Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Our electricity prices are about

to rise again. Nobody will be surprised by this. We all expected it. We will soon be paying more than anyone else in the world for electricity. That will come as no surprise either.
The state government had to privatise the electricity supply some years ago. This was done to pay off the debt incurred by the mismanagement and subsequent collapse of the state's bank. Of course the previous government, which had incurred that debt, now blames the sale of the electricity supply. It is, of course, more complex than that.
When I was a child however electricity supply was an even more complex thing. After I was born I was taken home to a house on top of a hill. It was little more than a tin shed - the only housing available in a small rural township. The power was supplied by the wind. If there was sufficient wind then the windmill turned and you had a power supply of sorts. Nowadays the same location has a regular power supply.
We moved into the township and had 240v. We moved to the city and had 240v. We moved to the country and we had nothing at all for six months. Then, great excitement, they put in a 32v power plant. My father was initiated into the intricacies of running this. My mother invested in a 32v iron after having used flat irons heated on the top of woodburning stove to do the ironing. We had power to read by at night. It was not the best supply in the world. It could dim quite suddenly when the batteries decided to take a rest - something they seemed to do quite frequently.
We kept moving backwards and forwards between 32v and 240v systems. As children we knew to turn off the light when we left the room. My father had a battery operated radio - used for listening to the news - and we were permitted to listen to the Children's Hour. That was it. More than that would have cost more batteries. Our hot water was heated through pipes at the back of the woodburning stove or the "chip heater" in the bathroom. Precious electricity was not wasted on that! The small refrigerator used "kerosene". The house was minimally heated in winter by a second wood burning "slow combustion" stove in the living area
We really used very little electricity.
Now we have a refrigerator and a freezer powered by electricity. The oven, when I use it, is an electric oven. There is the microwave oven and that uses electricity. We have a television set which gets minimal use but yes, it uses electricity.
There are clocks and the computer. As I work via computer perhaps I can justify that?  My father has a workshop with power tools.
We put in solar panels on the roof. It was part of a government scheme which may, or may not, prove viable. My brother-in-law did the calculations and said it would be worth the investment. He considers these things very carefully. We just have to trust his judgment.
We do seem to use more electricity than we once did. It is convenient being able to flick a switch rather than chop wood.  It is pleasant to have the supply flowing steadily rather than intermittently.  It is really good being able to keep things in a refrigerator that works well.  I appreciate all that.
I just have to learn to pay for the privilege.

1 comment:

the fly in the web said...

Here in Costa Rica the price of electricity rises inexorably - mostly because they use oil to generate it.

Nicaragua next door is heading for full sustainability from geothermal sources....

I wonder when this country will wake up...