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Electric Current & Strange Currency

When we travel abroad, the electrical sockets and money looks…foreign. We take note of this so our hairdryer doesn’t explode and we don’t pay $82 for a croissant. Actually, in Paris, that’s not far off. Nevertheless, we’re willing & able to make adjustments and work out conversions because traveling abroad is immense fun. When we return home, we have enough to worry about (like how to pay for that last trip abroad) without having to decipher a utility bill. Nevertheless,

Acronym Overload- PG&E, EBCE, SMUD? All or None of the Above?

Residents of San Francisco’s East Bay now get bills from a company they never signed up to do business with: EBCE- East Bay Community Energy. Their sparkly website reassures us that they are ‘a bright choice’. It’s like a little pun. Ironic- I feel a bit in the dark because I never got to make a choice.

We used to get a bill from PG&E. After some study & scrutiny, we conquered the verbiage & algorithms in their documents enough to comprehend why they get a huge chunk of our monthly earnings. Now EBCE sends us a bill that’s similar…in the same way that English & Portuguese are similar. Both are Latin based, and some of the words are vaguely familiar, but most of us are unlikely to launch a startup in Lisbon for the obvious ‘lost-in-translation’ reasons.

If your pool service is provided by ‘Clear Water Pools’, and that business gets sold or subbed to ‘Ted’s Pools’, you’ll likely get a memo along the lines of ‘same great service at same great price. I’ll bring Ted with me next Thursday so you can get acquainted.’ Even at that, you may not automatically submit to the change without some inquiry. Yet PG&E and EBCE did similar, but no one got a memo or an introduction; just a new-fangled bill. It appears (though it’s not obvious) they’re working in conjunction with another California utility, SMUD. The whole thing puts the mud in SMUD, if you ask me. Acronym overload? Click here to see what we think PG&E really stands for. The letters, not the corporation. Click here if you wonder what the company stands for.

The DimLemma- We Can Make Puns Too!

EBCE’s ‘joining’ PG&E raises numerous questions and a few alarms. Are the services provided, costs, existing credits, clauses, & programs, etc., affected? Anticipating this, EBCE’s website has the standard FAQ tab. Except that there are more questions on that tab than the SATs, and the answers are a blah-blah-blog that most of us won’t take a day off work to read. Which they appear to be banking on. At the top of the website home page there are little buttons to ‘Opt Out’, ‘Opt Up’, & ‘Opt Down’. How about ‘Opt-ometrist’? I’m going to need one by the time I finish plowing through all the fine print. C’mon!

I’m not in Cape Town: I shouldn’t have to figure out outlets & deduce that 10 rand is nothing like 10 grand. My doctor, mechanic, accountant, real estate agent, and plumber are all using specialized vocabulary unique to their industry & laborious to me. Where can I get a simple explanation on how to keep my lights on without forfeiting my childrens’ inheritance? Right here. Everyone says ‘Keep it Simple’, but almost no one does. We do. We’re going to recommend solar energy, but we’re glad to help you understand energy, however you decide to buy & spend it. 866.447.9637.        -Lee Stilwater