E. P. is a single woman in her 50’s, living in Kitchener, in an electric baseboard-heated apartment. Each unit has its own meter, so she is billed directly for her hydro usage.
Instead of turning on the heat, she wears socks and slippers and a housecoat over her clothing. She has two sleeping bags on top of the blankets on her bed and when it gets really cold she opens the apartment door leading to the hallway to try to get some warmth from there.
In addition to exposing herself to danger by doing so, she also states that she has learned to deal with being cold all the time in the winter when she’s at home.
She works a full-time job and explains that cold cereal is her regular meal because she just can’t afford more when she has to pay such high hydro bills. The bonus to eating cold cereal is that she doesn’t have to turn on the stove. She unplugs anything that is not being used, including the stove and microwave to avoid phantom power usage. She uses flashlights at night so that she doesn’t have to turn on the lights.
When friends say they are coming by to visit, she comes up with excuses why they can’t and sometimes tells them exactly why…..that they wouldn’t be comfortable in her frigid apartment.
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