Back and forth, hither and yon – whether on my habitual trajectory between Touraine and Paris or further afield… destinations, encounters, events and observations I can’t resist sharing.


December 1, 2010

When I moved to NYC after college, the impossible dream was to take over the lease on a rent-controlled apartment. Rent control symbolized mythic, affordable Manhattan before housing ate up half a paycheck – the stuff of urban legend.  I never got lucky.

Well, every dog has its day, and I can finally gloat in my rural backwater that I’m grandfathered into EJP, a bargain electricity option which EDF (formerly known as Electricité de France) no longer offers because it’s far too good a deal for the consumer.  I’m tempted to be smug, except EJP is a blessing disguised as a curse, and it was more fun when you could bitch about it.  Now complaining you can’t do laundry or use your electric oven because it’s an EJP day is considered obnoxious.

EDF created the EJP (Effacement des Jours de Pointe) option for secondary residences, where cold weather consumption occurs (if at all) on weekends and holidays.  They offered a very low annual rate, excluding the 22 coldest weekdays of the year, when national consumption peaks and the EJP rate correspondingly spiked.  Where EDF miscalculated, was promising not to include weekends, school holidays and the wee hours between 1am and 7am.

Like many EJP clients, we signed up eighteen years ago presuming our pre renovation country wreck would never become home base, but eventually it did.  EDF calculated that urban transplants like us couldn’t forgo the use of appliances large and small on the twenty two dreariest, coldest days of the year.  Wrong!  We made it a game of challenge – candlelit homework, boiling water over a gas burner instead of the electric kettle, drying hair/laundry in front of the fire.  It taught us conservation the old fashioned way, through deprivation.

EDF fought back to make us cry uncle.  Since new subscriptions ended, they’ve taken to clustering EJP days Monday through Friday, sometimes two weeks in a row – even when weather is mild.   But we EJPers are willing to turn our socks inside out, relegate the hair dryer to Saturday, run laundry machines and dishwashers on timers, and get by on soup, pasta and eggs to preserve our miserable privilege.

Occasionally dinner party menus are drastically simplified (take out) and weekend guests informed on arrival Friday evening that the electric radiators in the cottage don’t turn on before midnight.

EJP days used to hit you by surprise but now we’re informed by email the evening prior, permitting extra time to curse ill luck having promised cakes for a school bake sale or encouraged Jeffrey’s dealer to schedule a midweek visit.

Ding.  Just received an alert that tomorrow will be our third EJP day in a row.  Add last Friday and that only leaves 18 more to go before April Fool’s Day.

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