shari

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - FOL­LOW SHARI ON TWIT­TER AT WWW. TWIT­TER. COM/ SHARITAGS SHARI TAGLIABUE

We live in the beau­ti­fully tem­per­ate trop­ics and yet try to re­frig­er­ate any space we in­habit. But what is go­ing to hap­pen as our power prices con­tinue to climb?

IGOT my power bill the other day. Yikes – over $ 500, which is about $ 100 more than my last bill, but prob­a­bly a lot less than those who love their air­con.

I can sym­pa­thise, I re­lied on my trusty heater when I lived down south, up here it’s the re­verse.

I can’t tell you how many peo­ple have told me that for what­ever rea­son – high body ther­mo­stat, poor ven­ti­la­tion, gen­eral ha­tred of heat or the many that are ad­dicted to snug­gling un­der a doona all year­round with the air­con on high, our pop­u­la­tion is ill- equipped to func­tion with­out cooled air.

It’s easy in the car, prob­a­bly chews a bit of petrol but hey – there’s no ac­tual bill to tell you pre­cisely how much you are pay­ing for your quest for cool­ness.

At work, well, the bosses are pay­ing, aren’t they? Un­less you’re the boss, then you’ll be get­ting a power bill at work and a power bill at home – what’s the go­ing rate for a black mar­ket kid­ney?

I have to take a cardi when I go to shop­ping cen­tres, what­ever the am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture is they’ve set­tled on re­sults in a sem­ishuf­fled jog through the freezer sec­tion of the su­per­mar­ket be­cause it’s noth­ing short of Arc­tic.

I still re­mem­ber a de­lay at the Townsville Air­port one evening where the air­con was so cold peo­ple in the ceilinged up­stairs gate lounge were wrap­ping them­selves in tow­els and what­ever else they had in their carry- on as the chilly blast rolled around the vor­tex, and it’s the same at the hos­pi­tal which is bor­der­line brrr, while if you brave the Civic The­atre in short sleeves it’s ‘ hello, hy­pother­mia.’

I’m pretty sure lo­cals don’t re­alise how far their air­con set­tings have mi­grated from the out­door cli­mate. We live in the beau­ti­fully tem­per­ate trop­ics and yet try to re­frig­er­ate any space we in­habit.

But what is go­ing to hap­pen as our power prices con­tinue to climb? Dare we think about be­ing just a lit­tle bit warm? Not hot, just not cooled to re­frig­er­a­tor- wor­thy tem­per­a­tures. Fans are cheap to run and bet­ter still breezes are free, yet find a busi­ness, ho­tel or large build­ing with ceil­ings high enough for fans, or win­dows that open.

I’ve men­tioned be­fore how the style of hous­ing fill­ing the newer sub­urbs might be cheap, but de­part­ing from Queens­lan­der fea­tures means the cost of cool­ing th­ese low- ceilinged boxes with no ve­ran­das or eaves is go­ing to be­come pro­hib­i­tive, if it isn’t al­ready.

Ap­par­ently we are sup­posed to have com­pe­ti­tion in the power game but that’s news to those of us stuck with one provider, and like other ser­vices in town that have no com­pe­ti­tion, prices are pre­mium, which is prob­a­bly how the State Govern­ment prefers it.

So while we can’t con­jure up a com­peti­tor, try­ing to wean our­selves off the Arc­tic blast can’t hurt. There’s plenty of lee­way be­tween ‘ brrr’ and boil­ing, but until our power de­ba­cle is over­hauled, it’s not such a barmy idea to aim for some­thing slightly balmier.

... YET FIND A BUSI­NESS, HO­TEL OR LARGE BUILD­ING WITH CEIL­INGS HIGH ENOUGH FOR FANS, OR WIN­DOWS THAT OPEN

FUR HEAVEN’S SAKE: The shop­ping malls can be pos­i­tively Arc­tic.

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