Pasadena Water and Power sent us a brochure cheerfully advertising that we could be eligible to receive a discount. It turned out to be a rebate offered for people who buy more efficient washing machines. Given that our entire apartment is about the size of a washing machine, that was not an option for us. Jordan and I were met with the paradox that we didn’t have enough money to save money.
Actually PWP has a whole range of discounts based on spending, or having spent, money. They give discounts for efficient central air conditioning–but no discounts for not having (or not using) air conditioning at all. Pro tip: One-bedroom apartments don’t come with central air conditioning.
Then there are the appliance-recycling rebates. Fine, but you need to be in the market for a new appliance in the first place, and you have to already own an appliance that qualifies. Our fridge, for instance, is too small to get any sort of rebate. Plus, those of us with landlords don’t have the impunity to rip out appliances as we see fit. Dishwashers and programmable thermostats are also among the potential rebates we can’t claim.
I am, as you may have noticed, rueful. I am filled with rue. I don’t blame PWP; I am certainly not opposed to environmental incentives, and there’s really no sort of incentive that isn’t monetary. I’m perfectly aware that my desire for incentives that happen to fit my current situation is selfishly motivated. But there remains a curious inequity to discounts that the poor can’t cash in on, and to incentives for further consumption not balanced with incentives for doing without.