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9/23/2020 3:47:02 PM
Posted: 6/20/2011 9:25:07 AM EDT
Should utility companies be allowed to estimate your bill?  So I get my gas bill today.  My house is all electric but a gas furnace.  Though the electric heat pump is my primary heating.  



Here is my bills:

March - $60.08 actual

April - $76.28 actual

May - $29.88 actual

June - $37.79 estimated



Yeah I'm sure they will right the wrongs when they do an actual meter reading (probably in 6months ).  Do they do this in the summer to get through the lean months or what?  

I don't get the option of estimating my expenses (in my favor).  I guess I'm of the mind that I should only pay what I've used.  
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 9:28:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/20/2011 9:29:14 AM EDT by stevelish]
The reader probably just missed the last months reading.  Most likely they will get an actual reading the next month and will make adjustments to make you current.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 9:29:09 AM EDT
Hey it's only 6 bucks...feel lucky they didn't zap you for more money. My electric Co banged me big time this winter  then made up for it the next month..it was a shocker though..
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 9:31:00 AM EDT
I guess the thing is that I don't get to estimate my expenses.  I can't go to the gas station and pump $40 and then say that I only estimated $20 based on previous months.  It's a dumb concept.  
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 9:32:31 AM EDT
Originally Posted By tbougie1:
Hey it's only 6 bucks...feel lucky they didn't zap you for more money. My electric Co banged me big time this winter ..it was a shocker though..


Go on...

TRG
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 9:32:40 AM EDT
Originally Posted By metalsaber:
I guess the thing is that I don't get to estimate my expenses.  I can't go to the gas station and pump $40 and then say that I only estimated $20 based on previous months.  It's a dumb concept.  



Just send them an "estimated payment". Should all work out in the end...
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 9:33:15 AM EDT
The whole estimated thing is shit. Just pay for what you use. I check my meter every billing cycle for gas and power.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 9:33:33 AM EDT



Originally Posted By tifosi:



Originally Posted By metalsaber:

I guess the thing is that I don't get to estimate my expenses.  I can't go to the gas station and pump $40 and then say that I only estimated $20 based on previous months.  It's a dumb concept.  






Just send them an "estimated payment". Should all work out in the end...






 
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 9:34:32 AM EDT
Public utilities are regulated. It's not as if they just bill you for a number that will be beneficial to them, and go on. If they have to estimate, it is based on averages and degree days. If they overestimated you, your bill will be cheaper next month.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 9:52:39 AM EDT
If they offer "budget billing" you might want to check into it.

Your bill is the same every month based on an average.

Once a year you either make up any actual difference of get a check for any overage.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 9:54:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By metalsaber:
Should utility companies be allowed to estimate your bill?  So I get my gas bill today.  My house is all electric but a gas furnace.  Though the electric heat pump is my primary heating.  

Here is my bills:
March - $60.08 actual
April - $76.28 actual
May - $29.88 actual
June - $37.79 estimated

Yeah I'm sure they will right the wrongs when they do an actual meter reading (probably in 6months ).  Do they do this in the summer to get through the lean months or what?  
I don't get the option of estimating my expenses (in my favor).  I guess I'm of the mind that I should only pay what I've used.  


Well, when they want to install "smart meters" that will report usage back, people go berserk and think the meters are spying on them.

They didn't get out to read your meter for whatever reason.  They try to estimate as best they can based on prior usage.  they might be a little over or a little under, and it'll be made up in the enxt bill either way.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:15:16 AM EDT
We just got smart meters here, PG&E no longer guesstimates your bill.

This way, we get screwed every month.


Steve
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:17:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By stevem1a:
We just got smart meters here, PG&E no longer guesstimates your bill.

This way, we get screwed every month.


Steve


Such a hassle having to pay your bills, right?
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:18:06 AM EDT



Originally Posted By ShadowAngel:



Originally Posted By stevem1a:

We just got smart meters here, PG&E no longer guesstimates your bill.



This way, we get screwed every month.





Steve




Such a hassle having to pay your bills, right?



no kidding.  I would rather pay the actual cost instead of an estimate that could be way off.



