What a person decides is important to him or her can say a lot about that person, when forced to live with certain limitations. Considering my own choices today, not so much the serious situation, I thought it kinda funny and so decided to report it here.
I prepay OEC for electricity. I misfigured this month mainly because of the “Peak Hours” 3:00pm to 7:00pm from June 1 to August 31, when OEC engages in extreme price gouging with a much higher rate – use one of those hours above a certain limit and it is applied to the entire 24 hours. If I don’t significantly cut back to regain a day or two of usage, then I’ll be cut off before my next payday July 3 – unless I get paid sooner or unless I obtain the money needed from elsewhere as a loan and pay it before then. It automatically cuts off by computer control from OEC when my account balance reaches zero. It automatically reconnects when I do make the next payment. I paid $90 believing $20 would be left over just in case, but the just in case kicked in worse than expected so June will cost me about $100 total. However, if I cut back enough, I might regain a day or two of usage. No air conditioning from 3:00pm to 7:00pm when it is needed the most. Usually on from about noon to about 10:00pm when I need it the most. There are no “Peak Hours” during the weekend, just Monday through Friday, so that helps some. Cools off fairly fast after sunset – 8:48pm tonight. By 10:00pm cool enough outside, especially with low humidity and a good south breeze, to open up doors and windows to let in fresh air.
It’s not enough to cut back on air conditioning. I’ve cut power to nearly everything except my two main choices to maintain through the four “Peak Hours” until I have enough usage covered until July 3. My choices: I keep the refrigerator on. Also I keep Internet use – the WiFi modem and my laptop. There you have them – my priorities for this situation. Cut off are the TV and Cox Contour box, Cox telephone box, and water heater. Conventional oven and stove not to be used during “Peak Hours” but still connected. Some things use up electricity when connected, whether on or off. I have plugged in a small personal fan – for the modem and laptop – not just me, because the heat appears to cause some problems for the modem or laptop or both. All the doors and windows are open. My apartment faces south and today there is a strong south wind gusting over 20 mph. Forecasted high 90F – what it is now. Not so bad in the shade in the breeze, but is brutal in direct sunlight and out of the breeze. It’s 84F where I am in my living room next to my open French doors – to the second level private balcony of my apartment.
There is another problem. Even if it were not for the “Peak Hours” of OEC and my screwed up budget, a bizarre problem developed with the air conditioning system. Spider-like mites have invaded the vent shafts, and their excrement is a kind of living “black soot mold” – not as bad as the more commonly known “black mold” that can infect and destroy property after floods, other water damage from leaks – broken pipes, and a long period of high humidity. When the air conditioner is on, the cold air blowing out of the vents spreads the mites and the “black soot mold” from inside the vent shafts. People like me already allergic to various kinds of mold, as well as tree pollen, but not so much grass and weeds in my case, can have symptoms – extremely severe bronchial asthma attacks with brutal coughing is what I’ve experienced – only when the air conditioning is on. Evidence is the “black soot mold” forming on the leaves and mainly the stems of my indoor plants, getting worse each time the air conditioner is on. Also, it can infect electronics, but no longer a problem after it dries and is no longer conductive – comparable to a wet cell phone put in rice to dry it out. Heat dries this kind of mold to a brittle substance than can flake off or be scraped off with a fingernail from the stem and leaves of the plants. So I cleaned them up, moved them to my balcony – and keeping them well-watered there in fresh air they are thriving again. As for me, it was just a mild case of death – and such death is no excuse to stop writing here, ghost of me. Primatene Tablets for bronchial asthma stopped the symptoms. The mites and mold have a short lifespan and are easily killed. I put Hot Shot foggers into the vent shafts and closed the vent ports – easily killing them. But how long until the next invasion? Maybe today. Can’t buy more foggers until payday, so best to have the air conditioner off anyway, not just because of the “Peak Hours” price gouging by OEC. I’ve had the doors and windows open all day today. Will stay open at night.
UPDATE: 7:00pm Wednesday… Real estate lady I pay the rent to is different than the owner – he lives in Denver. She will pay $20 on my OEC account to save me this month – I’ll pay her back when I pay the July rent. Owner when visiting and former maintenance man installed new filter when I moved in – them arguing with each other for where to put it – in hallway ceiling intake vent or hallway door to furnace intake vent – furnace and air conditioning use same blower and so same air filter. Both were wrong. The system had been redesigned and updated before the new owner took over and that maintenance man started working here. Those no longer used. The correct new place for the filter just found by the new maintenance man, who will install a new filter there. It will filter out the spider mites that produce the “black soot mold” and other potential threats. Problem solved. Even so, this does not mean I will go hog wild using the air conditioner during OEC peak hours – just enough to get comfortable. I like it 85F during days and 70F during nights – sleeping best at that temperature.
Reported by Jim Lantern in Norman Oklahoma USA
Wednesday afternoon – 28 June 2017