility, any energy utility, is a corporation, owned by shareholders, and hell-bent on maximizing profits.
So why would they send me a circular encouraging me to go "energy star" on all my appliances? Or convert my light bulbs to LED? Or smile at me as I listen to the solar guy's end of aisle spiel at Home Depot?
Boys and girls, your electric company spins out more fairy tales that Walt Disney. They say they want you to use less energy, but if you do, they're gonna jack your rates up higher because...well because they want to make big, big profits!
Let's go back. Remember that "solar smile?" Well, my APS has spent millions in "dark money", trying to elect politicians who might have a favorable view of forcing solar customers to take less for the energy they return to the grid, or at least make them pay $50 bucks a month for just belonging to the grid!
And yet, after hiking rates, and battling their solar brothers, even that's not enough for my electric company. Since I'm only using $50 some dollars of their power in the winter, they want me to pay more...way, way more in August when my air conditioning system is creating 3 digit electric bills! Is that because my AC is taxing their nuclear power plant? Nope...even in summer old "Nuke Nick" is operating at only 50 percent of capacity.
Now, being the "capitalist pig" that I am, I have no problem with anyone making a decent profit. But I don't think I need to be gouged just so some boardroom prima donna can announce "record profits" at the shareholder meeting. Nope, I want to see him or her stand up and say "folks, we made a decent profit..we were able to allocate funds for maintenance, for research and development...and there's your 5 percent dividend for the quarter...now let's all party down!"
Instead, I have the sinking feeling that those APS boys are meeting in some back room, even as I write this, and they're saying "damn that Friend character over on Snead Drive! He just put in ten LED bulbs this week!"
Sad. Damned Sad.