28 March 2012

Too early to think about summer?

Okay, it's only late March and we've already run our AC a few days. I don't know about you, but I'm already praying we don't have summer temps like we had last year! And even if we do, I plan on saving on my OG&E electric bill this summer!

Perhaps you've seen the ads on TV or the inserts with your monthly OG&E bill about SmartHours. Along with some other local bloggers, I am joining with them in reporting my personal experiences* with the SmartHours program. It's a energy saving and monitoring program (which can also save you some money!) in which you may enroll and runs from June through September. The idea is that there are peak and off-peak electricity usage hours over these months. Peak hours are between 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. weekdays. Not only are these the hours when more energy is used, it is also the time band in which we are charged more for that power. There is a higher strain on production then so they charge more. Conversely, off-peak production comes at a lower cost per kilowatt hour. (I find myself using the words electricity, energy, and power to mean the same thing. They may technically mean three separate things, but until I learn otherwise, they're all the same to me!)

We enrolled a couple of weeks ago and are scheduled to have our NEW SmartTemp thermostats installed this Friday. I'm excited to have a thermostat I get to learn from the beginning. We have a programmable thermostats that came with the house, but I've never really gotten the knack of them, and probably actually defeat their settings. We are getting two because we have two separate heat/AC units/zones.

Our real-time usage and month's projection
Enrolling also gives us immediate access to MyOGEPower, reports on energy usage, as well as suggestions to reduce usage. What's interesting to me is that through our Smart Meter (the outside one that's been out there for some time—I have no recollection of how long ago or when it went in), I can see reports on many different aspects of power usage. I can see how our usage compares to others in my neighborhood; receive hourly meter update readings; see what our baseload (always on) usage is; projected bill for the month; and so forth.

I also think there may be misconceptions about the program and thermostats. YOU, the customer, retain all control over how much and when you use your power. 'Big Brother' does not make you swelter on 100˚+ days with no AC between 2:00 and 7:00. You are, however, given information and suggestions on how you may use less through those peak hours when fuel costs are higher. OG&E is going to charge you more during the peak hours anyway. Why not learn to use your energy more advantageously to control your costs?

I'm discovering more each time I delve into the information and invite you to join me on the journey, both in reading about my experiences, or signing up yourself and sharing YOUR experiences with me! For all sorts of information, testimonials, and check your enrollment eligibility, go to the SmartHours (click) info page and/or download the PDFs below!

Helpful links:

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

19 March 2012

Truly grateful...

This past Friday, March 16, about 9:50 a.m., while merging with traffic from the Lake Hefner Parkway onto the Kilpatrick Turnpike, I had a car accident that flung me into the cable barriers backwards at a quickly decelerating rate of speed. It happened so quickly. And then it was still. I think I'm fine and get my car to limp and drag herself across the eastbound lanes and park on the right shoulder. Texted Naomi to say I was fine but would not be at art group. Called Tom and told him. He said he'd head right up there and come get me. Called 911.

Tail light in pristine condition!
After a few minutes, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Walters pulls up to check on and assist me. Once he sees that I'm okay and have given him my license and insurance verification, he gives me an accident report to complete. Oddly enough, I use some NASCAR terms describing the incident. The car in front of me 'checked up' and I 'over-corrected.' just a point of humor to me. Tom arrived with a Sonic Route 44 Coke Zero with vanilla (previously misreported as a Diet Dr. Pepper with diet cherry)! What a guy! The trooper even comments that Tom has his priorities right, making sure I am fine first.

Left side looks great!
Fast forward, Red gets flatbed-towed to a nearby body shop and there she still sits waiting for her inspection. We dropped by after lunch to not only make sure the tow truck driver understood where we wanted her taken, but also to take some photos. Poor girl. She's pretty banged up all along the right side. Going backwards along cable and posts from 60+ mph leaves its marks. She punched through the cables halfway up the front hood and over the back of the spoiler on the trunk. We should find out this week how severely she's damaged. Yes, she's 11 years old, but she has fewer than 80,000 miles on her so she's a pretty spoiled little girl. I really want her to get fixed and come home. Dory misses her.

I spent the afternoon resting cozily in bed. I'd start feeling queasy, thinking about what might have been. Almost as quickly, I took the time to fill that feeling with gratitude for exactly what had occurred. The more I responded to friends who were concerned for me, the more evident it became:
  • Ultimately, God had the wheel
  • Events unfolded exactly as they were meant
  • This was one of the BEST days of my life