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Posted: 2/19/2006 2:54:41 PM EDT
I got my gas bill today.

It is over 6 TIMES as much as usual. My bill has normally been $30-50. This bill is $295.00!!!

What could the problem be here!?

My wife and I haven't changed anything in our routine this last month, and we live in a 940 sq. ft. apartment. We keep the heat down low, and only do laundry for the two of us.

I called the gas company, and they said, "Well, the meter shows that's how much gas you used." I checked the meter, and it appears to reflect what the bill states...

WHAT THE HECK!!!???
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 2:55:47 PM EDT
has to be a leak somewhere. most likely somewhere well ventilated so you wouldnt smell it.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 2:56:51 PM EDT
Capitalism baby, supply and demand, pay up sucka !!!
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 2:58:01 PM EDT
Sometimes gas companies estimate the bill if they cant/dont read the meter. Then when they see the real numbers you have to pay up.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 2:58:04 PM EDT
The water heater is in the patio closet...outside. We had one of the maintenance guys work on it lately.

Yeah, if there were a leak where we could detect it, we'd be dead by now.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:02:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jaltered:
The water heater is in the patio closet...outside. We had one of the maintenance guys work on it lately.

Yeah, if there were a leak where we could detect it, we'd be dead by now.



that'd be where i started my search.... if it was faulty work, you know who to hand your gas bill off to.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:04:11 PM EDT
The neighbor tapped your line.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:04:58 PM EDT
Check your previous months bills. If it was an estimated use bill it should say est or some abbreviation of estimated. And if they were actual meter readings it should state actual or some abbreviation of it.

My guess would be that the gas company was going off an estimation and finally did an actual meter reading. Which caused them to bill you for your usage over the estimation. If this is the case your next month's bill should be much less, and more in line with you $50 a month payment.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:05:23 PM EDT
close the windows, dog
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:08:46 PM EDT
Did the base rate go up or did you use more gas than in previous months, but the rate stayed the same?
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:11:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SPECTRE:
Capitalism baby, supply and demand, pay up sucka !!!



+1

I had this exact same thing happen to me several years ago.

SBG
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:12:45 PM EDT
I have every one of my old bills in front of me.

NONE of them say "estimated." They are all actual meter readings.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:15:13 PM EDT
In the spring we usually heat our in-ground swimming pool (gas-fired pool furnace) once to get it warm for the rest of the season. It usually is included in our March gas bill. It usually ran around $350 for that month and then much less for the rest of the year. Year before last the March bill was for $670 !!!!

I went out to the gas meter and found a flare nut on a compression fitting loose. I checked and it had split on one side. I called the gas company. They came out, fixed it and adjusted our bill to our usual $350 for that month. We never had to pay the difference for the gas that was lost because the gas company is supposed to maintain their meter.

lawdog
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:15:49 PM EDT
Where have you been?

Were you not aware that the price of Natural Gas has increased over 70% again, that is on top of the 100% increase in the last few years.

Turn your thermostat down, add more insulation, storm doors and windows etc.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:16:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/19/2006 3:17:53 PM EDT by OregonShooter]
Nevermind
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:18:54 PM EDT
How long have you lived in the apartment? If you moved in during the last year the gas company could have been estimating off the previous year, when the unit was vacant, for the previous months and now they actually just got out to read your meter.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:23:43 PM EDT
Have you been "cooking" more meth than usual?





Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:24:21 PM EDT

Did you just look at the dollar amount or , are you comparing the AMOUNT of gas
used to the previous months ? If your consumption went up that much , then you obviously have a leak on YOUR side of the meter .
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:27:13 PM EDT
The difference in usage over MCF for previous months is 1-2.

This last month was 28.9

In fact, just since they billed me, there has been a change of 10.8 (that's over 7 days)!!!!

Dang it, the maintenance crew is gone until tomorrow too.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:30:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CARFan:
Have you been "cooking" more meth than usual?


img51.imageshack.us/img51/3600/meth2b6yx.jpg


show.imagehosting.us/show/1181393/0/nouser_1181/T0_-1_1181393.jpg



Not to get off topic but that picture kinda weirds me out...
CARFan...Is that what you do for a living?? Bust Meth labs?
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:31:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SWIRE:
How long have you lived in the apartment? If you moved in during the last year the gas company could have been estimating off the previous year, when the unit was vacant, for the previous months and now they actually just got out to read your meter.



