Thursday, January 3, 2013

If you can't figure it out....

Why do you assume I can?  Our electric bill was \$213, and I have added and subtracted numbers every which way...and can't come up with \$213.  So I called the electric company....

Warning....there are alot of numbers in this post, and I did it purposely.  Just so you could feel the wonder and excitement that was my phone call to the electric company.

HAHA.  32 minutes on the phone and no closer to an answer.  Asked to speak to someone else, and of course no one was available, and "someone will call you back."  Not holding my breath.  How much you wanna bet I am going to have to call again???

I reached the call center and explained that I was trying to determine how they came up with \$213 for the bill.  And also that the bill stated that \$213 was my new budget amount.....and that can't be right, since that more than doubles what we are currently paying.

First she tried to tell me it was because it was the settle up month (yes, I know).  I asked how much the settle up amount was.  UHHHHH.  I said, the balance forward was \$88...is that the settle up amount.  UHHHHHH.

I asked what our new budget amount is.  UHHHHH.  Rough estimate based on previous year's usage would be \$115 (which is what I got).  But she said the computer won't tell her the new amount until the balance is settled.

OK....assuming:

New budget amount = 115
Balance Forward = 88

The sum is 203 (which is NOT 213).

Then she tried to tell me it was based on the difference between the budgeted billed amount and the usage.

Usage = 1387 (we agreed on this, based on adding up all the bills for 12 months)

Billed per the bill - 1253
But if you add up all the bills it is 1260.

So which is it?  UHHHHHH.

1387 - 1253 = 134
1387 - 1260 =  127

So we still aren't at 213.

213 - 134 = 79
213 - 127 =  86 (which is now closer to the 88 balance forward, so does that mean you are saying that 127 is the budget amount???  UHHHH)

Then she told me it was really 252 (which is the December usage + balance forward)  if we weren't on the budget plan.  What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?  We are on the budget plan.

This shouldn't be this hard:    Settle up amount + new budget rate = January bill.

Why can't the bill just say:  Your settle up amount is X.  Your new budget amount is Y.  This isn't hard....this is basic math.  But since no one knows those numbers....I am expected to just "go with" the 213.

NOOOOOOOO.  I can come up with 203....but not 213.

Then she said it was because I paid different amounts over the year.  Uh, no.  You billed 104....there were a few months that I paid a day late, so the amount got credited the next month.  But each month I had a zero balance toward the budget payment.  I paid 1286, and was billed for  1260, but still owe 88 because the usage was 1387......even though 1387-1286 is 101????

I know how to add and subtract.  If there is an error on the bill (which I think there is, since I can come up with 203), then just fix it.  If my new budget amount is 125 (which will get us to 213)....then I want to know how 1387/12 = 125, because my calculator says 115.

And this is why, ladies and gentleman....they don't want you to look at the bill.  They can't explain the bill, so they just hope you will pay what they say and go away.  If they are going to charge you an amount, you are owed an explanation of how they got to that number.

They hate people like me.

1. Sometimes I think about getting on the budget plan, but after reading your story I'm not so sure now. I am trying to get caught up from the last two months bills, I will see what the plan looks like after that. Hope you get things resolved to your favor!!

2. What's the outcome? That's crazy - hope you get an explanation that makes sense!

3. This is why I don't do the budget plan. The heat goes up in the winter and down in the summer. The water goes up in the summer and down in the winter. So I just pay them (sometimes late:))

4. We have a smart meter so I can always predict what our bill will be looking at our use in real time online. Our high bills are in the summer when the A/C runs 24/7 but in the winter they have been as low as \$60.. Also the entire house has LED bulbs, dusk to dawn timers outside, timers inside, not sure if things like that make a difference but I'm sure it saves a little bit.

HS

5. Don't take no for an answer either: I was overcharged £32 recently on a bill, and went online to pay it, so I deducted the £32 and settled the remainder - sending the company an email explaining why I wasn't paying the extra money. I'm waiting to hear the outcome...FMx

6. My settle up amount is always clearly outlined. I sometimes think companies make things completely confusing in hopes that people will give up and just pay. Many people do just pay every month without even looking at their bills. I am far too frugal to not check my bills for errors.

7. Remember the time I went and sat in BOA's lobby till they paid let me pay off my sons school loan with the money I had..they went out of there way with every excuse and I actually sat on the floor and told them I would not leave till they processed it and gave me a reciept(yes with my sons permission he was at work). I told every person who walked in they wouldn't let me pay off a debt...so maybe you need to pack up everyone and sit in there office till they fix it.

I hate utility companies and they hate customers like us that just don't blindly pay our bills without explanations

8. We are on the budget plan because I don't like surprises. But it's always clearly itemized every month - & believe me I DO check it! Your post reminds me why I always email rather than calling if I can - all those numbers thrown out there verbally seem way more confusing than if they were written in an email LOL