Monday, July 30, 2007

This one. No, that one! Wait, maybe it's this one...

We've been having a bit of trouble with the Power Company. Their billing systems are a little strange but I suppose they help the low-income customers. By this, I mean they average out your bill so you pay the same amount every month instead of higher during summer months where you use more power for the air conditioner or lower during winter months when there are alternative heat sources besides electricity. I don't like this system. I like seeing exactly how much electricity I used that month and pay for it.

Money is tight and I was a little late on paying the Power Company. Oops! I expected to pay a late fee and be done with it. No, they sent me multiple billing statements, and it confused the hell out of me! I once got two separate bills in the same day from them with different amounts. I paid the one I thought I was supposed to pay and apparently I screwed it up even more and got 7 more separate billing statements. WTF?!? One of the letters said our power would be cut off on July 30th (today!!) if I didn't pay the outstanding bill. So I wrote a check for one of the bills and sent that off.

Hubby called the Power Company this morning because they called him last Friday saying the power was going to be shut off Monday unless the balance was paid. I thought I just paid it! Turns out they wanted me to pay a different bill. I told Hubby to tell them to stop sending me so many damn bills and I wouldn't get so damned confused on which one to pay! They told Hubby that the order was already given to shut our power off and he had to run to their bank directly and pay and then call back with the receipt number and then they'd call the electric man to cancel the order. The woman on the phone told us we owed this much and shit, we didn't have enough funds in the account, so Hubby would have to drive to the bank and deposit some money to cover the check. The bank is an hours drive away. I would keep watch for the electric man and if he came up the drive I was going to get on my hands and knees and cry crocodile tears and beg him (her?) not to turn off the power.

So, Hubby drives like a madman to the bank, then turns around to rush to their bank only to find out he needed the account number for the Power Company. Agh! He rushes home and gives the Power Company a quick call to tell them he is on the way and to please "call off the dogs". Then the lady on the phone tells him he can pay over the phone and the amount they needed was far less than the original amount. Hubby could have saved himself an hour's drive to our bank to deposit money. Sonofa#$%&$%^#$%$&%^$!!!!! See what I mean?? Even when we talk to them on the phone they confuse us!

I would change power companies except this Power Company has a monopoly on the state so we are out of luck on that. From now on, I will be sure to pay the Power Company's bill the minute I receive it (them?). This was not worth the headache and higher blood pressure, not to mention 80 miles of wasted gas. But at least we still have power. I have started to think about ways to use less electricity so we aren't so dependent on them. Break out the grill and cook outside more. Hang more wash on the line. Turning off all the lights and appliances that don't get used much: microwave, stereo, copier... Get battery-powered clocks. Any other ideas???

10 comments:

DJ Kirkby said...

Hi sweetie, how about turning off all the things that normaly sit on standby, the computer screen, the remote access for the TV, that kinda thing? We went through the same kind of hassle when we moved to this house with our TV supplier, it was bizzarre! It went on for months with no TV for the boys and although number 3 doesnt watch much that is how he calms down if very stressed so we really needed the TV to be working! We complained to our Ombudsman, I am sure you must have someone in the same position who keeps an eye on comapnies and steps in if nessesary to tell them to sort themselves out. Write them a letter or your local politician and ask them to sort this company's billing system out as it sounds outrageous!

The Good Woman said...

Heavens! Sounds awful! It's really annoying though that, by being so anooying they have successfully converted you into being an early payer. But what's a girl to do. Aren't there monopoly laws where you are?

Dana said...

That sounds more like the phone company (SBC/AT&T)! I was really glad when Texas deregulated their power companies. Now we have a choice and my choice was much cheaper than the previous monopoly!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Can you get hold of those energy-saving lightbulbs? Solar heating for hot water? The latest thing over here are those windmill things in back yards, but evidently they don't actually generate that much power. I would write a letter of complaint as well. Yes, you should have paid on time, but still they did give you the runaround (literally).

jenny said...

Dj-- I do plan to write a letter of complaint. While I realize I am the one who made a late payment, I thought it was bit extreme on their part to send so many billing statements. We plan to do some research again and see if there is another Power company, but when we first moved here, it was only the one company..

Good Woman-- How true!! I will never pay late again! I only wonder if people paying late is a common occurance and this is their way of getting their money?? By bombarding customers with 50 million bills?! I'll have to check into the monoploy laws..

Dana-- Virginia did that, but West Virginia hasnt. sigh..

Coffee-- We do plan to switch to a tankless water heater within the year, and we replace burned out lightbulbs with energy saving ones. I don't see why I should toss out perfectly good lightbulbs until they burn out first! With all the trees, I don't think a windmill would be very effective here, though they do use wind power energy at the big coal plants to help run the equipment. I can see huge wind mills all along the ridge of the mountains when I drive about 2 hours west.

Lisa C. said...

I'm sorry to hear that you had gone thru. We pay the bills the day after we receive them in the mail without having headaches. My husband writes the amounts of our bills in our checkbook in advance before we get our paychecks. He liked my idea when we got together.
Several months after I cancelled the Verizon account when we moved and they sent us the statement saying we owed them nothing, they turned us to the collecting agency for $68. I called both and they asked me for a copy of my statement the Verizon sent to us with zero balance left which I did. I received the letter from both of them with zero balance left. I put it in my file cabinet. I received another letter from Collection agency again saying Verizon turned me there for $38. I sent them the copies of the statement. I haven't heard from again. I also reveived a letter from them saying that the lab office turned me to them for $450.00 which I had paid. I called the lab office telling the person I did made the payment and he said I had to send them the copy of my credit card statement showing the payment I made. I was chewing his ears out and telling him that these people need to be careful with their billing system. I sent the copies to him and also the collection agency. I covered my account number on a statement with a piece of paper when I made the copies. I keep everything in my file cabinet in case we need the proof to show. These people like them have been so careless.

Sparx said...

WTF? 7 bills in a month?

jenny said...

Lisa-- geez! That sounded like a mess!! I'm glad you kept your records for proof. We do that also, keep records and billing statements for a certain amount of time before shredding it. We closed a credit card account and they told us there was zero balance. Now, over 2 years later, we got a bill from them saying we had some money in there and we should use the card to take advantage of it. Huh?? We aren't biting on that one! They can keep the $3.43!!

Sparx-- Seriously!! 7 bills in one month!! Crazy!

Lisa C. said...

Hey! We have two car bills. Fun??

jenny said...

Lisa-- Ugh! Been there, Done that, Don't want to do it again!! We had 2 car payments once upon a time and NEVER want to do it again! You have my sympathies!