Time to move to Nevada – PG&E announces “time of use” rates, Cal Water to merge Chico with three other districts and increase rates to pay for infrastructure in Marysville, Oroville and Willows

I finally got that rental cleaned up. In the end, since it took me less than eight hours, I gave the tenant a full refund. I was pretty mad when I started two weeks ago, but as I went along, I realized, I’ve had worse.

Now we have an empty clean rental on our hands.  We’ve had it on a couple of rental websites, but so far, the only people who have looked at it have been unable to afford it.

See, there’s not only the rent, but the PG&E bill. It’s hard to live in a house bigger than a pop stand these days because of the cost of PG&E. Here in Northern California we get periods of extreme weather.  As tough as I try to be, it’s almost impossible to keep my finger off that thermostat when it’s under 40 degrees outside, or over 98. We keep our thermostat on 64 in Winter, and 78 – 80 in the summer, but our bills spike anyway – when it’s 105 outside, you can keep your thermostat on 80, and it will run almost all day anyway.

Two things that help alot are covering windows and shutting doors. These practices I learned as a child. My grandparents had heavy blinds and drapes on most of their windows, and we got a boot in the rear if we went from one room to another without shutting a door.  That really works – here in my apartment, if I leave my son’s bedroom door open on a cold day, it actually sets off the thermostat right outside the door. When I shut that door, the heater runs less. And, we cover the biggest windows with foam core sheets, bought at Home Depot and cut to fit, during extreme heat or cold.

Yes, we have power strips wherever possible. Things are turned off at night, and some appliances are only plugged when they are used.  I have to turn the computer on as soon as I get up so it can “warm up.”

For us, the biggest power suckers are our kitchen refrigerator and our little chest freezer in the garage.  We find, at our income level, it’s imperative to have good food storage for hoarding food at low prices. For example, my husband and I just found that we can buy 40 pounds of boneless chicken for half to a third the price we pay at Safeway.  Furthermore, I just bought two packages of bone-in thighs and two whole chickens on sale at Safeway – 99 cents a pound, almost half price. A few days later they had a “picnic pack” – drumsticks and thighs for 99 cents a pound.  I could not have bought that quantity if I didn’t have my chest freezer, my side-by-side is very small.

So, no matter how I set my thermostat, I have those two appliances running solid all day. In past, when we’ve had power outs, even in Winter, our food has spoiled within 48 hours.

Sometimes I watch a silly show called, “Are We There Yet.” It’s about a family who lives in Los Angeles. One day they get an onerous power bill, and appoint the teenage son as “energy czar.” When he reads an article that says the refrigerator is the biggest user, he has the brilliant idea of turning it off. By the time his mother gets home from work, food has begun to spoil. I had to laugh – it’s true, our food went bad fast, during a four day power out in November. It was in the 20’s at night, but we had to throw out almost everything in our freezer. Spiteri’s deli was out thousands of dollars in rotten food, and they have industrial refrigerators.

So, PG&E comes on with these stupid suggestions – set your thermostat at 68 in Winter? Oh my God, I can’t even imagine – we keep ours at 64, and it seems to run all day.  Then they tell you to turn it down to 56 when you’re out? Then come home and turn it to 68? Wow – it sounds like they want you to use more.

Here’s a suggestion from PG&E that’s totally whacked.

  • Run cold water for your garbage disposal. Hot water requires energy to warm. Cold water solidifies grease, moving it more easily through the disposal and pipes.

First of all, don’t have a garbage disposal, you should never put food waste down your drain. “Cold water solidifies grease,” alright, and sends it hurtling into your sewer pipes, or worse, into your septic leach lines. 

Here’s a newsflash: PG&E doesn’t want you to save energy. When we save, they raise rates saying they need the money to meet “operating costs” – their salaries, benefits and pensions.

I just had a PG&E employee apply for my empty rental. A guy who spends the day in the office, fielding complaints from ratepayers! Thank God almighty his credit was a piece of shit, because his salary was enough to float a family of five, including the mother-in-law. Yes, they pay really sweet at PG&E. And then they turn around and tell us we’re pigs if we run our washer during the day.

No, you didn’t get the latest notice, and you probably haven’t been reading those little tiny pieces of paper with the little tiny writing they slip into your bill – in 2018 we will all be forced onto “Time of Use” rates. Meaning, if you use power between 10 am and 7pm, you will pay “market rates,” or, whatever electricity is going for, by the minute. 

I got a notice from my supervisor, Maureen “Gutless” Kirk, who got it from CPUC – there will be a PG&E rate “hearing” later this month. At the same “hearing,” Cal Water will announce our new water rate increase as well. 

See, they’re not “hearing” us, they’re telling us – we’re gonna rip you off, and we’re gonna rip you off good!


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