It is important to develop new interests in life. New grudges are fun too. I harbor one against the ubiquitous “we”.
or in a recent article by a columnist who presumes to speak for the women of Ireland – not in this newspaper – I counted 31 ‘we’.
The we wasn’t me and I can’t take it anymore.
So this column is about my strategy for reducing electricity bills. Only mine.
Of course, writing about personal experiences, I have often found that some turn out to be divided. But like cookies, readers can opt-out of relatable content. You are not me or us.
One more point before I get to the electric shower drama; Sean Fleming. He was attacked for advising people to look into electricity suppliers.
All media are commercializing consumer advice focused on the benefits of switching energy suppliers, insurance companies and grocers. Yet when a politician does that, they are accused of being Marie Antoinette. It’s silly and hypocritical.
There are some problems that the government can solve and others that it cannot. Ireland is one of the most indebted countries in the world, made possible by low and even negative interest rates, but that era may well be over.
Borrowing to protect every citizen, whatever their means, against global shocks is priceless.
What government can and should do is develop alternative and renewable energy sources and target support to those who need it most. There are many people who are constantly worrying about the electricity bill and have no scope to save. But there are many who can endure the adjustment without difficulty.
Developing targeted support is difficult, such as the proposal to increase fuel allowance eligibility. But it’s worth it, because universal payments like the €200 off electricity bill, while temptingly cheap and quick to make, are quickly forgotten and delay changes in energy-saving behavior.
Ultimately, my electric bill depends on me cracking the whip at home.
I’ve been getting power lazy, especially during lockdown, and it’s time to be ruthless. It was like the years of the bailout when I looked out at the field and wondered if anyone remembered how to grow potatoes.
desperate times; desperate measures.
Anyway, that’s why I took off the head of the electric shower. From now on, if someone wants to use the most expensive device in the house, they have to provide me with a business case.
The reaction reminded me of the time my mother drove off with the TV in the trunk of the car to prevent idleness.
At the time I thought she was crazy and we were the unhappiest kids in Ireland. Of course she was right about everything – although I often wonder what we were supposed to be watching since we only had RTÉ.
So I don’t mind if teenagers accuse me of hysteria when they discover I’ve tampered with the wires. In fact, the howls of indignation from the bathroom filled me with a perverse form of pride.
As environmentalists will tell you, people need to be forced to behave better.
Hot water rationing is a crisis measure, but not one that will harm our home.
Devices that require heat are hardest on electricity. The faster it heats up, the more energy is required. An electric shower uses so much electricity that the application form for a first connection asks if there is an electric shower in the house and if there is more than one because it requires a special connection.
So I’m not ashamed to ask two questions.
Firstly, isn’t there already hot water in the storage tank because the heating was turned on generously earlier? Use the normal shower.
Second, do you even need a shower? I’m all for hygiene and don’t want smelly boys around me, but this goal can be achieved in a more economical way.
Back when I was a girl and went barefoot to school and all that, there was no hot water unless you made a fire or used the dreaded immersion in a dire emergency. Thus a daily washing was accomplished by what some called the bird bath.
You stood at the sink with some hot water and washed with soap and a rag. It was quick, economical and perfectly adequate.
I still do this every other day without feeling that the government is denying my human rights. It is frugality, not deprivation. It is important to distinguish between the two.
Naturally, my aggressive strategy of cutting back on expensive showers was met with horror. But a world with instant hot water for everyone is unsustainable and I make no apologies for it.
There are many things in life that I cannot control, but I can recalibrate my children’s expectations of what constitutes a normal use of the world’s resources and our income.
One final note: Ordinary readers may remember my failed experiment with a night knife. You will be charged a higher daily rate in exchange for lower nightly rates. Between the lack of discipline needed to consistently do laundry at night and the higher daily fee, my bills went up rather than down. But while installing the meter was free, removing it costs €200. So I invest the €200 from the electricity bill to pay for the distance. Don’t walk this trail unless you have an electric car to charge or storage heater.
“We” all make mistakes, but you can learn from mine.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/if-anyone-wants-to-use-the-electric-shower-in-my-house-they-will-have-to-present-a-business-case-to-me-41512639.html “If someone wants to use the electric shower in my house, they have to provide me with a business case.”