By: Revanche

Why you should read your bills: the spiking phenomenon

September 25, 2008

After the pleasantly sub-$100 electric bills of the past few months, I thought we’d finally nailed down some of the basics in reducing our energy usage. This past month should have been even better than the summer months because we didn’t use the air con once all month, and we were down to two people in the house for half the month while Mom was away visiting family. That should have made for a stellar-ly low bill, not a 120% increase!

Perhaps this is something electric companies just do, perhaps it’s something that I’ve simply failed to notice and is considered “best business practices.” Whatever the case may be, I’m fairly, oh, not ok with it. Our electric company has deemed it acceptable to send me a bill for more than twice the amount of last month’s, based on an estimated usage. An estimated 40% greater usage. What the heck is that all about?

You know what? It doesn’t matter what they think that’s all about it, because that’s completely out of the question. I sent in a request for a meter re-read because if they think I’m just forking over nearly $200 because they think I used that many kilowatts when I know I didn’t …. !! Hmph. The nerve of some people.

As I scroll down my usage history of the past few years, I see that there’s a spike every September billing period, and wonder if I foolishly missed the part of the bill where it states “Estimated read” every year before. Then again, I do have bills from November of last year, and it couldn’t have been that hard to miss. I suppose it doesn’t matter now, it’s too late to go back to last year and 2006. For now, though, I’m going to make sure that darned meter is actually read.

Note: They initially refused to come out saying that it was “in line” was previous billing history and that a re-read was “not justified.” Uh-uh! A firm note telling them exactly what I’d do if they continued to balk convinced them of the error of their ways. Guess what? The re-read of the meter two days ago resulted in a total read of 100 kW LESS (halfway through the next month) than their estimated amount for the last billing month. See?? Jerks.

2 Responses to “Why you should read your bills: the spiking phenomenon”

  1. So do they charge you less the next month to compensate? If not, I’d bitch at them.

    Glad you got them to come out a do a reread. My bill was a little high this month… maybe I should check on that….

  2. Revanche says:

    paranoid asteroid: No, I insisted that they re-read the bill and properly bill me for this month’s statement since I caught this error early enough that I wasn’t in danger of missing the due date.

    Since then, they’ve read the meter, and adjusted the amount online. It’s not clear to me how they retallied because I didn’t think they could read old dates on the meter, but when I compared the total kW usage and daily average, it was not out of line with the prior month’s. Even if they calculated too much for Sept, it’ll just be a lower amount for Oct since they’ll have to use that (possibly artificial) read as a starting point. Does that make sense?

    I highly recommend checking your bills!

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