The citizens of Juneau, Alaska, had to do exactly that when their cost for electricity went from about 11 cents/kwh to 52 cents/kwh overnight. An avalanche cut off their cheap hydropower and they were forced to switch to expensive (and polluting) diesel.
Here is a chart of their power usage. The pink area is the time in which Juneau citizens were paying the higher rate. The great thing, though, is that they have apparently maintained their lower-energy lifestyle after their hydropower was restored!
What would you do if you knew your electricity bill, which usually runs about $70 per month, was going to increase to $280 this month if you used electricity just like normal? What creative ways could you find to cut your energy usage by 30% in a matter of days? Or by 50%? (Note: The folks at Riot 4 Austerity are going for 90% - and not just in electricity, but in their carbon footprint for food, water, gas and consumer goods too.)
How much comfort and convenience are you willing to trade for money?
Which of the following would you be willing to do?
- Line dry clothes (even in cold, damp weather?)
- Wash dishes by hand
- Turn off A/C completely or turn it up to 80 - 82 degrees
- Turn off heat completely or turn down to 55 - 60 degrees
- Cover your windows with plastic and your walls with blankets for emergency insulation
- Take cold showers or cut your number of hot showers drastically
- Turn off your fridge - and stash food out in the snow?
- Wash laundry in cold water
- Wash laundry by hand
- Eat cold meals requiring no cooking energy
- Use a Sun Oven for cooking and baking
- Not use any sort of electronic entertainment
(Of course, with a longer time horizon, you can make your technology and home more efficient.)
The coming years may see a huge increase in the cost of electricity for all of us - and it's already started increasing for some of us. I guess we may as well figure out how to deal with it now.
How about you readers who have already decreased your electricity bills by 30%? What did you do and what made the biggest difference?