Comes a new electric bill in the mail. You may recall that last month I had another kitten because the revered Salt River Project presented a bill that was $37 higher than the June 2008 bill, when (all things being equal) last winter’s 3 percent rate hike should have delivered a $13 increase. Two factors could have had to do with this: a new programmable thermostat and a new chest freezer, which resided in the ovenlike garage.
The thermostat had been set to 80 degrees during the day and 76 at night. After perusing June’s $158 bill, I decided to reset the thermostat to 82 during the day, leaving it at 76 for sleeping. And I put Gerardo the Lawn Dude up to moving the freezer inside the house.
This month’s bill, at $165.78, came in $36 under the July 2008 bill of $201.92! Hallelujah!
I still don’t know which circumstance drove up the May bill—fricasseed freezer or programmable thermostat. Probably it was a bit of both.
June was fairly mild: only a couple of 110-degree days. July is the cruelest month here. This weekend we’re supposed to see temperatures of 114 to 116. That’s fairly typical. So, the bill that arrives in August covers the hottest period of the year. Last August’s bill was $229.54.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Tuesday I reprogrammed the thermostat to run at 82 degrees from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (about when I just can’t stand it another minute); then drop to 78 degrees between 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.; and then to bring the temp down to 76 degrees between 10:00 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., the period when I usually start trying to get to sleep. After I should be asleep, then the temperature goes back up to 78.
Chances that I’ll actually sleep through a 78-degree night, of course, are nil. This morning I was up at 4:30, feeling just slightly too damn hot. But what the heck. If a miracle happens and I manage to drop off around 10, that’s 6 1/2 hours, bordering on adequate.
If this scheme keeps the August bill under about $225, I’ll be happy. SRP is going to raise rates again in November, so any cuts I can make now will just keep my head above water next summer. After that? Well…after “retirement,” move to Prescott, I guess, where temperatures are milder.