Those Mainers not living under a rock for the last month have heard the terrible news that electric bills will skyrocket next year. This is on top of price increases for food, gasoline, vehicles, cable, internet and just about every other good or service.

John Balentine, a former managing editor for the Lakes Region Weekly, lives in Windham.

Rampant government spending during the pandemic has caused inflation to rear its ugly head. The government tried to avoid a depression by doling out plenty of cash, but the result is a devaluing of the dollar, which some say could cause hyperinflation if it gets out of hand. (That’s why Republicans and some Democrats are so fearful of President Biden’s spending proposals.)

Back to the Maine story and inflation. Amid this spiraling of costs everywhere comes the depressing news that the average Central Maine Power “standard offer” customer can expect to pay $30 more per month thanks to supply rate increases, according to a recent Portland Press Herald story.

CMP supply rates will jump from 6.4 cents per kilowatt hour to a whopping 11.8 cents. Versant customers in central and northern Maine are experiencing similar 80%-plus hikes as well.

The increase is mainly due to a tripling in the price of natural gas, which CMP relies on to fire its electricity-generating plants. The pandemic has caused a shortage of natural gas while demand is increasing, especially as winter settles in.

While it’s easy to blame CMP, it wouldn’t be fair nor accurate since CMP has nothing to do with natural gas pricing.

If you’ll allow me to get petty, but closer to the truth, the key is also not to blame Maine voters who recently rejected CMP’s noble goal of trying to diversify its energy sources by linking HydroQuebec’s massive network of hydroelectric dams to Maine’s and Massachusetts’ electrical grid. That wouldn’t have been built out until 2022 or 2023 and would do no good in the short term. But it is interesting this price hike is kicking in right after the vote took place.

No, blame for our soon-to-be-sky-high CMP bills can’t be found in anyone other than ourselves. Why? Because the key to handling CMP’s upcoming price increase is looking inward and doing all you can to reduce your electricity use. If you don’t use the power in the first place, they can’t charge you for it, right? Right.

So, here are a few tips to help deaden the pain of CMP’s increases:

• Don’t leave on any light not being actively used. Your house isn’t a Motel 6.
• Stamp out “phantom power.” Even unused appliances or TVs can suck electricity just by being plugged into a wall. Unplug from the socket, especially those seldom-used appliances.
• Take out your frustration by targeting other utilities. Spectrum, for example, is a great place to start. Their ever-increasing costs for cable and internet are egregious and a good spot to find easy savings. Cut out cable TV and buy an over-the-air antenna (which gets better reception, by the way). Or cut out the home phone and go with a cell phone. Or, egads, get rid of your cell phone and you’ll never have to recharge it again.
• Stop using social media, which takes electricity no matter how you access it. In short, social media is also stupid, so stop doing it and heal yourself and American culture one closed Facebook or Twitter account at a time.

Beyond power-related savings, get serious about your budget and find savings beyond electricity:

• Stop going to the coffee shop. Make your cup o’ joe at home.
• Don’t go to fancy restaurants. Cook at home. (You might lose weight this way, too, and cut out a lot of salt.)
• Stop leasing that gas-guzzling luxury car or exhaust-spewing pickup. Instead, buy yourself a cheap beater hatchback and stick to the speed limit. Definitely don’t buy a Tesla, which will become even more expensive to own with rising electric rates.
• Get a second or third job to bring in more money. “Moonlighting” was a great TV show in the 1980s and might become a thing again.
• Overall, quit purchasing so much stuff. Give the Amazon delivery driver a break. Many consumaholics have coped with pandemic depression using retail therapy. With inflation here, that habit must be broken.

If you can accomplish these or stricter inflation-busting measures, you can surely overcome any CMP increase. But, be careful. Don’t overdo your fiscal tightening because, if everyone did, our entire consumer-driven economy would collapse.

And this is why this inept government-induced inflation will be such a tricky beast to overcome. When you try to save your own personal economy you risk harming the larger economy. Just ask Venezuelans.

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