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August 11, 2011

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Bask away CC. I'm kind of basking too...at least over the last couple of days. We're having some very comfortable 70's weather right now; but I don't know how long it will last...or when another unpredictable storm may happen, so I'm not about to get smug. My electric bill was higher over the last month than it had been. Of course, I had a houseful of people and ran my air conditioners constantly trying to keep us all alive in that miserable heat. I'm hoping things will tone down for a while now....for ALL of us. ~Joy xo

I don't know how some people pay utility bills when they double. Mine was over twice the previous month and I moved the thermostat up 2 degrees. I hope it helps this month. This has been the worst summer I can remember because we have had high humidity for about a month. That is very rare here and, to me, it's another symptom of the changing climate.

I'd been hearing about all the really high temps you, Joy, and my family in locales along the way, clear to the east coast have been having -- too much humidity for many. Glad you're cooling and getting rain.

When we installed then high energy efficient A/C (from no a/c) and added a new energy efficient furnace, our electric/gas bill remained the same as only the old gas furnace had cost. Yes, the new units purchase price was more than if we had installed regular units, but very cost effective and well worth it immediately and over the long haul.

Our water rates are tiered, too. After several drought-like years, as this year had been expected to be, too, we've been amazed to have rain beginning last year, snow in the mountains, beyond what was considered our normal amount. Our city was on the verge of buying our water system due to the unaccountable higher rates our city is perpetually charged when all the economic problems beginning with the first Wall St. breakdown occurred. Too bad, 'cause the water company has a monopolistic racket going.

I've replaced grass in my parkway, capped those sprinklers, which is a small part of all the grass I have, so it makes only a slight difference in water usage I expect -- I've not compared current with previous bills because of the significantly different weather factor between years.

Joy--Thank you and I'm glad that you are enjoying the weather change.

Darlene--I'm with you in not understanding how some people can manage the high bills. In truth, the answer is that many people just cannot manage them. I'm just wondering how in the world the pioneers who settled these states stood the weather. Yes...it's been hot; but, other years have been hotter. I suspect that some of the years during the westward movement were just as bad as what we've been going through. I know that 1936 was a banner year for heat in Kansas - and my parents had a small baby with whom to contend. They moved back to Missouri before the baby, my Elder Brother, reached his first birthday.

Joared--I'm not sure that buying the utility is always a great deal. Our small town (about 22,000) bought the local water company about 10 years ago. Fortunately, we were able to retain the management/work team; but, I don't think that our City Council really knew what they were doing. Shortly thereafter, we started buying water from Wichita - an inevitable event since our wells were becoming more and more contaminated as the water table subsided due to over-pumping.

When I worked at Edwards AFB in the mid-1980s, I worked for a few months on airbase planning (quite a change-up for an airplane person!) I learned that the water table there had subsided 200 feet. I no longer recall over what period of time that had been; but, it could not have been more than 30 or 40 years. Their wells were becoming unusable due to the concentration of naturally occurring arsenic - I think that about 20% of their wells had already been taken offline.

If we don't get our population and pollution under control, the Earth will survive; but, we humans will be in deep(er) yogurt! (Well, I won't be around to care....)

I understand what you're saying about the water situation. We heard similar stories in an effort to quell the city purchase movement. Our cities many wells are in no danger of being polluted as we've prevented business/residential/corporate plans to convert the environment in areas that could adversely affect our water. Our city has always provided a very large quantity of water, significantly exceeding anything any of the other communities provide, and yet we pay much much more than all others.

No one, including experts have ever been able to decipher the facts and language the water company uses to explain why this is. How they continue to get away with it is beyond understanding. I've talked with them. In addition to others queries, I've asked for and received face-to-face a layman's explanation, read their written material and they fail miserably in common sense justification. They employed scare tactics, including upkeep issues, but the same people who provide the services they offer were known to be more than willing (maybe anxious) to transfer their allegiance to city ownership and operation, since they, too, are city residents. (Probably know what they'd be leaving.) Additionally, for a long time one of the primary company officials was involved in protracted questionable practices, to politely phrase it.

Water additionally comes from snow melting on the mountain just above us with a reservoir in between. This is in addition to natural ground water. There's no risk of man-made pollution interference on the mountain or down to our city due to designated nat'l park status, also land our city has specifically purchased, and more. The source of what little extra water we've needed is of greater concern -- Colorado River.

I think those who've wanted to make this purchase were correct in doing so. I only wish they had moved ahead much more rapidly many years ago,(not realizing the financial crisis to come some twenty years or so later) when there was talk of purchasing the water company. The community was a bit too lax on the topic then, thinking maybe in another year or so.

We fully expected our water costs would not change immediately with all the adjustments after purchase. I was willing to accept that cost even if it meant, given my age, I might not reap the benefits, but others to come would in so many ways -- given that I believe water today is the oil, in terms of demand, of tomorrow. This was a foresighted investment in the future from my point of view.

I am so glad that I've never had air conditioning since living on my own - even when we lived in KS - even when I lived in a 3rd floor appartment.

I don't even use air conditioning in the vehicles unless it is raining and I can't have the windows open. I'm just not a fan of being cold (which I am if the AC is on - I use a space heater at work and wear layers).

In NH it doesn't get nearly as warm, or for the length of time, but people here still P&M about the heat.

Joared--Each situation is different and, undoubtedly, you are correct about your own city's.

Unfortunately, now that we are on Wichita water (they pump very little water from wells - mostly from lake/river water) we are more in danger of man-made pollution than we were from our small town's wells. Our well pollution was, as Edwards AFB's wells', naturally occurring. The lake from which Wichita draws is subject to pollution from fertilizer runoff (as is the river) and pollution from industrial/oil sources. Our water was much cheaper from our town wells; but, they did not allow for population growth. (Too bad we can't keep that down!)

Bogie--It is wonderful that you have always been able to adjust. You gotta be tough!

I was very surprised when visiting friends and relatives in Bend, Oregon and Boise, Idaho that they used so much water and air conditioning and even at their rather modest rates compared to what we pay here in Hawaii for electricity were seeing those triple digit monthly bills. As I have mentioned more than once, we have solar hot water and electricity.Our salubrious climate allows us to get by with no heat and no air conditioning (aside from window A.C.s that we installed and no longer need, thanks to trees we have planted around the house providing us with ample shade.) As to water, we get 120 inches a year so never water the yard. Our rain comes in tropical showers and we get a lot of sun, too, so things grow like crazy. No time off from yard work, but you should see our lawn!
It occurs to me that people are having to cut down on many things just to pay huge energy bills. That is too bad.

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