Thursday, March 03, 2011

Gas Story

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Sorry to disappoint some of you, but this is not a TMI Thursday story. When we moved last January, we quickly learned that we had separate bills for gas and electric. The previous owners moved out and had left the heat at 60 degrees before we moved in. Between getting our home’s temperature to a comfortable 70 degrees, the movers constantly leaving the door open while bringing in our stuff, and the activation fee graciously added by the gas company, our first bill was extremely scary. Although we budgeted for the mortgage and other bills, we were completely unprepared for the gas bill. Fortunately, the bill leveled off significantly, and became virtually non-existent over the summer when we switched from heat to air conditioning which is part of the electric bill.

Here’s the story: the gas bill has remained non-existent throughout the fall and even now. Our gas bill has been $9.56 ($9.00 for a distribution service system charge and $0.56 for the state & local utility tax) for each of the last 8 or 9 months or so, and I don’t understand why. The heat is on (oh, it’s on the street), and the bill shows our 12-month energy use history, so clearly we’re using HDD (high definition Dalmatians?).

The only thing I can figure out from the bill is that our total Therms (TH) used is 0. I’m not sure how this is possible, and I feel like there must be some kind of mistake. I’m dreading the day when we receive a letter from the gas company stating that there has been an error in the meter reading and that we owe 1 million dollars (this could be a slight exaggeration, but I know that some of you said this in a Dr. Evil voice, so that made it worthwhile).

Anyway, does anyone know if this is typical? I know that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is no longer in effect, but I don’t feel like it is appropriate or necessary for me to contact the gas company. Any thoughts or should I just consider myself lucky?


Johanna said...

I don't think there's any way that they will consider it a bank error in your favor when they figure it out. I'd guess that you'll eventually get a letter and a HUGE bill, so if it were me, I'd call them and let them know.

Gilahi said...

Yeah, I'm guessing you have a meter issue and you probably want to have them check it out before they decide to do it on their own.

Sean said...

Thanks Johanna & Gilahi! Based on your advice, I contacted the gas company. I was not pleased with their response. I need to be home for them to come out and check out the meter. However, they don't offer a 2 or even 4-hour window. They could come out anytime between 7 AM and 5 PM. They said that they apologized for the inconvenience, but I said that this was truly an inconvenience to them since they may be losing out of money. They didn't seem to care.

Marc said...

As someone that works for a utility, I can confirm you probably have a big bill coming your way. Sorry. You might be able to talk your way into some percentage off the total. Do you know if you have any other gas delivery options? That could give you some leverage.

lacochran's evil twin said...

Given that it was their error, they should work out an interest-free payment plan.