The mail carrier index: How many pink envelopes?
Today's Wall Street Journal has more solid proof, citing reports that localities such as Memphis and Pennsylvania had increased utilities shut-offs between 38% and 78% so far this year, with a New Jersey utility company making the chilling observation that it has been "diligent in our shutoff activities" in 2008.
But you hardly need independent verification; all you have to do is walk around your neighborhood and look for the door knob notices in bright colors, the closer to red, the worse off your neighbors are. Utilities are responding to the situation without remorse, considering reducing the past-due amount that will require shut-off and installing new wireless, digital meters that can be shut off remotely without extra cost for sending out a crew. (Brilliant! Power to the ... oh wait ...)
Have you seen many pink envelopes in your neighborhood? I've seen a few in mine, but it's the same houses all the time, so it hardly feels connected to the economic crisis. But with prices up everywhere, this winter could prove to be full of bright colors.