Just last week, I was called an “Energy Whore” by my beloved public utility company: Puget Sound Energy (PSE). Puget Sound Energy likes to mail out a 3 month Home Energy usage report (which is separate from my bill) that ranks my household’s energy use compared to other similar homes in the area. It ranks efficient neighbors, all neighbors, and then us: energy whores. It says we use 31% more energy than our neighbors. It also gives us a 12 month Neighbor Comparison where it tells me that we use 54% more electricity than our neighbors and 5% more natural gas than our neighbors in colorful graphs that clearly demonstrate that we are energy whores.
On the top of the report it says “You used 100% more energy than your neighbors.” Ouch!
Overall, it is a quite depressing little piece of mail.
How can we be this way? We turn off our lights at night and have CFB lights everywhere. We have an automatic thermostat that turns down the temperature in our home when we aren’t around. Sure, we have three flat screen TV’s (which I thought were pretty efficient) and other numerous electronic devices like any other average American home in the Pacific Northwest but we use 100% more energy than our neighbors? We have one A/C unit (which is a blessing in the few hot days we have in Seattle). We don’t have central air or a heat pump running 24 hours a day. We don’t use our sauna except for maybe once or twice a year. The hot tub is broken so that isn’t sucking energy. How are we using 100% more electricity than our neighbors? We have a natural gas furnace and a gas fireplace and we only are 5% more usage than our neighbors (in regards to natural gas).
I’m guessing my second fridge and my chest freezer are skewing the numbers. Probably my swimming pool pump and my fish pond pump running 24/7 doesn’t help matters either. I also work from home so my computer is on all the time. My house isn’t huge but it is larger than the “average” 1936 sq. ft. house they use. So I have some valid reasons why I’m an energy whore.
Then the report goes on to make you feel even worse. Once you flip over the Home Energy Usage Report, you see on the second page your “Neighbor Efficiency Rank”. Mine says my rank is declining. It’s not getting better or staying the same; it’s declining. It says my rank is #98 out of 100 neighbors. #1 is the most efficient so basically, I’m an energy whore that is sucks up energy like no tomorrow. No one likes to be called a loser and an energy whore. Nobody.
What is one to do with this information? My solution is to run long power cords from my six neighbors and use their power to help my numbers. I figure that with the winter months coming, they won’t be going outside much and they won’t notice long power cords running from their house to my house. You can buy green and brown power cords so it should be fairly easy to camouflage the power cords.
Clearly, by spreading my whorish energy usage over six other houses is better than me being burden with the guilt of being an energy whore. A little bump in their electric bills won’t be noticeable. Ah, free power…here I come!
Disclaimer: Of course, I’m not really going to run power cords from my neighbors’ houses to my houses. Just another worthless advice blog idea. But what if….