When I first opened the envelope, our electric bill seemed higher this month than I’d expected. When I thought about it, the increase seemed easy to explain: my daughter and her family here for a cold, blustery Christmas meant turning on our third-floor space heaters for a week (although NStar’s bar graph re monthly use seems to counter that fact), baby, it’s been cold outside this month and, I’m afraid, I’ve gotten into the very bad habit of simply turning on the space heater next to my desk. The bill also announces a 2011 “rate change”, i.e. increase, too.
Gotta admit, this $28.05 increase—not a big deal, really, and certainly within my budget—has nevertheless upset me.
Well, first of all, because I know about it (lucky me: my husband pays our natural gas bill so I am totally, ahem, in the dark about that expense). And secondly, I realize, upon reflection, that although I have about as much understanding re how natural gas is produced and physically gets to my house as I do about our household’s NStar gas bill, I have a slight understanding of how electricity gets here.
When I think “natural gas production,” nothing comes to mind. Zip. Ah. But ask me to think about an electric plant (is that what you even call it?) and I can easily picture a) a roaring, powerful waterfall making some humungous turbine spin or b) a coal-burning plant doing the same thing. And , yes, it’s not hard to conjure up images of the top-razed mountains I have seen in West Virginia or miners trapped in poorly ventilated and dangerous mines.
But, really, is any coal burned to provide New England with its electric power?
I have no idea. But now that the Home Energy Assessment thing is moving along (I’m calling MassSAVE tomorrow to set up an appointment), maybe my next project this month will be to investigate this.
Stay tuned. Or should I say, plugged in?