POWER: Electric Catch-22

For owners of all-electric homes —houses that use electricity for heating, lighting and all major appliances —the energy crisis has been an unmitigated financial disaster. Electricity has become more expensive, partly because power companies have been passing along the increased costs of coal and fuel oil. The efforts of homeowners to conserve electric power during the energy crisis have had a devastating catch-22 effect: because electricity use declined, the utility companies' revenues fell off. To recoup the loss, the companies have jacked up their rates still further, in some cases to the highest levels since World War II.

Soaring electricity...

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