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Previous Entry Rant.... Apr. 23rd, 2008 @ 09:21 am Next Entry
spin a yarn
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Date:April 23rd, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
My electric company very clearly indicates whether a reading is actual or estimated on the bill.

It seems to me that for a reader to estimate six months' worth of bills and not set off any bells, that there would have to be a lot of preparatory work. S/He'd have to know what the average usage for each meter was and know what the starting meter reading was. A meter reading route can have a wide variety of meters on it, depending on whether it's urban, suburban, or rural. A rural route's going to have fewer meters than an urban one because they'll be further apart. And each reader is going to have 20-ish different routes each month, one for each working day--they'll all likely be in close geographic proximity to each other, so if he needs to pick up the last two meters from route 1 on day 2, he can. So if this reader was blowing off your route for 6 months, there's likely 19 other routes being blown off as well, so there should be a lot of unhappy people.

In theory, your numbers look okay but in reality, corporate accounting is nightmarish in a lot of ways. You'd be surprised at all the weird adjustments you can make and the ways you can legitimately move dollars around. So depending on how big your co-op is, they may not have registered it except as a slight blip--I know that in the numbers I deal with on a daily basis that $100,000 a month? Is practically nothing.
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Date:April 23rd, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
The co-op is pretty big - it covers at *least* 3 counties; my county has....I dunno, my *city* has over 6K people in it. And it's a large county....we're not the largest city by any means. My city is rural..but the next town over has become a suburb of a large Dallas county city (over 12K, 3 years ago, and growing rapidly).

I know most of the ways to...erm....move money around. :grin: My late boss was a *master* at taking from Peter to pay Paul, all "legal" but not necessarily "moral"...and I understand large number accounting. Still...there *should* be some sort of accountability process in effect..and apparantly there's not.

I'm trying to calm down before I call them.....don't want to piss 'em off when I'm trying to gather info.

Oh - I have another question...how do they know that their starting reading was good...I mean, how do they know that (6 months ago would have been....Oct-ish, I think) Oct. ended with a correct reading? And not an estimate? How do they know that he didn't read, say, MY route correctly, except for the 1 month my bill was down? :seethes:

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Date:April 23rd, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
My experience with meter reading is in more dense urban areas--think Grand Rapids, Michigan. *grin*

I don't think they have any way of knowing one way or another if the starting reading was good--which is the bitch of the thing.

Hm. It's been years since I worked at CP, but I do have a vague recollection that when they loaded the handheld computers with each day's routes, each meter to be read did have the prior month's reading in it. I think.

Another thing you can do is find out what day each month your meter is supposed to be read--should be about the same day each month, like the 11th working day or whatever--and take a picture of the meter on that day so you have proof of what the meter reading should be on your bill (probably not to the exact number depending on when the reader reads the meter) and compare it to your bill when you get it.

Are utilities regulated or deregulated in Texas? They just deregulated ours a couple of years ago and we got hit with a 57% rate increase which BLEW CHUNKS. There's talk of re-regulating our utilities and there's also agood deal of serios talk about putting in a windfarm offshore, too. I think wind power's pretty rad.
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Date:April 23rd, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, we're deregulated, but it hasn't really affected me - we're Co-op, not Utility company, so we haven't seen a lot of BS. Until now.

I like the photo idea - and I'll be implementing that. Looks like my meter is read on the 9th..so, I'll start a photo log. The website has a spot where *I* can list my meter reading....so I think I'm gonna do *that*, too. :evil grin:

And, according to the website, they have "over 50,000 meters" . :snerk:
(spin a yarn)
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