When we designed our house 25 years ago, we explained to our architect that we wanted eight double power sockets in the kitchen. Which turned out to be just enough for the endless gadgets which John Lewis and Which? persuaded us were essential for a happy home. The architect was horrified and didn’t know how to add them to his plans.
Not a problem. I walked around the house with the electrician. He made marks on the floors. A bit like in the 1940s, the gipsies used to mark our front gate to tell others whether to bother calling.
We have eight lights in the ceiling. All LEDs. That will have to be changed.
The rest of the house is inundated with power points for TVs, table-lamps, all ready for yet more gadgets.
Then came what seemed like a huge increase in the price of our electricity. We hunkered down into just the rooms we used. “Luckily” our whole house heating had let us down after 25 years of good service. If it still worked, we wouldn’t have been able to switch off the heating in the unused rooms.
I have just watched and listened to Nate Hagens latest “Frankly” piece in his wonderful “Great Simplification“ show. I now realise that we have to change how we use our electricity. It will never be cheap again. Not just at home. Thank goodness we decided we are too old for an EV.
There is no point in replacing our worn-out air-to-air heat pump, which heats the whole house. We must keep our gadgets to a minimum. Maybe we should have PV to power our laptops? There’s a lot to think about.
Back to the 1940s? Or even pre-industrial times?
Winter has come – and for some people it’s colder and more expensive than the recent past. This week Nate reconnects with Nora Bateson to discuss how she and others living in Sweden are responding to the phenomenal spike in their electricity costs, which are currently 35-40 per cent higher than this time last year. What steps are people taking in their own homes to stay warm and reduce energy use, and what tools and support is the government providing its citizens? Is there any single event or person to blame for the drastic increase in energy costs or is the root cause broad and deep within the systems we have created? What can we learn from this dress rehearsal as we anticipate and prepare for The Great Simplification?