Is it different down south ?

The only time i estimate a account up here is- if your gate is locked-if you have a very large dog loose in the yard and dont answer when i knock-or if you threaten to shoot me if i enter your yard.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:34:15 PM EDT
The bill states on the back that "if an estimated amount is given it will clearly say ESTIMATED AMOUNT." It says "meter reading."

I just called the gas company again and left a message. Ghuh.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:34:41 PM EDT
I work in the Gas Dept for a major Utility. First, look at your bill in the past to see if there is estimates. 2nd, has anything changed in the apts around you? Did someone move out in a apt around you and is it empty and not heated now? Is your furnace filters clean and fnc running properly?

There is NO WAY IN HELL, that a gas leak on your side would cause this increase. The place would REEK of odorant to the point of being unlivable.

You need to look at the cubic footage used, not the cost of the gas itself. Look at the amounts used and are they reasonably consistant with the usage last year?

There are a lot of reasons why you would have a big difference, I'm guessing that it had been estimated for a while and an actual read was taken last time. Are the meters outside, or inside? Is access available for the reader?

The cost has risen a lot and will continue to thanks to stupid ass politicians who will only allow Nat Gas electrical generating plants. Thanks Kali asswipe pols.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:40:43 PM EDT
Thanks, fxntime.

I have retrieved every one of my old paid gas bills. Not ONE of them says "estimated." They are all actual meter readings.

I live in a small apartment, and we have changed nothing in our routine. The water heater and furnace are outside as well.

Thoughts?
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:43:42 PM EDT
Last month's "usage in MCF" was 1.8
The month before was 1.0

The "usage in MCF" for the bill in question says 28.9
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:44:18 PM EDT
Meter inside or outside ? If its inside is it in a locked room ?
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:44:35 PM EDT
Probably the gas cost adjustment that has caused your bill to jump up so high. Compare the volume of gas you used to the volume of gas you used before and see if it is about the same.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:46:21 PM EDT
I went through the same thing, this month. They estimated the bill in December and there is NO indication of it on the bill. Basically, you just have to pay it. It sucks.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:47:33 PM EDT
The meter is outside near all the other meters. (we live in an apartment)

I understand that gas prices went up, and we DID see a large jump in our gas costs last quarter.

We were paying $17-20/month, and then had to pay $40-55/month.

But all of a sudden we owe $295.80???
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:48:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tonster:

Originally Posted By CARFan:
Have you been "cooking" more meth than usual?


img51.imageshack.us/img51/3600/meth2b6yx.jpg</a>


show.imagehosting.us/show/1181393/0/nouser_1181/T0_-1_1181393.jpg</a>



Not to get off topic but that picture kinda weirds me out...
CARFan...Is that what you do for a living?? Bust Meth labs?



No sir,

This is what I do for a living:



J/K

Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:49:38 PM EDT
Plugged filters, fnc limiting off and on, water heater dial turned up all the way, if gas dryer, vent plugged, [will take FOREVER to dry] had a meter dial stuck that is now working correctly, meter was changed because of same, water leak somewhere in the hot side causing water htr to run a lot. $40 is LOW, you are talking a water heater and gas range only using that amount per month. A furnace running during a seasonable winter would consume more then that per square footage you have. Has any apts around become vacant?? That can make a huge difference especially if they used to crank the heat up high.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:52:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jaltered:
Last month's "usage in MCF" was 1.8
The month before was 1.0

The "usage in MCF" for the bill in question says 28.9



1.8 CCF is WAY low and would not be right. Could the piping have been mispiped and corrected recently? That or the meter was stuck and exchanged, did the meter look new?
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:52:53 PM EDT
We barely use the heater.

And I don't know of any neighbors that have moved out recently. I see neighbors on all sides of us.

Last month we had an apartment maintenance boy come over and "fix" the water heater and furnace. Both of them weren't performing properly. I wonder if something wasn't "fixed" properly?
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:54:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fxntime:

Originally Posted By Jaltered:
Last month's "usage in MCF" was 1.8
The month before was 1.0

The "usage in MCF" for the bill in question says 28.9



1.8 CCF is WAY low and would not be right. Could the piping have been mispiped and corrected recently? That or the meter was stuck and exchanged, did the meter look new?



We've lived here for a year, and our usage has been right around that amount every single month.

