When certain costs get out of hand you have to take them in hand.


I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more. Electricity bills. I’m mad that the sector has been poorly managed nationally and there’s still so little effort devoted to alternative sources.


I’m mad that time-of-use billing discriminates against stay-at-home parents, the disabled, the elderly and shift workers.


Last week the news was full of predictions about energy bills rising by double digits over the next few years nationally.

It’s time to get even.

I’m never going to be the poster girl for electricity conservation. My husband and I both work and live in a rambling, leaky 160-year-old stone farmhouse. No mind! Here’s how we tackled our consumption, determined to cut $150 monthly.

1. One wheezy beer fridge. Gone. And it was hauled away gratis.

2. Lights! Camera! Inaction! Lights off, natch, but we went after power bars, the satellite receiver and everything with a standby setting.

3. Bulbs. Compact fluorescent throughout except where we need better illumination for reading.

4. Windows and doors. We replaced ancient windows and caulked like crazy.
The expense was offset to a degree by grants and last year’s reno tax credit. We also installed storm doors.

5. Hot and Cold. We set the air conditioner higher and heat lower.

6. Furnace. We installed a device ($7 monthly rental) which maximizes burn rate and fan time.

7. Just dry me. The dryer is the biggie. It’s a matter of pride that we only use it for emergencies.
Voilà! $150 saved monthly=$23,636 over 10 years at a 5 per cent rate of return.