Saturday, July 30, 2011

Powering up

I've argued my case with the power company people before.
A while ago, I suddenly got a notice in the mail telling me our power was about to be shut off if I didn't pay up right now.
I was a bit incensed because I had dutifully and for the sake of saving trees gone into their website and put in for automatic billing through our bank account.
Since I was receiving regular email notices about our bill, I was assuming it was getting paid.
When I called up to complain and to keep the power going, I was told "it didn't stick" when I applied for auto pay.
I talked to the nice lady in India and thought it was all straightened out.
We went along fine for a while when I started getting a hint of more trouble.
This time it had "stuck" for a couple of months and then expired.
I called again and worked it out. The nice lady said they'd been having some trouble with the website. "Sorry."
That was in March. Now we're getting a whopping big bill that seems out of line with equal billing.
I called up and talked to a nice boy in India.
He said we are on auto pay but "since we didn't pay last month's bill" we were kicked off equal billing.
I asked how we could be kicked out for non-payment since what we owe is automatically sucked out of our bank account.
"I can't pay or not pay," I said. "It's automatic, hence the term, auto pay."
He was unhelpful. "You are on auto pay and equal billing but since you didn't pay the bill, it kicked you out. You now owe $162," he said.
I tried for a while to play the circular argument game but tired quickly.
"OK, OK," I said. "Just take what you need and leave me the rest. But send me paper statements from here on out."
He agreed to do so and suggested we go to equal billing so our bill doesn't surprise us every so often.
What a good idea.

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