Consumers know when they’re being sold a load-of-goods and the all out push to buy this or that product to help the environment now looks like a profit angle being overplayed. One cannot watch a game-show or sitcom without being guilted by marketing pitches.
And nowhere is this more exhaustive than in utility company commercials and so-called PSA’s. Here in Tampa Bay, we’re constantly being told by Swiftmud (the Southwest Florida Water Management District), Progress Energy and TECO (Tampa Electric Company) how we as consumers can save, save, save using their handy tips. Of course, these tips are not unlike those shown all over the United States, most of which are centered on the supposedly environmentally friendly compact fluorescent light bulb.
A typical utility’s commercial advises listeners to set their home thermostat to 78F and elaborates, “…every degree above 78 saves up to 10% on your energy bill!” By that logic, all one would have to do is set their thermostat to 88F and save 100%. There are other clever little tricks given like taking shorter showers, using a microwave to heat leftovers instead of an oven (is there a single person in this day and age wouldn’t use a microwave). All of these steps will save you money on your electric bill – so you’re told. Yet electric rates continue to rise.
And in Cleveland, the utilities company, First Energy, is not only giving its consumers handy-dandy tips, it is taking the crusade further. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, First Energy’s customers are about to get more environmentally friendly, whether they like it or not.
First Energy is delivering to every one of their customers two 23-watt CFLs at the low cost of $21.60 (though the bulbs cost FE only $3.50 each), to be reimbursed via a .60¢ monthly charge over the next three years on their electric bill. And for such a convenient, environmentally friendly gesture, that $21.60 includes a small assessment to cover the projected loss FE will experience from their customer’s saving energy by using the CFLs. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s columnist Kevin O’Brien puts it, “Think of it as paying money to save money so First Energy won't lose money.”
-- The Editors, Killswitch Politick
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