Whew. With only four days until the BGE rate hike kicks in, we finally know what we’re going to have to pay. I was getting worried. See, I don’t have the “average” BGE bill of $83 a month. I’m home with the kids all day, washing their clothes, washing their dishes, turning on hall lights because they’re too frightened to venture upstairs in the dark, leaving on the hall light until they fall asleep, again because they’re not big fans of the dark. We use a lot of energy. BGE’s energy saving guru Allegra Bennett offers plenty of very logical tips for saving energy: turn off lights when you leave a room, turn down air conditioning, run the washing machine only when it’s full. But children are not very logical. They can’t reach the switch to turn off lights when they leave a room – and they are constantly zipping from room to room. If the air conditioning hasn’t made the house cool enough, they get cranky and crabby. They require the laundry done for all kinds of emergencies: they’ve thrown up on their clothes, they just found their baseball uniform covered in grass stains and the game starts in an hour, potty training didn’t go well, etc. When they grow a little older and spend more time outside of the house, I’m sure they’ll be able to save more energy. But for now, we’re at the mercy of BGE. So, I, for one, am thankful that I don’t have to figure out a way to ante up 72 percent more than what I’ve been paying with only four month’s notice. I already had my major bills budgeted for the year. I can handle surprises, but four months just didn’t seem like fair warning. Then with all the back and forth between the governor, the legislators and the candidates we were really getting down to the wire here. I thought I might have to call a bookie. But now its 15 percent. I think I can cover that. I know it’s going to go up to market rates in 11 months (although it appears payments can be deferred even then). But 11 months is fair warning. I have time to figure out how to make adjustments in that time. And, we should all definitely be potty trained by then. Oh, and now that it’s all over I feel I should apologize to Constellation CEO Mayo A. Shattuck III for intending to use his name as a curse word when I opened my July BGE bill. I know he’s still very, very rich. But, he did make the gesture of donating much of his compensation and waiving millions he would have made in bonuses and pension payments if the merger between his company and Florida Power & Lights succeeds. So, in acknowledgment of that gesture, I will just use a mild 15-percent kind of curse when I open my bill.