i did something the other day most normal folk don’t do…
…i called my utility company. to complain. about being undercharged.
seriously – who does that?
my city uses a “reader” on a city truck that picks up a signal transmitted by your electric meter and water meter to calculate your bill. they just roll slowly down the street once a month and all data is loaded up. they ten tack on sewage and garbage pick up and *BAM* – you’ve got your bill.
mine’s due on the 25th unless that falls on a saturday (like it does this week) or a holiday, than it’s the first day after. this time it’ll roll all the way till the 28th because of memorial day.
that gives them a shortened window to do their dirty work.
while i know of other municipalities that let bills roll for a month or two and hit you with some huge amount, lockhart cuts to the chase. the day after your bill is due (this month that’s the 29th) it goes up ten percent. the last day of the month they post a notice on your door, and you now owe your bill, plus ten percent, PLUS a “notice fee” of twenty bucks.
at noon on the first our tax dollars by the ladies behind the counter of the utility office lunch so they can sit and write disconnect notices for anybody that still hasn’t paid, and when the workers get back from lunch at 1pm they climb into city trucks and run around and shut off people’s power AND water.
economically, that’s when shit gets real. for ease of math, let’s pretend your bill is $200.
$200 – utility bill
$20 – late fee
$20 – notice fee
$50 – reconnect fee
so now your $200 bill is $290. but lest we forget, you probably got home from work after 5pm, which is when city offices close, so there’s an additional $50 after hours service fee. and add another five percent to all this if you don’t pay with cash or check.
so you can see why i don’t fuck around with my utility company.
so knowing the a/c has been running a bit more than last month i was shocked when last month’s $160 bill dropped to $65 this month. i figured i’d pay it, then one of two things would happen:
a. i’d get all the fees and fines and shit slapped at me for the phantom amount NOT on my bill but still in their system
(the least likely of the two scenarios, cause what would REALLY probably happen is…)
b. their system would catch the error, tack it on next month, and my bill would be $400 or something
hence, my call. and her request for me to carefully look at the very bottom of my bill, where it showed this month’s total was actually $210 and some change, but they had finally released my deposit back onto my account.
i say “finally” because i left said deposit back in march. of nineteen ninety-motherfuckin-six. so twenty-three years later, i guess they decided they could trust me?
turns out they’d audited some old files lately and realized that yes, my deposit had (no bullshit) been a victim of the Y2K proofing they did with their systems back in 1999, as deposits were supposed to be applied after five years of no missed payments, which would have gotten mine back to me probably around 2002 or 2003…
…i know my broke ass fucked up once or twice in the nineties, which is how i know about all the fees and shit – that’s why all the mathematically quick thought i fucked up when i said a date past “2001” but it’s five years “in good standing” and that was SO not me for the first couple of years.
so twenty-three years later, i get a low-ass bill. and now we can all move on from that Y2K drama!