Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bend over

We Peorians have been hearing about a humongous electric rate hike here in Central Illinois for a few months now. Our utility provider, Ameren and/or Commonwealth Edison says to expect a 40 to 55% rate increase in January.

40 to 55% means 55%. Anyone that thinks otherwise is stupid. The bastards'll ratchet it up just as high as they think they can possibly take it.

'Course, this being an election year, all (well...some) of the politicians are using the promise of a rate freeze to hustle votes. Yea, right. Maybe when hell freezes over. (Pun very much intended.) These power companies make big donations to campaign funds.

And, of course, the electric company is running scared. They're saying that a lot of their "charitable donations" will end if a rate freeze does happen.

Big. Fuckin. Deal.

In my humble opinion, keeping an elderly woman who lives on 500 bucks a month warm this winter is a pretty nice "charitable donation". Or keeping a struggling family's lights on might be considered "charitable". Charity begins at home, you assholes. Not on a college campus, nice as that might be.

But keeping an elderly woman from freezing to death just doesn't garner as much publicity as paying for 10 student's tuition to ICC, does it?

Oh, but Ameren's website has just loads of wonderful tips about how to conserve energy. "Loads" is right. Loads of shit. But one of our local columnists said it best today. I'll reprint it here because it's worth reading and because the PJStar only keeps stuff archived online for a week.

Oh, and btw...has anyone seen a recent commercial by something called "CORE"-something-or-other? It has all kinds of dire predictions and about blackouts due to rate freezes. Isn't that just peachy? Let's scare all the elderly into paying for their heat instead of their heart medication.

Anywho, go read Phil's column.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Quit griping about the soon-to-skyrocket electricity rates.
Ameren is there for you.

Don't be like me. I was one of the whiny hand-wringers crabbing about the impending 55 percent power hike.

But as my wallet worries turned to Ameren anger, I saw the light. I took the sage advice of Ameren and checked out its Web site for energy-saving tips.

Soon, I realized my problem wasn't with Ameren being a money-grubbing monopoly. My problem was with my being an energy-ignorant boob.

That's right. I just hadn't understood how simply I can save gobs of money. And I bet you're just as naive as I was.

Just go to ameren.com for eye-opening pearls of wisdom:

- "Simply dressing in layers and keeping a throw near the sofa or easy chair to use when watching TV are basic tips for enjoying your home's heating comfort at a slightly lower temperature."

Hmm. I can't wait to unwind at the end of the day, splayed in front of the boob tube, while comfortably entombed in a parka, scarf, knit cap, mittens and snow boots.

- "When entertaining in your home, turn down the thermostat a degree or two before your guests arrive. The additional body heat will make up the difference."

Gosh, all along I'd thought that as a host I was supposed to make visitors feel comfy and toasty. Silly me.

But the idea sounds promising. If a few guests raise the temperature a few degrees, then a lot of guests will create a heat wave, right? So, for your next dinner party, don't just invite your friends, but have them bring along their kids, cousins, old Army buddies, their dogs, Willie York - the more the merrier, and warmer.

Better yet, maybe they'd stay overnight. Sleep chameleon-style, stacked atop each other, to share precious body heat.

- "To clean your thermostat, gently blow out any dust or lint."

Wow. Expect a financial windfall with this one. I bet that blowing off excess lint is akin to winning the lottery.

- "Make sure drapes or furniture does not block the air vents or returns."

Wait a minute: You're telling me that hot and cold air doesn't pass through solid objects? Man, I should've paid better attention in my high school physics classes. I guess I'd better drag those filing cabinets off of all my vents.

If those tips alone won't put you on Easy Street, you can go a step further and check out the Web page's Energy Savings Tool Kit. You have to register, and it's only available to Ameren customers.

Why? I bet it's because Ameren thinks that only its valued customers are deserving of such cutting-edge, high-tech tips. I was especially amazed by suggestions for summer months on how to stay cool without using air conditioning:

- "Stay out of direct sunlight."

The sun makes you hot? Go figure.

- "Take cool baths."

That sounds refreshing. Now all I have to do is think of a way to sleep in my water-filled bathtub yet avoid that pesky risk of drowning.

- "Avoid hot foods."

Ah, I see. I'd always wondered why it's warm in Mexico.

Anyway, as you can see, Ameren is helping to make our lives worry-free. You don't have to let the rate hike get you all hot and bothered - unless, of course, that's the only way you can afford to keep warm this winter.


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