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  • Writer's pictureJorie Kramer

To Heat or Not to Heat

We Coloradans are riding our fall weather-coaster. Sunny 80-90 degree days plunge into cold nights.

Every year, my goal in the fall is to go as long as possible without using either the air conditioner, or more importantly, the furnace. I want to keep my hard-earned Social Security out of the coffers of Xcel Energy for as long as possible.

This September was one of the warmest on record, so we cruised easily into October without turning up the heat.

The other morning, when I went to let the chickens out, it didn’t look like fall at all. The leaves on the neighborhood trees were verdant, with just a hint of gold hidden high atop a nearby cottonwood. Volunteer snapdragons, yellow, pink, and white, bloomed in the lush clover beside the flagstone path next to our garage.

However, I shivered in my heavy fleece hoodie and pulled the hood up. My breath came out in little steamy puffs. My hens, sporting built-in down jackets, didn’t mind the almost freezing temperature and scampered happily away from the coop and onto the grass.

I trundled back to the house, made a cup of tea, turned on the fireplace, and wrapped myself in two blankets. I left my hood covering my head.

My husband came in just as I got cozy. The look of concern and amusement on his face made me feel like the Little Match Girl.

“Should we turn on the furnace?” I asked.

He hesitated, then nodded. Like me, he’s not eager to contribute to the record breaking $1.74 billion profit Xcel raked in during 2022.

The furnace kicked on a few minutes later. I waited for that dusty belch smell to blast us. It never did, or at least we didn’t notice it, which says something about our housekeeping nowadays.

I’m grateful I have a choice about how warm or cold to be. I’m told it’s a privilege to heat my home, but I see it as a basic human right. I hope Xcel will, too.

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Mark Kramer
Mark Kramer
Oct 12, 2023


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