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Mornin’ all.

Hoo-wee, that was some night. You wanna talk weird dreams… It started out with me presenting my archaeological findings to some vague university board, when all of a sudden I accidentally initiated “the 100 year protocol.”

Nope, I have no clue at all what the “100 year protocol” is. Couldn’t even begin to glean the meaning from the random cut-scenes that happened next. What’s known for sure is:

a. Whatever the “100 year protocol” is, it terrified the university board so much that they ran screaming from the conference table.

b. The artifact that started it all contained the bone of the first man to ever live, a turkey feather, and an elevator. Not a big elevator. It was a hand held artifact, so like a mouse sized elevator. Maybe even a bit smaller. Okay, say you want to elevate a cockroach, but are too lazy or grossed out to actually just pick it up. That’s about the size.

“This dream is dripping with symbolism.”

I told you it was a whopper! Back to the list…

c. My guy suddenly appeared, in a pith helmet and full on 1900’s explorer gear, telling me, “At least now you’ve got a fighting chance.” Wait, huh? I’m in danger? And what do you mean now I’ve got a fighting chance? I didn’t before?

d. And then came the banshees, only instead of being screeching harpies, they were the faces of dead relatives.

See, folks, until this point, the dream was odd, yet kinda fun. I clearly was a miner of history, and that’s an appealing idea. But then it all turned, and…

e. Each relative tried to rip the cockroach elevator from my hands, telling me I didn’t deserve it, which…

f. …turned out to make sense to my guy who decided they were right and jetted out of there with one of them…

g. …leaving me with my dad, who decided to stop screaming and harassing me, and instead put on professor type glasses and stood at a white board that suddenly appeared, explaining the mechanics behind the elevator artifact.

Long and the short, even in the after life, my pops is long-winded. What started out as an adventure quickly turned to horror, only to end up as a Ken Burns style documentary. I fell asleep in the dream.

Let’s process that for a minute. I BORED MYSELF TO SLEEP IN MY OWN DAMN DREAM. Now what the hell does that say about me?

While I still don’t know what the “100 year protocol” is, the artifact had a cool story. The basic gist is that it was an alien artifact created after they discovered that the first human had died. Apparently they had been watching the earth? I like to think they munched popcorn while doing it.

Or, you know, “flaadglep,” since the odds against them also calling exploded corn kernels “popcorn” are astronomical.

They saw the first person die, came down, and harvested the bones. The femur was believed to have special powers of longevity. The alien race seemed to be as blindly superstitious as we are. I think that’s probably legitimately how it would be. I highly doubt humans have the market cornered on ridiculousness.

No idea why there was a turkey feather. Probably just decoration. Maybe Professor Pops explained it while I was taking a nap from my nap. And of course, the elevator part had something to do with ascension, though I didn’t get an overall religious vibe from the dream, so it could have been literal ascension. Maybe I simply don’t understand enough about such a foreign ethos to pick up on religious subtext?

“And maybe you’re reading WAY too much into this.”

*shrug* Probably. Even if I am, you gotta admit, it was a weird dream. This is how a book starts, folks.

…or therapy. Could be the start of therapy.

Anyway. Moving on.

We got our electric bill the other day. Our electric company has decided to take a new path and “rebrand.”

*collective groan from the internet*

I know, right? I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels slightly nauseous at that term. “Rebrand.” The only time a company “rebrands” is when they’ve effed up enough to want to get as far away from their old, accursed name as possible.

Our electric company used to be “Public Service of New Hampshire.” They have always had a rep for being an asshole company that pretty much had the residents of NH over a barrel. Though they are supposed to be highly regulated since they are a public utility, there are many, many ways around the regulations, and all of them add up to an enormous bill.

What ways?

Well, while there is a cap on what they can charge for the actual electricity, there is little to no oversight on their “fees”. Line fees. Storm fees. Facility construction fees. Maintenance fees. Delivery fees.

…the delivery fees, those get me. You get charged not only for using the electricity, but for the privilege of having them actually give it to you as well.

