Statistics show an encouraging drop in electric use

January 1, 2014 

Reddy Kilowatt once was king of all he surveyed. With his light-bulb head and his lightning bolt arms and legs, he symbolized power, literally (power companies) and figuratively (electricity was king).

Ah, Reddy. He wouldn’t be recognized by a couple of generations now, and what he symbolized is fading like one of those old-fashioned bulbs he resembled.

Now, says the Energy Information Administration, electricity use in U.S. homes is at the same level it was in 2001. The implications are good: an eventual drop in the need for production of power, a recognition of the value of solar and other alternatives, the continued development of “cleaner” energy. And natural gas is plentiful.

Consider the federal Energy Department’s calculation that commonplace use of those LED bulbs could save the equivalent of the electricty output of 44 large power plants within 15 years.

The development also is proof of the value of “energy efficient” appliances, initially viewed with skepticism by some consumers who wondered if they’d work as well as the tried-and-true electricity gobblers, and even seen as part of a liberal conspiracy by...well, by whatever we called tea partyers back then.

At one time, taking steps to make one’s home more energy efficient meant considerable expense. But now that’s affordable, particularly when, in a home, long-term savings is factored in.

Make no mistake. We like our hand-held devices and tablets and all that, and they take energy. As many of us would ponder giving up a vital organ before giving up a cell phone, that kind of demand isn’t going away. But the latest figures show that we are at least headed in the right direction at home.

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