 
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:25:55 AM EDT
Originally Posted By metalsaber:

Originally Posted By ShadowAngel:
Originally Posted By stevem1a:
We just got smart meters here, PG&E no longer guesstimates your bill.

This way, we get screwed every month.


Steve


Such a hassle having to pay your bills, right?

no kidding.  I would rather pay the actual cost instead of an estimate that could be way off.
 


It's not that big of a deal.. as was explained earlier, they couldn't get to your meter for whatever reason, so they estimated it. If you don't like it, go to your meter, get a reading, and call it in to them. Or wait until next month, and the reading they get will compensate. The gas company doesn't get anything out of overestimating your bill.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:27:53 AM EDT
Originally Posted By aquaman67:
If they offer "budget billing" you might want to check into it.

Your bill is the same every month based on an average.

Once a year you either make up any actual difference of get a check for any overage.



I had that option on electric and chose not to.  The reason being I am just as capable of putting $185 into an ING Direct account every month and withdrawing the actual amount owed.  I also get to keep my money and earn a little interest.

Last year we had a blizzard and they didn't come read the meters in Jan so my bill was < $100 (should have been $200ish).  Come Feb they read them and my bill was $300.  I didn't care as I had put the money aside, however, a friend of mine  didn't and got a nice $600 bill because he didn't think enough to realize that his last bill was way lower than it should have been.

I use ING Direct for most of my budgeting these days as I can create an unlimited number of accounts for different ongoing/short term expenses and have the money in my hands until it has to go out.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:39:46 AM EDT
They either missed the meter, didn't have access to the meter, or are trying to save money by estimating.  Your bill should have a number that you can call up and give them your own meter reading if you that worried about it.



They must have gotten a new meter reader at my house a couple years ago because all of the sudden my bills were being estimated with the note that they couldn't access the meter, which is in my basement.  The basement was never locked and the meter hadn't been moved in the 100 years since the house was built, so there is really no excuse.  A couple phone calls cleared it all up.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:42:24 AM EDT
We belong to a co-op.  Every month I go out and read the meter and then call them.  They then send me a bill and I pay it.

Seems to work well.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:44:29 AM EDT



Originally Posted By Plumbata:


We belong to a co-op.  Every month I go out and read the meter and then call them.  They then send me a bill and I pay it.



Seems to work well.


I just wish my was a digit based instead of dials.  I swear the thing was probably installed when the house was built.  



 
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:46:59 AM EDT
Originally Posted By metalsaber:

Originally Posted By Plumbata:
We belong to a co-op.  Every month I go out and read the meter and then call them.  They then send me a bill and I pay it.

Seems to work well.

I just wish my was a digit based instead of dials.  I swear the thing was probably installed when the house was built.  
 


It's easy! Read it from left to right. If the dial is between two numbers, use the lower of the two.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:49:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/20/2011 10:49:38 AM EDT by metalsaber]





Originally Posted By ShadowAngel:





Originally Posted By metalsaber:
Originally Posted By Plumbata:


We belong to a co-op.  Every month I go out and read the meter and then call them.  They then send me a bill and I pay it.





Seems to work well.



I just wish my was a digit based instead of dials.  I swear the thing was probably installed when the house was built.  


 






It's easy! Read it from left to right. If the dial is between two numbers, use the lower of the two.


gotcha





 
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:49:17 AM EDT
Originally Posted By metalsaber:
I guess the thing is that I don't get to estimate my expenses.  I can't go to the gas station and pump $40 and then say that I only estimated $20 based on previous months.  It's a dumb concept.  


It's an equally dumb concept that they let you use their product before you pay for it. Maybe it SHOULD be like the gas station. You want some gas or electricity? Fine, pay for it and THEN we'll deliver it.

I suggest you get over it. It will all work out in the end . . .
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 11:01:40 AM EDT



Originally Posted By ShadowAngel:



Originally Posted By stevem1a:

We just got smart meters here, PG&E no longer guesstimates your bill.



This way, we get screwed every month.





Steve




Such a hassle having to pay your bills, right?



The jury is still out on the Smartmeter. A lot of complaints of ridiculously high bills. Like,$50-100 a month jumping to $200 or 300.

Saw one that went from $350 to $900!



