An electric routine

The skyrocketing electricity prices also have contributed to changes in our routines this year

ALEKK M. SAANDERS

Lifestyle is something we have to adapt after moving to a new country. I guess when most of us started living in Andalucía, we were surprised how late the local people have their meals.

Nowadays a new change has been happening in our routine, and here I mean both local people and expats. Of course, some changes in our way of living have been affected due the pandemic, but besides this, the skyrocketing electricity prices also have contributed to changes in our routines this year.

To avoid receiving high energy bills we started being cautious and practical with electricity. Most of us discovered a price-range schedule that depends upon time-of-day and thus adjusted the usage to the favourable hours: after 10pm the electricity is cheaper and from midnight to 8am the price is the lowest. And it's noticeable.

My neighbours, a couple from England, who before used to have five o'clock tea and then seven o'clock dinner have changed their meal times and start preparing the last meal three hours later, after 10pm. Therefore, they finish almost by midnight. Their bedtime has been also moved to 1.30am. For an hour and a half of cheap electricity, they manage with a dishwasher, a washing machine and vacuum cleaning.

They still remember the etiquette rule of not making noise after midnight, and that's why in the morning they always apologise for the "extra night sounds" of their electrical appliances. It is understandable.

Another neighbour from Germany is also petrified about electricity prices. Happily retired and finally settled on the Costa del Sol, before, he used to get up slowly, at around 10am, switch on the TV and without any rush, prepare and eat his breakfast. Now it is different. When he realised that the most expensive electricity starts at 10am, he first tried to go to bed earlier in order to get up at 9am and be finished with breakfast by 10am, albeit in a hurry. However, after a month of this new regime he gave up; the alarm clock has created stress that destroyed his relaxing mornings. Now he gets up again at 10am but without TV, instead of eating his favourite toast, he has a slice of fresh bread and now he takes a shower only in the evening.

Electricity prices of course are frightening, and the bill is like a lottery, mostly in the negative sense. Decreasing our use of energy nevertheless may bring benefits, besides the indirect contribution to the environment. For example, my friend stopped using a hairdryer and some weeks later she noticed her hair was healthier. Other acquaintances cut off their heating at night and cooler nights have made their sleep deeper and longer. However, my sleep got worse because at dawn house dwellers often finish with washing and the spinning vibrates the whole house as a most annoying alarm clock.