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Helping someone who is stuck in their ways


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Recently due to changes in the power company's billing system, my mother's power bill skyrocketed. Mine didn't. The reason is now because they bill based on "usage tiers"

What the power company deems to be a normal usage is billed at the regular rate, and brackets above that are charged higher.

I am comfortably within the first billing tier. Not close to hitting the limit, and I don't make my kids play by candle light. I try to buy energy efficient appliances, I use CFL bulbs, I turn things off when I'm not using them etc.

My mother asked me for help getting her bill down. I told her what I do to keep mine down.

She had an excuse for everything.

"CFL bulbs are more expensive, plus I've used regular bulbs for years"

"I didn't turn the light out when I left the room because I might go back in there" (even though every light in her entire house is on all the time, plus really, how hard is it to flip a switch?)

"I keep forgetting to turn the TV off, I'm used to the noise."

"I don't turn the furnace off when I'm out because I want it to be warm when I get home"


She is complaining that the power company set the limit unreasonably low, which isn't true. Nobody else in the family has power bills as high as hers. She asked me to help get her bill down, but she isn't willing to change her habits...wth? Did she want me to wave a magic wand and make her usage lower?

I'm no good with words, but I'm trying to gently tell her that something has to give if she actually wants help with this.

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Only other things I can think of offhand are things like checking the outside facing doors for leakage, same with windows. For us here, it's a cooling issue more than heat - we used the foam weather stripping to tighten up the seals (cheap and effective), and on the windows facing the sun all day, put up the foam/foil car window shades to keep the heat at bay.


The bulbs are available in both flourescent and the soft "yellow" look now, and they last so much longer it more than offsets the initial cost.


Annie is right though, she can't do nothing and lower the bill - some compromises on her part need to happen, or she really can't complain.

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Unfortunately some people do not really want help, they just want an ear to complain into.

You're right. I'm angry because she phoned me all in a huff and asked me to "please come over and figure out why the bill is so high"

So I did. I went over there, and took time out to explain why her bill is higher than mine (by hundreds of dollars) I feel like that was a big waste of time, if she needed to winge I'd have let her, but would have preferred not to go over there for that purpose alone o.0

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Your efforts are not wasted just because she didn't offer up some big endorsement of the changes she'll need to make. She's the one who needs to pay the bill. Allow your suggestions to sink in over time. Either she'll be stubborn and pay the rate for that, or she'll consider implementing your suggestions over time. Either way, you were kind to lend support and you did the right thing. That's really all you need to know.

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