Latest electric bill for January 2011 at "The Compound" in Guimaras was only P1,580.55 (35.81 US Dollars.) Not bad for a family of five, and one of the lowest bills we've had since moving to the Philippines in July 2009. Our December 2010 bill was P2,236.84 (50.61 USD), November bill P2,666.23 (60.31 USD), October bill P1,617.39 (36.58 USD), and our September bill was a whopping P3,506.01 (79.32 USD) up from a charge of only P1,204.91 (27.26 USD) in August. Our local power company in Guimaras, Guimelco, increased our bill in September due to the buying of power from Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development. When you're on a fixed income as we are, the difference in the higher bills can really impact our budget.
EVERYONE at our home is ecstatic when a low electric bill is delivered via motorcycle messenger because that means the resident kano will be very happy. I cannot begin to tell you the countless times I've had to go into rooms with lights left on, and when I question our 11-year-old nephew or 13-year-old niece, no one ever knows who left the lights on. I guess a frickin' duewende did it, but since they're too short to reach the light switches, I do not have any idea how the mischievous little buggers are doing it. (But I have also caught my 77-year-old mother-in-law leaving the lights on in a room so I guess it can't ALL be blamed on the duwende.)
I'm sure the decrease in our electric bill in the Philippines is due in large part to the relatively cool weather we have been experiencing (or maybe the duwendes have not been as active in turning the lights on.) This past January felt so much cooler than January 2010. We only ran the air con about half the time we usually do (which is every night on an eight hour timer), and I haven't needed the fan blowing on me constantly all day. Our rural province of Guimaras doesn't have any big cities and masses of people which can generate more heat, and the temperatures have felt moderate.
The lows have been 21 ºC (69.8 ºF), and a high today of only 26 ºC ( 78.8 ºF.) There's been some very pleasant breezes blowing all day and night which makes for some comfortable conditions along with the lower humidity of 83% versus the usual 87% or higher. While the recent spate of cooler weather is not "fallish" in any fashion, it still is a welcome relief because the extremely hot and dry months of April and May are not too far off (highs of 35 ºC , 95 ºF, with intolerable high humidity levels.)
But who knows? Maybe I'm just getting better acclimated to the weather or some duwendes are fanning me with palm tree branches as I sleep. Whatever the reason, I'm glad that the cost of electricity has gone down this month and hope it stays that way. A lower electricity cost on our little slice of paradise at "The Compound" in Guimaras always makes this kano smile. That along with the fact that I haven't been shoveling any snow like my friends back in the Midwest have been or running around freezing to death. Who cares if we have duwendes? I can live with them. As long as the little mischief makers remember to turn off the lights!