Is Your West Texas Electric Bill Shocking? What’s Going On?
My latest electric bill was a shock.
I know we're having a heatwave. I know we've had more consecutive days above 100 than at any time in history. I know all that. I expected my electric bill to be higher. I did not expect the surprise I got in the mail. How ironic when I opened the bill, I thought I was going to need the paddles. You know, the jolt of electricity that shocks your heart back into rhythm.
Unfortunately, I probably couldn't have afforded it.
My worst electric bill before this month was $257. This month, it is over $500. I was about to interrogate everyone in the house. What ARE YOU DOING? I turned into my dad in a matter of seconds.
"Turn off that light". I probably say it a dozen times an hour. Turn up the thermostat. I hear that Kaching cash register sound effect whenever the air conditioner kicks on. My family tells me I'm the only one who hears it. Perhaps, it's because I am the one who pays the bill. I am the one who USUALLY pays the bill. I don't know who is going to pay THIS BILL.
I have two questions. 1) Why is this happening and 2) Who is going to do something about it? If somebody doesn't, I think there will be a lot of new faces in government next year.
The answer to question #1 has two parts. The first part is that the heatwave means we're using more electricity to keep from smothering from the heat. The second part is the price per kilowatt hour of electricity is up an average of 70% in the state. My price per kilowatt hour in March was 15 cents. This month it is 32 cents.
The cost of electricity is directly related to the price of natural gas. The gas we're importing now is twice as expensive as it was before the war in the Ukraine. I get that. I also get that there are flares of gas idly burning off oil wells all over Texas. That gas is being wasted. Why doesn't somebody use THAT gas to lower our bills?
Do I sound mad. I don't mean to sound mad. Ok. I AM mad. I thought when groceries were going up 10% a month that was bad. When gasoline hit nearly $5 a gallon, I thought that was bad. I never expected THIS.
The second part of my question is who is going to do something about these electricity bills? That answer is going to be a lot harder to find. I am not the only who one needs help. Think about the elderly on fixed incomes. My 81-year old mom is suffering and putting her health at risk trying to decide if she's going to afford food or avoid heat stroke.
This is America. This is TEXAS. We have to do better. That's just my opinion and I admit my opinion might be a little distorted right now because I've got sweat in my eyes. I think I'm going to find an umbrella for my air conditioner compressor.
I know I wrote an article last month about that not really helping, but at least I will feel like I'm doing something.