Re: “Exorbitant power bills aren’t just a Maine thing” (March 11):

I note that an important question is not being asked: How well insulated were the houses of homeowners who received those exorbitant bills? And what extra steps were taken to conserve electricity?

The day after a February blizzard, my family moved into a 65-year-old Cape Cod we had just purchased. It was decidedly a fixer upper, with a leaking roof, ancient furnace, mostly original windows and older doors.

Over the next decade, we slowly replaced and improved upon various aspects of our home. Our winter electric bill correspondingly went down, even when prices went up.

We also put up insulated curtains, and put down wool rugs I found in consignment stores. We stocked up on emergency supplies of towels and blankets from Goodwill, and plastic sheeting and foam insulator strips.

During the recent cold snap, we hunted down every little draft and cold spot and laid down defenses against it. We kept the heat on at 70 degrees, day and night, dodging the expense of constantly reheating cold space. We avoided the use of electric space heaters and relied on extra clothing and blankets for maximum comfort. We also limited the use of our oven, and washer and dryer.

Our electric bill was higher that month, but not shockingly so. The next month, it returned to normal.

A little wit and will can go a long way toward holding our own against the cold.

Zoe Gaston

Cape Elizabeth