Monday, July 20, 2009

I Need To Cool Off

You know what grinds my gears? Apartments in this city (Ottawa) advertise "All inclusive". Then they say "$x/month for Air Conditioning". Well, then it's not "all inclusive" is it?

Charging extra for Air Conditioning is such a sham. What's next? Charging for using the stove?

I understand that air conditioners use a lot of power, but they're assuming that you're going to be using it a lot. How do they know how much you're going to use? They charge a flat rate.

This summer has been unseasonably cold. If the first half of this month continues, it will be the coldest July on record. Last week I heard, the average temperature was between 17 and 18 degrees. So the people who have air conditioning units probably aren't using them very much at all this summer. Yet, they're paying for them the same as though it was going up to 35 degrees everyday.

Consider this scenario: I live in an apartment with "all-inclusive" rent and being charged extra for my air conditioner. My next door neighbour moved in at the same time as me, so he pays the same rent. He also has an air conditioner, and he pays the same flat rate for it.

I don't have a television set. I have a laptop computer. I'm a vegetarian so I don't do a lot of cooking. I spend most of my day at work, and leave all my lights off at home. I spend the weekends out with friends. I enjoy the heat of summer, and set my air conditioner to keep the apartment at 25 degrees.

My neighbour has a plasma TV, which uses a lot of power. He has several computers he uses for gaming - a high power consuming activity, relatively speaking. He works from home, so he runs his lights, computer, etc. all the time. He loves foods of all kinds and cooks almost everyday. He enjoys his cool air, and he sets his air conditioner at 18 degrees. His social life exists in cyberspace, so he doesn't go out much. He's at home a lot.

Who uses more power? My neighbour. By a long shot. But we both pay the same amount.

Let's consider a second scenario. This scenario is almost exactly like the first, except my neighbour enjoys the heat and I don't. He doesn't even have an air conditioner. I do. I keep mine at 25 degrees. I run mine only at night.

Who uses more power overall? I'm not 100% certain, but I still think my neighbour does. Who's paying more? Me. How is that fair?! How is that right?!

Most places seem to charge a monthly fee of $10 for the air conditioner. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that that's what it costs to run one on average: $10 per month.

When I lived in an all-inclusive apartment in Sault Ste. Marie, I got a notice saying that the management would only be paying $40 per month for electricity. Any electricity beyond that would have to be covered by the tenant.

I asked my landlord how close I was to the $40. He said "pffft! You're nowhere near that! You're at, like, $12 per month."

So, assuming a $10 per month cost of running an air conditioner, if I had installed one, my power usage would have have been $22 per month. About half of my monthly allotment. If they had that air conditioner fee, then I would have been paying an extra $10, with an unused portion of my electricity bill of $28 per month. What a rip!

Of course, my whole rant depends on my assumption that apartment buildings are charging for air conditioning what it actually costs, and not just charging an extra fee that barely covers the cost of air conditioning.

Can anybody here tell me how much it actually costs to cool a one bedroom apartment in the Ottawa area?

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