Power Struggle - Keeping Track - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/08/07 - Lufkin

Power Struggle - Keeping Track

by Donna McCollum

Skyrocketing electricity costs have created a new routine for Jim Moore of Lufkin.  "Every morning I would write down a reading and then every evening I would write down a reading and compare and see what usage was," said Moore. Moore compared his notes with bills he had saved over years before the new meter was installed. The 'Doubting Thomas' was fully expecting to catch the power company in a big mistake, but he didn't. Moore said,  " I determined the meter reading that I got on my next bill matched up with what I had been writing down. Knowing that, then the next step was, Well, I'm going to have to do something. The bills are a lot higher."

So Moore went to work. First, the lights went off. He didn't stop there. Past record keeping showed exactly what appliance was making the meter run. When it's wash day Moore uses the short cycle and then pulls the load from the dryer while clothes are still damp. Moore knows, " If you want to cut back, you got to identify what's making it go up." So the heater/air conditioning unit is used to a minimum.

Jim is now convinced that he is paying the correct rate, but he's still concerned about summer usage, so he plans to install ceiling fans throughout the house.   Cooking habits haven't changed for this secret chef, but the microwave is used whenever possible.  

Jim may sit in the dark, but he's not in the dark when it comes to conserving, even if it means all these lifestyle changes. He laughed,  " Well, I don't like it,  but I have to do something because everything is going up."

What the frugal individual does enjoy is a much lower electricity bill. Jim proudly said,  " Yeah, I got the last bill down to $40." A later bill was only $7 after a credit refund.

The sacrifices paid off, yet a sleuthing consumer is still puzzled over those old meters. Moore sighed,  " I find it hard to believe that that many meters would have been left that long if they weren't reading correctly." There's no way of proving suspicions, so Jim has resorted to conservation.

A TXU spokesman says the company's meters, old and new are accurate. All companies ask that customers use conservation methods. For some conservation tips go to http://www.puc.state.tx.us/ocp/conserve/constips.cfm  

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