To give you an example of how ridiculous the fees are, in the summer, an average bill for us will probably be around $150/month. About $60 of that is for the electricity. The rest? Tacked-on fees.

Yes, the fees cost more than the electricity.

It’s been getting utterly insane, and in the past, there was nothing to be done for it. Unless you could afford to get solar panels installed or wanted to sit on a stationary bike in your lab all day pumping the wheels for hours on end to generate enough electricity to power your blender long enough to make a smoothie, you had to bend over and take it.

Recently, though, it was ruled that NO company, not even a public service, had the right to a monopoly, and the state opened the doors for other electric companies. PSNH has been steadily losing customers since.

So what did they do? Did they take a long, hard look at their shady business practices and decide to turn over a new leaf? Pfft, hell no! Are you kidding me?? Being responsible costs money. Do you know how icky it is to make LESS money? Of course they didn’t do that! Instead, they rebranded.

They sent a notice saying that they are now “Ever Source!” How exciting. And that they’d be changing all the logos! Thrilling. And that they’d get new trucks and new meters and look at new ways of providing customers with cleaner energy! Woot. They’re green! YES, GREEN! Because we all LOVE green! And I know they decided to tell us they were going green, because they made the logo green. Whoa now.

*By the way, it may cost the consumers a wee bit to fund all these changes… But that’s okay, customers, because your extra dollars make us GREEN! Say it with us: GREEN GREEN GREEN!!

It’s stupid, and we just paid for this bullshit. The month after the announcement, there were new fees tacked on to an already disgusting bill.

Now, it’s gotten worse. We got a notice in the mail right after the bill that announced that Ever Source is now going to be providing us with an electricity usage profile. It’s separate from the bill, and will apparently come periodically. It’s a customized pamphlet, in full color, that tries to shame us about how much electricity we use.

It’s got a chart (oooh) and a GRAPH (ahhh). Charts and graphs are serious. These figures show us just how poorly we stack up against “neighbors.” Which “neighbors?” DOES IT MATTER? There’s a chart AND a graph, so it’s totally legit. DO NOT QUESTION THE CHART AND GRAPH, PEON.

It says we’re wasting electricity. It specifically shines the light of shame on us for the winter months, when we used unprecedented amounts of electricity. Boooo. Wasters.

What it did not take into account is that we’ve got electric heat and hot water. EVERY winter our usage skyrockets. It has to. I kind of want to keep my kids from freezing. In the spring, summer, and autumn, though, we cut the kilowatt hours by easily half. In fact, this year, the difference is going to be even more significant, because it was a REALLY bastardly cold winter. It took around the clock heaters to keep the house at a balmy 53 inside.

Not a joke.

Not an exaggeration.

Yet they are electricity-shaming us for keeping our family warm. They are making it seem like WE’RE the problem for using the energy THEY are producing.

Does anyone else want to punch these hypocrites in the face right now?

** editor’s note: We are not, in any way, actually saying to go punch an entire company in the face. Jeez, it was just a little hyperbole, guys. **

This company, this conglomerate of cash cravers, could have spent their money on actual ways to go green. They could have taken the millions of dollars it took to “rebrand”, and spent it on wind, solar, or hydroelectric generation. Instead, they kept their same un-green ways, and wasted the moula on a nice new dyed-green wool to pull over our eyes. AND THEN BLAMED THE USERS FOR THEIR CONTINUED UN-GREENERY.

Gets worse, too. After we were electricity-shamed, on the back page of the ridiculous full color, personalized pamphlet that WE now pay for, there are helpful tips to save energy that are anything but helpful.

One of them is to recycle your second refrigerator or freezer. They specifically say that “many” people keep a second refrigerator, and that you should consolidate and only use one. (Second refrigerator? I barely have a working FIRST refrigerator!) You can do this by calling Ever Source and letting them pick it up, free of charge. So they want you to just give them a working refrigerator. Just…give it to them. *blink*

Another tip is to set your thermostat lower. Set it for only 68 degrees. So for us, that would mean running twice as many heaters as we have now. Nice suggestion. *rolly eyes* For some of their customers, though, this would probably save a bit of money. Not us. Not most of our friends. But I’m sure someone out there hasn’t cared about the $1000 dollar monthly winter bill before they read that pamphlet.

