Personal Essays

My GD Neighbors Who Clearly Don’t Use Electricity

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-10-44-16-amEvery few months my electric company sends out an e-mail telling me how my energy conservation compares to my neighbor’s … and it’s never good news. Anyone who reads Freesia Lane knows I’m a competitive person and that I get anxious if I don’t perform well, so when I first received this email, I thought, Gotta get on this! But every month it’s getting worse — this month they say I’m 32 percent worse than everyone else in the neighborhood.

I have the heat set at 60 degrees now. I’m gone at least a week a month. I have an office I go to for the day, and I turn the heat way down while I’m out. I watch television in the dark, squinting. I rarely cook. And now I’m mad as hell.

Do you think they send this to everyone, hoping everyone will live like a Pilgrim, as I do?

Here is the deal: I’m not going to open any more e-mails from these people. I’m done.

And my goal in 2017 is going to be to stop competing in arenas that are not really of interest to me. Goodbye guilt and angst, and hello F-You attitude to come.

I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

3 replies on “My GD Neighbors Who Clearly Don’t Use Electricity”

This is great news. I too, use 30% more than my “efficient” neighbors, and have been caught sneaking around the neighborhood at dusk to see who, dammit, is hanging their laundry in the backyard to dry (actually illegal in this town-true), keeping their lights off until they bump into each other, and shivering and sweating in the appropriate months just so they can be at the top of this list. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?? HOW DO THEY DO IT? We replaced our windows, had an energy consultant do an assessment, insisted CL&P replace our meter, as it was clearly faulty, Keep the heat at about 64 (okay, not Icelandic, but still much cooler than preferred) and replaced the garage refrigerator to a more efficient model. Guess what? Our electric bill has come down about 25% in the past year! Guess what else? We are STILL 30% less efficient than our efficient neighbors! What the…??!
But now I know they do not exist. There are no ‘efficient f-ing neighbors’. Our 1700 kWh is admirable, parsimonious, even. Efficient neighbors are the unicorns of the energy business. Now I can rest, and turn the heat up. Thank you.

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