In the old days (read “when I was a child”), most people called the electric bill their “light bill.” Because, lights were pretty much the primary leeches of that magic current flowing into the house.
Even the logo for the power company was “Reddy Kilowatt,”a sort of spokes-filament lightbulb character.
Bear in mind, this was also a time when most families were still drying laundry outdoors on a clothesline, and air conditioning (central or otherwise) was a luxury afforded only by the upper-UPPER middle class and upward. Heat was still largely provided by gas, fireplaces, even coal in some areas. Dishwashers, for the most part, looked exactly like the lady of the house (or the daughter by age 10 or so, said this voice of experience 😉), because they were the “dishwashers.”
Consequently, my grandmother and most Americans referred to that particular monthly expense as “the light bill.” Furthermore, every member of the family was trained to “shut off the light when you leave the room!” My mom made it quite clear to us that switch on the wall had two functions – on and more importantly, OFF.
However, as major appliances were invented, evolved, and gradually became more affordable, the household lights began to dim as the electricity eating culprits.
We don’t often realize, until a storm knocks out the power, that practically everything we use requires that charge. Nowadays, when the power is out, we have nothing – no heat or air, no television, refrigerator/ice maker, microwave, washer/dryer, stove, wifi/Internet, charging source for computers and cell phones…
Indeed that old “light bill” carries much more than lights in the 21st century.
Well, except maybe this time of year, especially for the Clark Griswold wannabes.
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