The last tip is to buy “energy star” rated appliances. I honestly could go on about the “energy star” program that started as a good idea and morphed into a payout for ratings plan. There are plenty of independent studies out there to support the assertion that all it takes to get an “energy star” tag is enough cash. But basically, what the power company is saying is to have appliances that were built within the last 20 years. The bulk of their customers already do. Again, that makes this a useless, pointless bit of advice.

Let’s “best case” scenario this. For the sake of argument, let’s say you live in their bubble world. You have a spare fridge, and decide to give it away. For free. To a company who already has a ton of money. You also keep your house at tropical levels in the winter, because you haven’t yet minded a bazillion dollar bill every month. And to top it off, you haven’t updated your appliances since beehive hair dos were popular with people, and not in an ironic hipster way. Let’s say you are the pinnacle of idiocy and waste, and this pamphlet was your shining moment of saving grace. At best, if you did all of these tips, and you use the proposed company numbers instead of reality, the power company claims you *could* save up to $380 per year in electricity costs.

Look, there’s a lot of talk in this pamphlet. They certainly use hot button words like “green” and “responsible energy” to make you think they care. Hell, they even tell you right there how to save money and use less electricity!

…except they don’t. Not really. By their own account, if you lived in a bubble where these tips would actually save you the max alleged amount, it’s a drop in the bucket. Most customers won’t see even close to the $380/year in savings because most customers already live in this century.

If you honestly cared, Ever Source, then where are the tips on how to *actually* save electricity? It’s been proven that unplugging unused appliances (like toasters, coffee pots, computer towers, etc.) when you’re not actively using them saves lots of kilowatt hours over the course of a year. If it’s plugged in, it’s at least drawing some power, even when it’s not on. That’s why you can’t stick a butter knife in a toaster to dig out the poorly cut English muffin that got lodged against the heater coil. As long as it’s plugged in, it’s drawing energy. Period. Phones left on the charger long after they’re charged, tablets, laptops, other electrical doodads. All of them draw, even when they’re full.

I notice they also do not mention changing the simplest, easiest, legitimately savings-generating product in your house: Light bulbs.

Two years ago, we decided to give LED bulbs a try. There was a fantastic deal on them and we replaced every frequently used light bulb in the house with an LED. Our bill dropped by $38 the first month, and was even more significant in the winter when compared with the previous year’s winter usage. $38!! That’s over $450/year. That right there is one tip that’s worth more in our pocket than all of Ever Source’s other tips COMBINED.

They don’t mention these things because they really are legitimate ways to use less energy and save money. They aren’t giving us helpful tips, they’re just pretending. They don’t actually want us to use less electricity. Why would they?! If we use less power, they make less money. They just want it to *seem* like they care.

And you know what? It’s going to work. I bet the other day as I read that propaganda pamphlet and scoffed with disgust, other people were reading the same thing and smiling and nodding and feeling glad they got their power from such a responsible company. *sigh mixed with a healthy dose of grrr*

I wish I could say that the other utility options we’ve got are any better. In fact, after doing some research, while we could save on the electricity itself, we’d have to pay an additional charge that goes to Ever Source anyway for the other companies’ ability to lease the existing power lines. No matter what, Ever Source makes bank!

I need to get off the grid. I doubt I’ll be able to talk my landlords into solar or our own windmill, but I do have three teens and a hyper 9 year old. Hm.

That’s it. We only have one choice. How much do you think 4 stationary bikes will set me back?

Thus concludes a charged Muse for Thursday, April 30, 2015. I’m going to try to live with the shame of using my electric sewing machine today. It’s not even “energy star” rated. No, don’t look at me. I can’t bear the pity I see in your eyes for the deep, dark cesspool that is my blackened soul…

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