The meter looks just like all the other meters.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:55:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jaltered:
The meter is outside near all the other meters. (we live in an apartment)

I understand that gas prices went up, and we DID see a large jump in our gas costs last quarter.

We were paying $17-20/month, and then had to pay $40-55/month.

But all of a sudden we owe $295.80???



Thats nuts my gas bill was $90 last month.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 3:55:08 PM EDT
Sounds like they were estimating or something in the prior months and finally read it this month.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 4:00:52 PM EDT
Check to make sure the meter reader didn't just make a mistake. Some my fault some the readers fault, I had a bush overgrown in the way of the meter.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 4:05:44 PM EDT
Are you SURE the meter was read right. The correct way to read it is Right to Left. If the number on the right is a high number [like a 9], then the one to the left of it will be the LOW number. If the dial is on the six and the one on the right is a 9 then the 6 is really a five. That'll make a huge difference. Especially the further you go over to the left. Ask to have your meter reread. We do it all the time FWIW as the reader really has to scoot to finish their routes.

Think read from the left, and remember HI/LO. if hi then the next number will be low. Sorta hard to explain. Just tell me the read and I might be able to help.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 4:09:26 PM EDT
What type of gas appliances do you have? You need to turn them all off for a couple hours and watch the meter. A pilot light usage won't show up during that time period but someone else tapping into your line will.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 4:14:23 PM EDT
Just talked to Atmos (the gas company).

They DID estimate last month's bill...and only last month's bill.

However, she did say that our malfunctioning furnace and water heater probably contributed to the huge rise in gas usage.

I guess I'll talk to the apartment manager tomorrow.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 4:16:39 PM EDT
Here's a breakdown of my recent gas bill.

I used 127 CCF.

Gas Co's cost per CCF is $0.73022 per CCF. They charge me $1.15- $1.33 depending on the amount I use.

Bill was about $185 for the month and we had an Aunt stay with us for a week or so and the temp was constant 72+, 24/7.

I think you have a meter problem or a gas leak. Just my .02 from the info so far.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 4:17:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
Sometimes gas companies estimate the bill if they cant/dont read the meter. Then when they see the real numbers you have to pay up.




my elec. co did this to me. man did it SUCK!!!!
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 4:41:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/19/2006 4:44:07 PM EDT by FarmerJ_001]
We built a new house last fall and moved in on Dec 9th. Never got a bill in Dec or Jan. Called end of Jan to see what was up. They said no account existed. It got VERY interesting from that point on.

About 3 days later, the builder call us up with a bill for our place, In their name. Go to pick it up and the thing is $300+. It goes all the way back to Thanksgiving when they hooked the house up.

I have come to firmly believe that 3/4ths of the people that work for a utility company leave their brains at home.

Your usage looks to really low, even for a 2 person family. I would look for a faulty meter or something possibly having changed recently causing an adverse effect.

Worse case, just ride it out another month and see what your next bill will be. It may show a new trend or if things go back to "normal" for you.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 4:53:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/19/2006 4:55:06 PM EDT by fxntime]

Originally Posted By FarmerJ_001:
We built a new house last fall and moved in on Dec 9th. Never got a bill in Dec or Jan. Called end of Jan to see what was up. They said no account existed. It got VERY interesting from that point on.

About 3 days later, the builder call us up with a bill for our place, In their name. Go to pick it up and the thing is $300+. It goes all the way back to Thanksgiving when they hooked the house up.

I have come to firmly believe that 3/4ths of the people that work for a utility company leave their brains at home.

Your usage looks to really low, even for a 2 person family. I would look for a faulty meter or something possibly having changed recently causing an adverse effect.

Worse case, just ride it out another month and see what your next bill will be. It may show a new trend or if things go back to "normal" for you.



Excuse me but did you transfer the account into your name and did the builder call to have his name taken off the account? If not, then it is both you and your builders fault. If the builder had had his name taken off, and no new account was started in your name you would have been shut off. Our setup at work is automatic, no name, no gas. Pleanty of new homeowners and renters ASSUME that a Utility Company should somehow magically know that they are now respopnsible for the bill and if the old account mailing went elsewhere and is paid how would we know different. Most stuff like this is because of changes in billing reflecting a new owner.

We just shut the new owner off as we have found that most, if they don't get a bill, won't say crap. They think it's free til they get found out. After 20 years in the utility biz, I believe most of the population, if they have service without a bill won't say s--t. They will scream immediately tho if they don't have gas or juice.

