I’ve gotten in the habit of posting my electric bills. Today I got my first bill for 2022.
Last year my record low was $1.40 (plus fixed costs I can’t do much about). I’m switching this year to writing kWh instead of dollars since it’s the more basic unit. Low numbers generally mean more happiness, health, and freedom. Environmentalists who pollute a lot like to spout that individual actions don’t matter, but they’re less happy, healthy, and free. I hope some day they’ll join us who believe leadership matters that living by one’s values helps more than telling people to do what you don’t. Be happy now!
I value sharing electric bills since I can’t hide power use and hence pollution from it. It includes all electric everything, including the fridge, microwave, pressure cooker, toaster, the computer I’m typing on, phone, lights, . . . everything. I have a gas stove, but I don’t think I’ve ever used it, despite preparing nearly every meal.
Here are my results from last year, I used 2.5% the average American’s electric power last month. I also tracked what I spent on food for a year: I spend less than the average American on food, buying almost nothing they do. The category I spent the most on: dried beans.
Here’s an episode on unplugging things like my fridge:
I can’t believe people have bills into hundreds of dollars. They may have missed that our pollution is lowering Earth’s ability to sustain life, including human. I pay through a company that sends my money to so-called renewable sources, but 1) wind and solar (and nuclear) depend on fossil fuels so aren’t renewable and 2) all home power comes from the same grid so any demand still pollutes. The bigger issue is that most power use distracts from a better life, though if you let it addict you, you lose sight of what brings joy, fun, freedom, community, connection, meaning, purpose, health, longevity, abundance, equality, access, and helps the vulnerable. I’ve never seen an episode of Game of Thrones and suspect my life is better for it. I was probably busy outdoors, doing bodyweight exercises or with the kettlebells and rowing machine I bought used from Craigslist, reading, writing, chopping vegetables, or the like.
I can’t stop that most people respond with rationalizations like “oh, you can do it because” . . . followed by some claim that I’m special and able to do what they can’t or they’re special and can’t do what I can, except that that’s the addiction speaking. I thought that way until I acted too. I had to learn, as you will if you think you can’t, but you can.
I will grant that my home power use doesn’t include using the washing machine in the basement, but I line dry, so don’t use the dryer. I should probably do the laundry more than I do, between one and two loads a month. I don’t think I’ve used the building’s elevator in at least a year, including when I brought my seventy-pound kettlebell home, nor when I go to the roof, which is eleven flights up.
January: 18 kWh ($1.73 + fixed costs)
February: 15 kWh ($1.44 + fixed costs)
March: 10 kWh ($0.96 + fixed costs)—My record low pollution
This month set a record low at only 10 kWh, or less than one dollar on supply charges. I don’t remember what I did this month to keep it so low, or rather what I didn’t do.
One decrease not due to me: I notice this bill includes 29 days. The past two months included 30 and 31 days, so roughly 5 percent of the decrease comes from fewer days, but 10 kWh differs from 15 or 18 kWh by 33 to 44 percent.
One increase: April 5th and 6th, I hosted friends for dinner, as well as another friend earlier in the month, and I believe the pressure cooker consumes the most power, so there are an extra six meals, which would increase my power consumption and pollution.
I haven’t turned on my heat, air conditioning, or fridge. I used the toaster once or twice.
I conclude what must have done it: I used the battery charged by the solar panels once or twice.
April: 11 kWh ($1.06 + fixed costs)
Ten percent higher than last month but my second lowest hurting other people through unnecessary pollution.
May: A new record: 5 kWh ($0.62 + fixed costs)
I’m in the middle of trying my first month disconnected from the electric grid. I started that month on May 22, so it only half affected my most recent bill: May 6 to June 7.
My average so far this year: 11.8 kWh per month ($1.162 per month + fixed costs)
June: Zero: 0 kWh ($0.00 + fixed costs)
Zero speaks for itself. You can’t fake it.
My average so far this year: 10.11 kWh per month (99.6 cents per month + fixed costs)
July: Zero: 0 kWh ($0.00 + fixed costs)
Last month wasn’t a fluke. You can kick your addiction, if not to all pollution yet, at least to many of your most polluting activities. Find them and drop them. Try unplugging your TV to prepare you for unplugging your fridge. Learn to expect joy and freedom, despite what advertising tells you.
My average so far this year: 8.66 kWh per month (85.4 cents per month + fixed costs)
August: Zero: 0 kWh ($0.00 + fixed costs)
More freedom: a third month without triggering the grid to burn more fossil fuels from my apartment.
My average so far this year: 7.58 kWh per month (74.7 cents per month + fixed costs)
September: Zero: 0 kWh ($0.00 + fixed costs)
More freedom: a fourth month without triggering the grid to burn more fossil fuels from my apartment.
My average so far this year: 6.56 kWh per month (64.5 cents per month + fixed costs)
October: Zero: 0 kWh ($0.00 + fixed costs)
More freedom: a fifth month without triggering the grid to burn more fossil fuels from my apartment.
My average so far this year: 5.9 kWh per month (58.1 cents per month + fixed costs)
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