Randy and Katy Smelser

Americans living in Germany but citizens of heaven

Precious Power

It has been another dark week in Peine-Stederdorf. Even though they put up new street lights recently. They are LED and save the city a ton of money but then we, as house owners, get to pay the bill for the new lights so the city wins both ways. Plus the value added tax on both material and labor in putting up the lights. The city wins three ways. We have new bizarre light now out on the street.

As I was wanting to say… This week we got our yearly meter-reading results. We make monthly payments and then once a year the gas, water, electricity meters are read and we get back or have to pay the difference. After the darkest Winter on the books and the coldest March in history, guess what?! We owe money. But it is only about $700. We haven’t got the bill for the streetlights yet – they should be a real steal in comparison.

Right… Energy is a major issue. Germany went frantic after the Fukoshima Japan atomic reactor disaster following the earthquake and tsunami. Maybe it is because of all the earthquakes (seldom and then very weak in western Germany but never in Peine) and tsunamis (never) that we experience?

Anyway… Germany is getting out of atomic energy business (we will import atomic electricity from Czech and France however and of course export, build nuclear reactors for other European countries but shhh that just between us) and moving to clean energy (solar and wind) – please do not ask how damaging the necessary rare earth metals mining is in China. Let us live in our allusion of clean energy that does not hurt anyone and does not pollute.

Well back to the topic… Now because of all the windmills, we have what is often called the “asparagus landscape”. It is asparagus season in our area right now, you know, and Katy is making a great Lower Saxony asparagus Sunday Dinner for tomorrow. Lower Saxon Wedding Soup and then asparagus with Hollandaise sauce with smoked ham and I think “red berry mishmash” with vanilla custard for dessert. I can’t wait.

Let me see where was I? yes… But all this beauty and tidiness does have a price – besides the Chinese workers getting sick. Of course the 19% value added tax from the government has nothing to do with the high costs. Nor the extra costs for the guaranteed price. No, it is all the evil capitalist electric companies. What a toxic mix of high prices we have brewed. Please pass the cream and sugar – you know what they say and let’s all sing together “Just a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down…”

If you are finished singing we can get back to the topic… This became graphic while I was reading the Frankfurter Allgemeine Newspaper (comparable to the Wall Street Journal) Tuesday, 21 May 2013. It was right next to the article “Researchers Doubt the Climate Change. A Study: the earth is not warming as fast as feared.” So take that all you doubters, who were told that it is a proven fact that Global Warming was going to end life as we know it. You now have company. But you can not convince me – I have been brainwashed enough to know that this article must be a joke. Or wait it is just too expensive to warm up the earth now.

Well, back to the other article…The private person pays an average of $352 per Megawatt hour in Germany. In the USA it is $118. Electricity is 66% less in the USA. This is the reason Katy and I have no air conditioners, clothes dryer and shut off lights, computers and stand-by appliances when possible. For natural gas we pay $93 and in the USA $36 (62% less). And pass the wool sweaters, please!

No wonder I feel so draggy all the time – powerless all winter and just now coming back to life! Energy is just too expensive for me and so I run on solar packs that do pretty good in the summer but wind down in the winter. I am a lean, clean, fighting machine!

Well that’s the week in Peine. And remember shut off those lights!