Last One to Turn on the Thermostat Wins

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The competition is, um … heating up? Around the country, anti-consumer websites and community forums are hosting “no heat” challenges. The winners—who win bragging rights, perhaps a trophy, certainly lower utility bills—are the households that leave their heat in the off position the longest.

The Star-Ledger profiles some families who are in on the challenge in New Jersey—always among the richest states in the country, mind you. The median income in Maplewood, one of the towns where the “no heat” game is on, is around $95,000. If money isn’t a problem, why would a family endure the cold well into winter, suffer watching TV in a Sopranos-like “great room” where you can see your breath? Well, even rich folks like to save money. New Jersey is also one of the most heavily taxed states in the country, and unfortunately, you can’t turn off the local government from time to time to lower your taxes. (Imagine if you could?) So people are saving in places that are under their control, like their utility bills. Also, this is a competition, and people love competitions.

One gripe: According to the competition rules in at the online forum for Maplewood and neighboring South Orange, space heaters and fireplaces can be used. Space heaters? Come on, that’s soft. Seems like cheating to me. Toughen up people!