Thursday, March 01, 2007

Following the award of an Oscar for "Best Documentary" to Davis Guggenheim's documentary biopic "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore is drawing fire from right-wing bloggers and political action committees. Some have even followed him back home to Tennessee, tracking down his electric bills with the Nashville Electric Service for his Nashville "mansion" in Belle Meade.

According to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR), Gore was billed for nearly 221,000 kilowatt hours in 2006, more than 20 times the national average. The story has become a favorite of right-wing bloggers like Matt Drudge and Michelle Malkin, as well as television and radio pundits like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. Gore has admitted the large electric bill, explaining that he has been trying to reduce the carbon footprint of his house in Belle Meade by signing up for TVA's Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology. It also turns out that TCPR, the "think tank" which dug up his electric bills, is basically another front outfit for the petroleum industry.

Like many other Nashvillians, the Gores probably do consume far more kilowatt hours of electricity than the national average. Tennessee ran on cheap TVA power for decades, and houses built between 1950 and 1970 almost always use electricity for heating and air-conditioning as well as lighting. Because of its hot, humid summers and cold winters, the average number of kilowatt hours consumed in the "East South Central" district of the United States is considerably higher than the national average used in the TCPR study. The Gores' consumption is only three times higher than the regional average. I suspect that their consumption is about average for Belle Meade,
an upper class bedroom community west of Nashville. I do not believe that the Gores built their house. I think that they moved there when he opened the headquarters for his 2000 presidential campaign.

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At 4:57 PM , Anonymous Lionheart said...

Now come on! Al Gore claims to be a green crusader. However his electricity bill suggests otherwise. And before you tell me that the Gores consumption is around average for their area I would like to say that this man and his family are rich. It can't be that expensive to install solar panels on the roof, energy efficient light bulbs and other energy saving gadgets. If Al Gore really wants to combat climate change then he will consider the options I have just listed.

At 5:12 PM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

My understanding is that he does have solar panels, has replaced his light bulbs, etc.... He is running campaigns and two or three businesses out of that house. I think the difference is probably just due to electric heating, which is not nearly as common in other states.

At 8:58 PM , Blogger Grayson said...

The rich are different than you and me. That's what they tell us. And FYI DT, I responded on the SGR to your comment about my Bob Woodruff post. Thanks for reading!

At 3:46 AM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

Belle Meade would not have been my first choice of a neighborhood to move to as a Democratic presidential candidate. I actually think Gore's lifestyle shows, however, that he is very much in the "mainstream" of good ol' boy Southern aristocrat politicians. He did live in D.C. for part of his youth, but he went to Vandy and moves in very traditional upper class circles socially.


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