today i learned about the price of electricity, after trying to settle some cafe utility bills for my parents. a while back they switched to just energy as their electricity supplier. all was good for a while until suddenly the rate changed and they were paying 2-3x more than before. they asked me to switch them back to nstar as both supplier and distributor.

i called nstar to get the directions i needed to do that. they were busy so i left a call back number. they called me back 30 minutes later. first the operator made it very clear that nstar is now called eversource. every time i made reference to nstar, she'd correct me. she said by canceling service with just energy, the supplier would default back to nstar. however, the current nstar rate for the next 6 months (apparently rates are adjusted biannually) is 15.06¢ KwH, while just energy is just 13.90¢ KwH. electricity rate recently increased; last month it was still 9.379¢ KwH. it's not too big a deal for residential, but commercial properties use a lot more electricity, so the difference is more substantial. actually, the rate for commercial is actually lower - 14.501¢ KwH - but still sort of high. the good news is there are other energy suppliers with cheaper rates: 10-11¢ KwH. my parents will simply need to switch to one of those.

i haven't been getting my nstar utility bills in a few months. i think one time when i was visiting my online account page, i must've accidentally signed myself up for paperless billing. i noticed my electricity rate went up for this past month, partly because of the rate increase, partly because i discovered humidifiers. i'm more curious about gas heating bill. for the month of january 2015 i used 84 therms for $117, compared with last january (when nobody even lived at my place) where the house used 70 therms for $88.64. i can't quite tell if i'm saving money yet (since i installed the new furnace and thermostat) until the next reading for the month of february, which is traditionally the coldest month of the year.

steve and paul were finally digging out their cars. steve seems incapable of gratitude, but paul thanked me for shoveling, particularly the backyard. when they came back from their business trip a few days ago, their house was absolutely freezing because something happened to their heater while they were gone. they called a repairman who had to go down to the basement (make possible by my hard work). problem had something to do with a broken starter switch. i told paul about their wonky hot water heater. he said they planned on replacing it sometime this year, not because there was anything wrong with it, but because a repairman said it was old. anyway, i almost wanted to help them dig, but felt like my altruism would be wasted.

i went to the dollar store to look for some typhoo tea, my mother's new favorite. i remember seeing it somewhere, but don't remember where. the dollar store did not carry it. i ended up grabbing some snacks and some cedar wood blocks (2x3") for $2. i also went to star market on my way back, got some vanilla hazelnut tea for myself.

for lunch and dinner i finished the rest of the kentucky fried chicken from yesterday.