Monday, June 29, 2009

Supply Wagon

This picture was taken near the end of the Civil War in 1865. It shows a four mule team pulling an army supply wagon. It is hard to imagine how many mules and horses the army must have had to move all the supplies around, and how many people it would take just to care for and feed those animals. The picture was taken in City Point, Virginia.

I was a little late posting the picture this morning because I was on the phone with the electric company. In Texas, you can choose between many different electricity providers, and shop for the best rate. This competition has led to much lower electric rates. I was able to lock in a price of 10.9 cents/kWhour for three years. I thought this was good price. I was curious as to who has the best rate on electricity among our visitors. Are you paying more or less than this?


  1. Here in Nova Scotia, Canada we pay 11.8 cents. That works out to 10.2 cents in US dollars. It used to be run by the government, but they sold the company to a private corporation who has since been raising rates right left and centre. It used to be much lower when it was publicly run, because they were in the business of providing electricity instead of lining pockets.

    Personally, I think that competition is great for things people have a choice whether or not to buy, like plane tickets, big tvs, or cell phones. But when it comes to things people require, like electricity, roads, and health care, corporations just see it as a forced market and just gouge the people who need it the most.

    Anyways, I love your blog, and keep coming back! :)

  2. I could have gotten a rate of 10.2 cents, but the contract would have been for 6 months. A 1 year contract was 10.4 cents, a 2 year contract 10.7 cents, or a 3 year contract was 10.9 cents. So, you have to decide whether you think energy is going up or down. I feel energy prices will skyrocket, particularly if cap and trade passes the senate, so I locked in 10.9 for three years, which was the longest contract they offer.

  3. Here in Southern California the bill is so complicated, it takes a math wizard to figure it out. There were 14 lines of charges. Last month I used 531 kwh and it averaged 14 cents per kwh. Thank God I didn't have to turn on the air.


  4. According to my bill last month, our rate is 9.631 Canadian cents per kilowatt hour. Someone mentioned to me recently this is to go down a bit, but I can't confirm this.

    This is for St. John's, Newfoundland.

    I'd say your 10.9 cents is in the right ball park.

  5. Great subject this week, again.

    When I moved here from WA state 12 years ago, I was shocked at the higher (monopoly) electricity rates here.

    Just figured up this month's electric bill rates, using AC the whole month: 0.0815 without sales tax, 0.08394 with. No contract, just at their mercy.

    PJM, maybe you can train the peacocks to line up on your roof and provide some shade, keep the electric bill down ;)

  6. Those are horses, not mules, Texas guy.

  7. PJM:

    I am paying more - 11.378 cents per kwh.

    We don't have a choice here in Rhode Island - the provider is National Grid, and they are a monopoly.

    As noted by previous posters, my bill is so complicated you need an advanced degree from MIT to figure it out.

    I checked the rates online and this is how it breaks down:

    The basic rate is 9.2 cents per kwh. But then you have to add 0.093 per kwh for a "renewable energy" charge.

    Then, you add 1.50 cents per kwh for a "transmission charge;" 0.235 cents per kwh for a "transition charge" - whatever THAT is; and 0.350 cents per kwh for a "conservation" charge - all of which adds up to 11.378 cents per kwh.

    And, of course, that doesn't include the "Customer charge of $2.75 per month."

    All I can say is that I live in a small house, and my average electric bill is about $80/90 month in the winter and about $150 per month in the summer, when I run my central air.

    I have a gas hot water heather and a gas clothes dryer, so they aren't even figured in that. I have an electric stove, but I never cook, haha. I just dial for take-out.

  8. Smartgirl,
    The transition charge is the charge that transitions your total from a lower to a higher number. Hope this helps.

    Thing the bill is complicated now, just wait till the cap and trade bill passes, then watch out.

  9. I haven't got a clue. But I live in a northern zone in Alberta, so on top of the energy rates being sky-high because the privatized corps are making a killing by gouging me, they can also raise their price simply because of where they're located.

    Privatized industry has gone rampant here in Alberta and for young bucks like me there's absolutely no breaks to be found. It makes me wonder (underpaid job aside) why I should even live in a province intent on raping my pockets of all my income.

    Some places are just lucky I suppose when it comes to how privatization worked out. Others rue the day their government sold out the power and insurance companies that were owned and paid for with their tax money.

  10. PJM:

    Thanks, of course, NOW I get it!!
    I wish National Grid had some competitors here, but they don't.

    And, from what I can tell from their website, if you choose to use an "alternate energy provider," they still charge you all those "service charges" to deliver it.

    So what's the point?

    And . . .that electric bill does NOT include my $80 per month natural gas bill for hot water and the clothes dryer, or my approximately $400 - $500 per month heating oil bills from November through March.

    And. . my $150 per month cable television and internet bill.


    Thank God I don't waste any energy cooking. It's cheaper (and easier) to eat out these days.

  11. Here in Indiana we pay 6.4c and it goes down to 4.6c over 1500kwh. ;-)

    Makes it hard to justify playing with Solar or Wind power.

  12. Leoal
    Maybe the electric prices were artificially low before privatization because it was subsidized.

  13. PJM,

    Here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, we pay 0.06250/kW.h.

    $6.85 Basic Charge
    2.5% City Tax
    7% Provincial Tax (PST)
    5% Goods & Services Tax (GST)

    So after tax, on my latest bill totaling $55.80, it works out to 0.0833/kW.h rounded up.

    Still pretty damn cheap when you think about it. We have Hydro Dams and Wind Power for our electrical production.
    for more information.

  14. Interesting that living here in Texas, my electricity cost per kwh is among the highest being reported, even though we are in the heart of Natural Gas production area (used to generate electricity), and we have wind turbines going up everywhere. Someone is gouging me.

  15. When we lived in Houston (prior to Dec 2007), we opted for Green Mountain Electric, even though it wasn't the cheapest. Two reasons: it was cheaper than Reliant; and it was 100% wind and solar. Personal choice. We no longer seem to have that choice in AZ, but, we don't have hurricanes, either. And the topology (?topography?) is more varied than 1 foot per mile.

  16. Here in Southern Nevada, I am all electric, with a heat pump air conditioner. My last bill was 1,506 KWH which is 8.17 cents per KWH. Our base charge is an additional $20.00 per month.

    There is a coal burning power plant and two natural gas power plants within 75 miles and Hoover Dam within about 100 miles.

    The power company is a small local one. They offer "levelized" bills so that I pay approximately the same amount each month, year round. REALLY a good idea.

  17. Oh, these pictures are beautiful. Horses and theme on photo is powerful.

  18. Here in western WY, in the middle of an oil & gas boom (lowest unemployment in US, so they say), Pacific Power has a monopoly & when you add all 6 lines of gibberish charges it comes to $.083/Kwh. (My husband the math whiz had to figure it out for me).

  19. The MREs had to move to the front lines. Supply wagons were key.

  20. I believe at the beginning of the war the Union had about 3.5 million horses and the Confederates about 1.6 million.
    That does not include mules.

  21. Well, it looks as if I have you all beat. we live in the area serviced by Constellation Energy (Baltimore City,etc.) and we pay 11.93 cents. We heat with gas, and our cook top is also gas, but the oven and the a/c are electric. We have a big old farm house (empty nesters now, thank Heaven, after three daughters) and the house is surrounded by ancient trees, so the a/c doesn't run too much. Open the windows and turn on the fan at night, and close up in the morning.

  22. Here in North dakota we have a winter price of .043640, and a summer price of .056640