Power and Light

I have a new item on my to-do list: Figure out whether we should stick with our current (no pun intended) electricity supplier, or find a more competitive source. This is important, because the rates are jumping on January 1, and we rely on electricity to power our heat pumps, which I rely on to stay warm and keep my Raynaud’s in check.

We switched over to the pumps from oil heat a couple of years ago, in an effort to make our home more energy efficient. We’ve certainly saved a lot on oil (only use one tankful a year, now), but I have to be very careful how I use the heat pumps, to manage our electric bill. There’s a pump in each room, which allows for customized, zoned heat. I try to limit which pumps are on according to where I am in the house during the course of the day.

For the most part, the heat pumps work well, but when the temperature drops below about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, we have to revert to a mix of oil and baseboard electric heat. Also, there have been days already when it’s just been so windy and cold that I’ve turned on the baseboard heat (less efficient, supposedly) in my little office and the kitchen, because it feels more even.

So, Sunday night I began sorting through all the potential options and learning about kilowatt hour charges for electric supply, plus distribution charges and more. It’s a lot to tackle, and we need to figure it out before January 1, when the rates jump.

There are many other things I would rather be doing right now than a cost-benefit analysis of our electrical supply options.

On the other hand, I’m glad we at least have options and aren’t necessarily stuck with a big rate hike. And I’m very grateful to have the means to keep our home warm enough for my body, with my broken internal thermostat, and a husband who doesn’t mind the added expense.

It’s just a cost of living with scleroderma in New England.

My quest for more cost-efficient power comes as we begin the festival of Hanukkah. We light the first candle this evening. I look forward to this holiday every year, because it always falls near the Winter Solstice. So with each candle that we light for the eight days of the festival, we’re getting closer to the point when the days will start getting longer again. Just knowing there will be more sunlight soon always gives me a boost, despite the cold temperatures outside (and higher energy bills, whatever the source).

When you light Hanukkah candles, you’re not supposed to use them to illuminate a room or as a source of light for work. You’re just supposed place the hanukkiah, an eight-branched candelabra, in a window, where the flickering candles can be seen from the street—silently, peacefully conveying their profound message of religious freedom and liberation from oppression.

Power and light come in many forms. On Hanukkah, both are free.

Happy holidays.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

Photo Credit: ** RCB ** via Compfight cc


  1. Pat Bizzell says:

    I love how you connect the electric supply issue with the power and light of Chanukah in this post, Ev. Plus I appreciate the wake-up call about researching our own electricity options. Have a joyous holiday!

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