Also, you cannot have 2 accounts in different names at one address.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 4:57:04 PM EDT
.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 5:03:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fxntime:

Originally Posted By FarmerJ_001:
We built a new house last fall and moved in on Dec 9th. Never got a bill in Dec or Jan. Called end of Jan to see what was up. They said no account existed. It got VERY interesting from that point on.

About 3 days later, the builder call us up with a bill for our place, In their name. Go to pick it up and the thing is $300+. It goes all the way back to Thanksgiving when they hooked the house up.

I have come to firmly believe that 3/4ths of the people that work for a utility company leave their brains at home.

Your usage looks to really low, even for a 2 person family. I would look for a faulty meter or something possibly having changed recently causing an adverse effect.

Worse case, just ride it out another month and see what your next bill will be. It may show a new trend or if things go back to "normal" for you.



Excuse me but did you transfer the account into your name and did the builder call to have his name taken off the account? If not, then it is both you and your builders fault. If the builder had had his name taken off, and no new account was started in your name you would have been shut off. Our setup at work is automatic, no name, no gas. Pleanty of new homeowners and renters ASSUME that a Utility Company should somehow magically know that they are now respopnsible for the bill and if the old account mailing went elsewhere and is paid how would we know different. Most stuff like this is because of changes in billing reflecting a new owner.

We just shut the new owner off as we have found that most, if they don't get a bill, won't say crap. They think it's free til they get found out. After 20 years in the utility biz, I believe most of the population, if they have service without a bill won't say s--t. They will scream immediately tho if they don't have gas or juice.have


The ONLY connection the builder had to the account was our sales rep ordered the application for us. Upon receiving the application in Sept 2005, I filled it out at my parents house, in MY name and my wifes name and mailed it in requesting a Nov 10th hook-up. In early October I spoke with the gas company and they confirmed receiving the application in My name, and that November 10th would be fine for hooking up the gas meter.

On Nov 2nd, the "inspector" drove by the house, looked at a complete foundation that was waiting for a house to be placed/built on it. Decided since nothing was there and without contacting me, that they would "re-schedule" for AFTER Thanksgiving.

On Nov 4th, our Modular home was installed onto the waiting foundation. This was a MODEL home that was sitting on the Dealer Lot since APRIL 2004.

On Nov 11th, the day after I was told the gas would be installed, I was told it was re-scheduled till after Thanksgiving. My wife and kids were coming on Nov 23rd for Thanksgiving to paint the house so we could move in on Dec 1st.

It was the only hitch we had in the process other than Wells Fargo dinking us around on the mortgage.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 5:20:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FarmerJ_001:

Originally Posted By fxntime:

Originally Posted By FarmerJ_001:
We built a new house last fall and moved in on Dec 9th. Never got a bill in Dec or Jan. Called end of Jan to see what was up. They said no account existed. It got VERY interesting from that point on.

About 3 days later, the builder call us up with a bill for our place, In their name. Go to pick it up and the thing is $300+. It goes all the way back to Thanksgiving when they hooked the house up.

I have come to firmly believe that 3/4ths of the people that work for a utility company leave their brains at home.

Your usage looks to really low, even for a 2 person family. I would look for a faulty meter or something possibly having changed recently causing an adverse effect.

Worse case, just ride it out another month and see what your next bill will be. It may show a new trend or if things go back to "normal" for you.



Excuse me but did you transfer the account into your name and did the builder call to have his name taken off the account? If not, then it is both you and your builders fault. If the builder had had his name taken off, and no new account was started in your name you would have been shut off. Our setup at work is automatic, no name, no gas. Pleanty of new homeowners and renters ASSUME that a Utility Company should somehow magically know that they are now respopnsible for the bill and if the old account mailing went elsewhere and is paid how would we know different. Most stuff like this is because of changes in billing reflecting a new owner.

We just shut the new owner off as we have found that most, if they don't get a bill, won't say crap. They think it's free til they get found out. After 20 years in the utility biz, I believe most of the population, if they have service without a bill won't say s--t. They will scream immediately tho if they don't have gas or juice.

Also, you cannot have 2 accounts in different names at one address.



