The Shame-Game Comes in the Mail

Since when does Rocky Mount Power have the right to judge and even shame me? I received a Home Energy Report statement detailing the amount of energy I used compared with 100 people living nearby. A stacked bar graph has efficient neighbors in green followed by “all neighbors” in gray, ending with a large blue tower lying sideways with the word you in caps and black bold.

With a second wagging finger, another colorful line graph recognizes me, in blue, as not being one of the efficient neighbors (who are in green, no less).

On the back are three columns of suggestions rated “Quick Fix” up to “Great Investments” describing ways I can stop being an energy hog.

I have switched out light bulbs and unplugged items not in use—the ones I don’t have to reset once I use them again. I take 5-7 minute showers, and yes, I shave my legs every day and still get out under 10 minutes.

I don’t run my dishwasher or washer/dryer during peak times of the day. I keep my house temperature 2 degrees either higher or lower than what’s comfortable.

I don’t watch TV during the day, and I have timers on my lamps, so nothing stays on too long or is forgotten.

All of this shame-gaming makes me self-conscious and as I’m opening, yet another letter I think, if they’re so concerned about carbon footprint, why didn’t they combine both the shame letter and bill together, thereby nixing the extra two envelopes on top of the ones the documents came in? Just for that, I’m tempted to run around my house and turn on all the lights, even though it’s the middle of the day—that’ll show ‘em!


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