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Free Electricity – at a Price




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Deregulation of electricity providers ten years ago opened the door to consumer abuse. Smart meters on the pretext of monitoring usage more accurately are in fact snoop devices that cha ching every time you open the fridge. I know one man who tried to persuade his spouse that, at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, fresh air is good for you. She is convinced and that is exactly what he will be having for dinner all summer long.


One Texas woman had enough and is taking advantage of an energy savings plan that offers free electricity nights or weekends.  She is retired, single and lives life in reverse. Her day begins at ten o’clock in the evening. She has coffee and reads news that is no longer news. The glossy color photo in the news featured her standing beside her ironing board, smiling with iron held aloft as she prepared to do battle with starch at dark thirty. A woman who smiles while contemplating the joys of ironing is in serious need of an adult beverage. Maybe she purchases the premium brand of vodka with all the money she saves, but, when would she drink it – for breakfast?


After a quick lunch at 3:00AM she can start the washing machine. A carefully orchestrated night of chores that includes vacuuming, running the dishwasher and baking saves her big bucks. Then under the cover of darkness, she trudges off to the supermarket. The only other shoppers are singles hoping to meet someone wonderful by the artisan lettuce.  She might get lucky too. There is no waiting in line behind cranky children. She may take as long as she likes sifting through coupons, although that will probably sink her “get lucky” opportunities.


During winter, as the clock strikes ten she cranks up the heat to 90 degrees and strips down to her skivvies. She does not have to worry about her attire shocking the FedEx or UPS delivery person.  The house retains its toasty temp and as daylight arrives and the meter starts running again she turns off the heat and goes to bed. Her day has ended. I’m guessing with the 100 plus heat in the summer, she puts on a hat and coat and turns the AC down to sub freezing.


She could have opted to have free electricity on weekends, but after a week of living life with the sleeping habits of a possum, she needs a break.


I think it is far more exciting to avoid long term contracts and change providers as soon as the promotion expires.  It throws them off their game and after ten years of electricity utility deregulation; I’ve learned to ignore the customer service rep’s tacky comments when I switch.



Categories: Biased, Unbalanced and Politically Incorrect

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JoAnn Williams

I am a lifelong Southerner, short story author, and essayist. Home is Dallas, Texas.
My essays have appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Writing.

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