The ONLY connection the builder had to the account was our sales rep ordered the application for us. Upon receiving the application in Sept 2005, I filled it out at my parents house, in MY name and my wifes name and mailed it in requesting a Nov 10th hook-up. In early October I spoke with the gas company and they confirmed receiving the application in My name, and that November 10th would be fine for hooking up the gas meter.

On Nov 2nd, the "inspector" drove by the house, looked at a complete foundation that was waiting for a house to be placed/built on it. Decided since nothing was there and without contacting me, that they would "re-schedule" for AFTER Thanksgiving.

On Nov 4th, our Modular home was installed onto the waiting foundation. This was a MODEL home that was sitting on the Dealer Lot since APRIL 2004.

On Nov 11th, the day after I was told the gas would be installed, I was told it was re-scheduled till after Thanksgiving. My wife and kids were coming on Nov 23rd for Thanksgiving to paint the house so we could move in on Dec 1st.

It was the only hitch we had in the process other than Wells Fargo dinking us around on the mortgage.



In most cases, a few days before the service is run, someone will drive/stop by and inspect the property to make sure the gas service path is clear and there is something on which to attach the meter bracket. If it is not acceptable [like no house] it cannot be run and they will not send out a crew, truck, and equipment for nothing. It sounds stupid maybe, but a great deal of new service runs are not ready when a crew arrives. Construction company owners are notorious for playing a game with utility companies, and play stupid when hundreds of dollars are wasted in trips to sites that are not ready. If it was their money they would scream bloody murder tho.

Weather, site conditions and emergencies can all conspire to change the date. There are plenty of times that I did not run a scheduled service because some doofus hit a gas main that was not marked, called in as a mis dig, or just took another "scoop". Those have to be done first before any service run. Also, if miss dig [utility stakers for gas/elec/phone/cable/water/ tele/sewer] has not been there we will not run a service as we would be responsible for the repair cost.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 5:26:13 PM EDT
They are required to do a pressure test on every fill to check for leaks, so that is probably not your problem.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 5:36:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fxntime:

In most cases, a few days before the service is run, someone will drive/stop by and inspect the property to make sure the gas service path is clear and there is something on which to attach the meter bracket. If it is not acceptable [like no house] it cannot be run and they will not send out a crew, truck, and equipment for nothing. It sounds stupid maybe, but a great deal of new service runs are not ready when a crew arrives. Construction company owners are notorious for playing a game with utility companies, and play stupid when hundreds of dollars are wasted in trips to sites that are not ready. If it was their money they would scream bloody murder tho.

Weather, site conditions and emergencies can all conspire to change the date. There are plenty of times that I did not run a scheduled service because some doofus hit a gas main that was not marked, called in as a mis dig, or just took another "scoop". Those have to be done first before any service run. Also, if miss dig [utility stakers for gas/elec/phone/cable/water/ tele/sewer] has not been there we will not run a service as we would be responsible for the repair cost.



If I didn't know any better I would say you worked for CenterPointe Energy. Because that is the exact reason they gave me.

And my question remained. Why did the "inspector" not call the name on the service request to see what was happening? This is a small community of 6200 people. He saw in plain view the builders sign and is known by them by personal name.

As it is, I hold the utilities with suspicion. His story is another reason to do so. The locating agency had been called, the locate had been put in place and all was set and ready, completed on Nov 7-9th for electricity, water, gas to be installed.

Our conversation can go back and forth till the cowes come home. It won't change our views because they are based off different perspectives. I will admit, both are probably right. Everyone I have had to deal with have been brain dead in their logic of things. You have probably had to deal with more homeowners that have been braindead.

I had a checklist, and it has now been modified for our next build. It now includes calls to the gas company every other day till the gas is hooked up starting 30 days before requested hook up.

The only thing that has given me hope is our local city water. They actually showed up the day after they read the meter because even they didn't believe a new house would use 2000 cf of water in one month.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 5:54:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/19/2006 6:06:38 PM EDT by mm34b]
I had a situation of a skyrocketing natural gas bill too. It turned out to be a faulty thermostat on the hot water heater. The water would heat up, boil out the overflow, refill again over and over. It doesn't take long for a huge bill when the gas burner never shuts off. Monthly bill went from $60 to $300.
Link Posted: 2/19/2006 6:00:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/19/2006 6:02:50 PM EDT by FREEFALLE7]
Man do what I did..

get the wife a chainsaw

I ran out of propane in November, and after hearing how much it was going to cost to get it filled we are heating with wood.

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