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Things I’ll Miss When I Move

Friday, December 3, 2010, 12:08 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

It is with cautious optimism and a knock on wood that I am planning to move into a new home around the end of the year, leaving the town that has been my home since 1968. I would love to stay here, but real estate prices are too high for my budget. So pending a favorable decision from the nice people at Sovereign Bank, I will move to a town about 20 miles south on the Massachusetts-Connecticut border which is home to a lake whose name might or might not be the longest place name in the United States.

Seal of the Town of Shrewsbury, MassachusettsWebster has Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagogg-chaubunagungamaugg (edit: the name isn’t actually hyphenated; I added the hyphen to enable a line break), but it doesn’t have its own electric/cable/internet/telephone company whose profits don’t go to outside shareholders. Shrewsbury, the town I’m leaving, does. Yes, we’re very independent and self-sufficient in this town. The municipal utility is one thing I will miss dearly, not only because I am a friend of the general manager and can call him at home if I have a big problem (something I’ve never done, though others I know have) but also because they do things a commercial utility never would. Like this:

Thanks to lower than expected power costs for 2010, Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations (SELCO) finds itself in an unusually strong financial position. SELCO is passing the savings on to all SELCO electric customers through a one-time electric rate reduction for all rate classes on December 2010 bills. Regular rates will resume with the January 2011 billing.

SELCO’s regular residential electric rate is $0.1177 per kWh. With this one-time rate reduction, the effective residential electric rate for December 2010 bills will be $.0706 per kWh – a discount of 40%. For the average 750 kWh per month customer, this represents a savings of $35.33 for the month of December.

My savings won’t be that high; my entire electric bill doesn’t reach $35.33 except in summer months when I’m running the air conditioner. But that isn’t the point. What do you think are the chances that National Grid would refund an unexpected windfall back to the customers? About the same as my chance of winning $100,000 in tonight’s Mass Cash lottery drawing. Neither will I be able to get digital cable television service for $45 a month, trouble-free high-speed internet for $40 a month, or the CEO’s home phone number.

Among the other things I’ll miss when I move (knock on wood): living within a ten-minute walk of my church, my credit union, and my primary care physician; being on the bus route that drops me off three blocks from work; having three great supermarkets within three miles; driving past the Artemas Ward Homestead; walking to Dean Park; caroling on the Common; the giant American flag behind the Civil War memorial; my mechanic; and lots of other things I haven’t yet realized I will miss.

Now, lest I further risk offending the real estate gods (“You like Shrewsbury so much? We can arrange for you to stay there for a few more months…”), I’ll stop. Additional sentimentality can wait until after the closing. Knock on wood.

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