Thursday, February 9, 2012

Power to the People!

I wrote this obviously a couple of months ago, and it was saved in drafts.  As I was going through deleting some posts I had started and never finished, or started and decided not to actually post for one reason or another, I saw this one and thought, oh that was a good story.

So here ya go!

How about a non-running/race post for a change?!  :O)

Here is a fact about me:  I am frugal. 

And I am a saver.  And when I cannot be it drives me insane.  I use to spend a lot of money mindlessly, back when I made a lot of it, but I still saved a lot.  Then times changed and I had to spend a lot less money, and to continue to save in the same fashion I was (or close to it as I could), I had to begin becoming more and more frugal.  Especially when it comes to things that I can control.

Like electricity.

I am very frugal when it comes to utilities.  Always have been.  It was worse when I bought my house, as I monitored not only the KW's for the electricity, but I also noted the water and gas usage as well.  Drove John crazy.  But he never complained about the low utility bills when it came time to pay them.

So to make this long story not so long, let me get to the point.

A few months back I moved into a new place.  A much nicer place.  A place that was insulated well, that I was smack dab in the middle of an upstairs and a downstairs unit, making it that much easier to heat/cool etc. therefore meaning saving more money on electricity would be that much easier or at least offset the fact that I had washer/dryer/dishwasher and an extra room to boot.

I am, and have been since it was offered, set up for email notifications on a weekly basis where my daily KW usage is noted, compared to $/kw's from the previous week and what my bill should roughly come in at when the meter is read and the bill is sent out.

So since being in this new place I started noticing that my usage and monthly bills started being 'off'.  As in way too much.  Then about 3 weeks ago, I noticed a huge spike in my email from them and I started investigating.  Questioning.  Talking to a lot of different people.  Then finally I thought I had an answer and last week my bill arrived and I went through the ceiling.

I immediately contacted my provider and went through everything all over again and that I felt like either someone was stealing from my meter, or had an additional unit on my bill by accident or that the meter was wacky.

Thankfully the person I ended up with on the phone that day was my money saving angel and by the time we got off the call, she had scheduled for someone to come out, but that it would be a few days.  (I realize my attempt at making this short is not working...)

And I must say that in the past 3 weeks I was conserving even MORE and still my usage wasn't budging so I knew something was not right and would not give up and take 'no' or 'thats just the way it is ma'am' for an answer.

I had already had management come in and check every single thing in the place to make sure nothing was pulling more electricity than it should be and it checked out clean.

Then yesterday I was home for a day off and my phone rang mid-morning and it was the CP dude.  Yay!  I went and met him outside, informed him of allllllll the information and what I thought etc., and honestly he thought it was going to come down to the rate I was paying (I had found out through all of this I was a flex plan (not good) to which I negotiated a much lower fixed rate...) and that things would 'even out' later.

So after my insistence on what I normally use daily (10-12kw) and what my bill was telling me, we walked over to where all the meters are.  Here is the conversation:

CP dude:  Hmmm.  What number did you say you were?
CP dude:  Thats odd. This says this is your meter, but this reading is yours on this other one (my upstairs neighbor).
CP dude:  Not so fast.  Here is what we'll do.  I'm going to shut this off and then lets go up and see if your electricity is on; it should be since according to this I just cut your neighbors electricity off.

So we go up and sure enough guess who's electricity is off?

This girls!!!!

I knew it!  I knew it!  I knew it!

The lines were switched/meters something or other when the new SMART meters were done and apparently the people that lived there before me never questioned their usage/bill so whatever.  All I know is that my bill tripled and the average usage per day for my neighbors was 40kw while mine was 10-12!!!  Last Monday they used 72kw!  Freaking hell!  Apparently they must have been out of town this past weekend as it looks like their usage dropped to about 15kw.  Thats good for me.  Anyway as of yesterday morning everything is as it should be and I am one happy camper!  That extra money was eating into what I use for other things and my budget is not allowing for such high electric bills!

So all this time I've been conserving even more than I normally do, all it was doing was making THEIR bill go down and not mine!  I should have been using comfortably since I was paying for it anyway!!!

So the guy switched them back and even replaced my meter with a brand new one.

Last night I left my lights on, ran the heater over 68 and even dried the clothes in the dryer instead of hanging them up to dry.  :O)

Moral of the story is:  Never take no for an answer until you are completely satisfied or proven that you have no cause.

Now I get a big fat refund ($168 was what it turned out to be) and my electricity bills can go back to normal (since this time my bill has not gone over $55). 

I know it wasnt my neighbors fault, but I hope they get a rude awakening when their bill triples next month. 
Thankfully its only been a week since the meter was read so I should end up with a nice low bill at the end of December.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Good for you!

I try to conserve electricity as much as well - we are also in the 2 level (with one unit above us) so we really try not to use heat. We get afternoon sun so we leave our shades open during the day and shut them as soon as we get home.

I also air dry a lot of clothes and air dry my dishes in the dishwasher. Every little bit helps!