Monday, 21 December 2009

Me: Power Guzzler

This is hardly fair, but neither are any of the alternatives: "Power guzzlers face higher electricity tariff."  As the article reports and Kate Doust points out, it's not necessarily the high-income households that will be classed as "power guzzlers."  What sort of a fucked up term is that, anyway?

I'm a low income household.  I'm on a disability pension because I have emphysema.  Let's examine my household for a minute shall we?

I live in a "second house," a cottage on a large block south of Perth.  That was for various reasons, one it's cheaper than being in a caravan park by about $20 / week, two it's a fixed home so I can kind of qualify for things that a person in a caravan or motorhome paradoxically can't, three it's away from the city and the pollution so I can breathe a lot easier.

The cottage is nowhere near a gas main so it's all electric, the hot water system, the oven, the stove, the fridge, and an air conditioner so that I can at least drop the temperature and reduce the humidity inside so I can breathe without distress.  There is no insulation as it's an original beach shack of a cottage, meant only for holiday use originally I suppose.  I know there are government insulation rebates but they are for the landlord to apply for, not me.  And in this type of construction would be difficult to install anyway, and be of limited effect.  That means the a/c (when it's working - right now I need to get it repaired and can't afford to do so.) is pushing shit uphill all day and half the average night, sucking down electricity like I have a bottomless wallet.

And I get a pension, remember?  Lowest income in Australia bar none, still officially below the poverty line.

My fridge was a hand-me-down I was given because it "makes our meter jump off the wall" when it's operating.  I can't afford a new one no matter what.

I like to cook but I have the choice of using up several units per hour cooking, or else spring for a gas regulator and small gas cooker off my own bat - again, not gonna happen unless I win Lotto.

So I'm in just one possible situation where I'd be consider "power-guzzling" but in reality if I didn't, I might as well go back to living in a tent.

Just one more way that the government is here to serve me....


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