An Open Letter to National Grid

Dear National Grid?

Did you know that you can take a train from London to Vladivostok? I bet you didn’t, because I just found that out today. See my friend shared this link, which reminded me that I’ve always wanted to do the trans-Siberian (railroad, not orchestra) and that’s when I learned you can ride trains from the UK to Almost North Korea (which I technically haven’t been to but I’ve seen their flag from the DMZ). Really the tricky part here is deciding where to go from Irkutsk. Do you go to Vladivostok for the bragging rights of having seen Russia from coast to coast (I’ve already been to St. Petersburg)? Or do you go to Mongolia, so that you can stay in a ger and have the bragging rights of having gone to Mongolia?

It’s really the most irrelevant way I could spend my time. Not only do I have homework I need to be doing, I can’t afford this trip. And after your 40% rate increase, I can’t afford my rent, my credit card payments, or food. I have to very carefully pick what I want to pay in whole, because when the electric bill for your one bedroom apartment is more than your weekly paycheck you can’t afford to make nice, big payments on anything.

National Grid, you are why I can’t get out of debt. The fact that my bill- which was never more than $60 before the November rate hike, even when I was using air conditioners- has jumped so high is impossible to handle. It is 29 degrees outside, as I write this. That makes it one of the warmer days. Our apartment has electric heat and is not very well insulated. We’ve weather-proofed our windows, we keep doors closed, we turn off everything we can when we aren’t using it, we use energy saving lightbulbs, but we need to keep our apartment at 60 degrees. Because that’s the lowest we can go and still feel comfortable in socks, slippers, sweatpants, sweatshirts, and bathrobes (all worn together, under a down comforter). I am student in an online graduate program, I need to use an (electrically powered) computer at home to keep up with my courses. Manbeast uses his for work. We need to charge our phones, we need to cook dinners on our electric stove. We would like to be able to use our overhead lighting and not do these things by candlelight, but we are reasonable people and are willing to negotiate.

We aren’t even home most of the day, and everything but the heat is turned off then! And we’re a two-income household!

Possibly a more energy efficient fridge or stove would help, and better insulation certainly would, but that is up to our landlord, and she has already denied a new stove request, and she put a new roof on to help with the insulation (so I can only imagine what it would have been like before).

I complained about you on Twitter and you told me to send a direct message! So I did. Well it’s been more than 72 hours without a peep out of your robbing mouths.

I spend a lot of time crying. I grew up being told that if I worked hard my dreams would come true. I’ve worked really hard since I was 16 (at non-school endeavors, though I work hard at them too). Those dreams involve travel, homeownership, guinea pigs, and mid-range alcohol. Like many in my generation, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that the world we were groomed to take over just doesn’t exist anymore. The narrative surrounding us has stayed the same- poor=lazy, but I am a full-time employee at an institute of higher education, a part-time grad student (so I can get a better job), and on the hunt for a part-time job. A part-time job I need to pay your outrageous bill. I may joke about being lazy because I won’t put real pants on when I don’t have to work, but I work hard.

And I’m one of the really lucky ones, because I don’t have student loans.

And today, I almost, ALMOST put a paypal donate button on my blog. But then I felt gross and dirty, because it’s not like Daddy Warbucks is reading this thing (unless he is, in which case please email me at… crap I forgot the email for this thing but I think it’s on my about page?). I can’t in good conscious ask people who are probably also struggling to donate anything to me.

I can ask a large, almost-monopoly of a company why they think it is ethical  to raise electric costs in New England during the time of year when you truly need electricity to survive. I can ask how this is even legal, though I know that’s a state/federal thing and you’re clearly doing it because you can. I can tell you that we needed to replace our mattress (after it stabbed me with a broken spring that had ripped a silver dollar sized hole in the mattress) and after I took what little extra money I had to go see my friend in NY and I cried for hours because I couldn’t get that train ticket money back and I never should have let myself think I could have a fun weekend away.

Those tickets were less than a $100, round trip. Significantly less than my bill with you. But you’ve taught me a really valuable lesson: You can’t have even tiny nice things unless you are very rich. “Going places” is one of those things I do to avoid feeling like I’m dying. I can’t afford the co-pay for therapy which would probably have the same affect.

So thanks for that, National Grid. I probably should have learned it by now.

You’re seriously ruining my life.

So National Grid, if you read this and feel the need to respond, well, first you can check your direct twitter messages. That’s where you TOLD me to reach out to you and so I did, so it would be pretty polite if you could respond. Try irreverent.internet at gmail. Or check my about page. Second, your process for logging into your online account is next to impossible and I have been trying since 930 this morning. Third, I should be able to heat my apartment without resorting to begging. Please look at your life, and look at your choices.

Sincerely,

A Very Unhappy Customer

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One thought on “An Open Letter to National Grid

  1. Sarah says:

    I read this and felt all the feels you feel.

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