 
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 11:18:23 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ApacheScout:

Originally Posted By ShadowAngel:
Originally Posted By stevem1a:
We just got smart meters here, PG&E no longer guesstimates your bill.

This way, we get screwed every month.


Steve


Such a hassle having to pay your bills, right?

The jury is still out on the Smartmeter. A lot of complaints of ridiculously high bills. Like,$50-100 a month jumping to $200 or 300.
Saw one that went from $350 to $900!
 


I have one of those (not my choice; it was there when I moved in). My average utility bill is about $14/mo (electricity only; propane is included in my rent).
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 11:21:13 AM EDT
This is the real reason one of the clients my company works for is working on automated meter reading, they've had problems with the meter readers making spreadsheets of a customer's usage and submitting estimated meter readings in place of real ones, while taking several hour breaks in the middle of the day instead of working.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 11:22:13 AM EDT



Originally Posted By LoneWolf545:


This is the real reason one of the clients my company works for is working on automated meter reading, they've had problems with the meter readers making spreadsheets of a customer's usage and submitting estimated meter readings in place of real ones, while taking several hour breaks in the middle of the day instead of working.


Wouldn't shock me.



 
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 11:23:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/20/2011 11:25:48 AM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]







Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Originally Posted By metalsaber:



I guess the thing is that I don't get to estimate my expenses.  I can't go to the gas station and pump $40 and then say that I only estimated $20 based on previous months.  It's a dumb concept.  

It's an equally dumb concept that they let you use their product before you pay for it. Maybe it SHOULD be like the gas station. You want some gas or electricity? Fine, pay for it and THEN we'll deliver it.
I suggest you get over it. It will all work out in the end . . .




Once we have smart metering, we will have the ability to have a pay-in-advance system.  Then you can charge your electric account like a prepaid phone card.  Run out of minutes, er kWh?  Your power goes out.  (There would probably be a goodwill buffer allowance before it was cut.)
It will be a HUGE cost-savings potential for utilities.  We have so many customers who simply skip out and don't pay their last couple of months bills and then leave town.  We send them to collections, but I don't think the recovery rate is very good.  And the collection agency takes a big percentage.
 
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 11:26:20 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 11:26:57 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ApacheScout:
The jury is still out on the Smartmeter. A lot of complaints of ridiculously high bills. Like,$50-100 a month jumping to $200 or 300.
Saw one that went from $350 to $900!
 


I would love to have someone explain to me why the Big Electricity Conspiracy needs "smart meters" to start charging more.

Why can't they go out with new "dumb" meters that spint 30% faster or something?

Now, one possible use of smart meters is to charge more for each KW/h during peak usage periods.  And I'm fine with that idea... when demand for power goes up, the price should go up, too.  Want to pay less?  Do your dishes and laundry at a time when everyone isn't blasting the AC.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 12:31:47 PM EDT



Originally Posted By caexpat:



Originally Posted By ApacheScout:

The jury is still out on the Smartmeter. A lot of complaints of ridiculously high bills. Like,$50-100 a month jumping to $200 or 300.

Saw one that went from $350 to $900!

 




I would love to have someone explain to me why the Big Electricity Conspiracy needs "smart meters" to start charging more.



Why can't they go out with new "dumb" meters that spint 30% faster or something?



Now, one possible use of smart meters is to charge more for each KW/h during peak usage periods.  And I'm fine with that idea... when demand for power goes up, the price should go up, too.  Want to pay less?  Do your dishes and laundry at a time when everyone isn't blasting the AC.


The argument is that they are not accurate and there seems to be some bugs in the system.



Using your logic, gas stations should charge more during the morning and evening commute times.

Want to pay less? Ride a bike.



 
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 12:47:55 PM EDT
Originally Posted By metalsaber:
I guess the thing is that I don't get to estimate my expenses.  I can't go to the gas station and pump $40 and then say that I only estimated $20 based on previous months.  It's a dumb concept.  


The concept is they don't have to hire as many meter readers.  It reduces their overhead that would otherwise get recouped through your monthly charges.  I.E. it is saving you money.

You do know that you have the option to read the meter yourself and provide it to them if you don't want them to estimate your usage?
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