During these long hot summer days sometimes the only shelter from the heat is an air conditioned home, or shopping centre, or movie theatre, or even going to an air-conditioned workplace can be relief from the unrelenting heat.
As I write this there is a heatwave effecting Melbourne and Adelaide with consecutive days of 40+ degrees Celsius. The last time there was a recorded heat wave of this magnitude in the southern portions of Australia was around the turn of the century in 1908, over 100 years ago.
Brace Your Self & Turn That Air Con Up!
The first Air-conditioning system
Around that time Willis Haviland Carrier developed the very first Air-conditioning system in 1902. Unfortunately for sweaty Australians the development was made in the United States of America and it would not be for many years that the invention was sufficient accessible for the average person to have an Air-conditioning unit in their home. Today however around 70% of all Australian homes are endowed with some kind of climate control device installed in their homes.
However there are hidden costs to the installation of any additional air-conditioning unit. There are estimates that upgrading the electricity network to cope with the demand a single added unit places on our already over burdened electricity networks range from $5000 to $10000 for each and every extra air-conditioning unit.
The costs that the Power companies incur in improving electricity delivery for peak periods, such as during heatwaves is, of course, passed on to the average consumer. In effect every single customer is billed for increasing the output range to benefit only those with an air-con system. Just to illustrate this point, the maintenance of power lines and poles has nearly doubled for N.S.W. residents from about $657 per annum to over $1100 in just the last five years. It is once more a case of the have-nots subsidising those that have.
This is unlikely to change any time soon, in fact it is much more likely to get worse, with climate change being recognised more and more as a real and potent force at effect upon our planet.
A report issued by the Australian Climate Council states that findings are irrefutable with heat records being broken three times more often than cold records since 1971.
Professor Will Steffen, co-author of the report states “The current heatwave follows on from a year of extreme heat, the hottest summer on record and the hottest year on record,” He added that “It is clear that climate change is making heatwaves more frequent and severe,” For more on this please click Here
One of the major difficulties facing average residents of Australia is that power outage invariably accompanies a heat wave. The Victorian Government has warned residents that up to 100,000 homes maybe effected by power cuts due to the massive demand on electricity resources at this time. This warning was issued at a time that 10,000 homes were without power, but they probably got the message loud and clear.
So what are we to do about this? Well one of the best pieces of advice is to simply cool one or two rooms in your home instead of all of them. Or make use of public facilities such as the cinema or even the library. Who knows, you may even learn something useful whilst you are there.
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