Thursday, September 04, 2008

gross incompetence

Yesterday, something so ridiculous and asinine happened to me, I just had to share it.

I got home from work at the usual time. I walked in through the back door, into the kitchen, and set my purse and lunch bag down on the kitchen table. Isabel mewed at me so I gave her some love and then wandered into the dining room to look through the mail.

Me: "The RG&E bill AGAIN?? I just paid this! I can't believe we're getting ANOTHER bill!"
Ryan: [grunts from his office]
Me: [sigh as I open the bill]

What I see nearly takes my breath away: Total Natural Gas Cost........$8,714.73.

That's right, $8,714.73. That's almost NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

I didn't make it up. Really, I didn't. Here's the proof, just in case you're not sure if I'm telling the truth.

I immediately got on the phone. Of course, I was on hold for 15 minutes before I actually spoke to a living, breathing, cranky customer service rep. I explained to her that the electric portion of my bill (only $52.00) was ok, but that I was particularly alarmed by my alleged natural gas consumption.

She pulled up my account and said, "Well, I can see why you're concerned about this."


Now, let us consider that last month we paid a mere $72.00 for our gas usage. Let us also consider that the highest our entire RG&E bill has ever been, in the nearly two years we have lived in that house, even in the middle of Winter, was roughly $467.00.

If you look at the bill closely, it says the reading for the electric was an estimate, while the reading for the natural gas was actual. Now, in order to get to the gas meter, which is LOCKED UP IN THE BASEMENT, the meter reader would have to knock on the door and ask Ryan or me to let them in. The electric meter, on the other hand, is on the side of the house, easily accessible. Last week we did get one of those yellow Sorry-We-Missed-You hangy tags on the front door handle and the fence next to the electric meter had been KNOCKED DOWN.

I think the idiot meter reader thought the electric meter was the gas meter.

What galls me is the following: Surely it says in my account somewhere that the gas meter is INSIDE. And, at some point, the numbers from the meters have be entered into a computer and linked up with our specific account. Wouldn't the person doing the entry notice the enormous difference between last month's usage and this month's? Don't you think a warning bell would have sounded and maybe someone over there at RG&E would have called me to read the meter? Or, perhaps they would want to come out and check to see if their meter had been damaged somehow or is just flat out broken.

Of course not. Not in a million years. Instead, the send out a clearly inaccurate bill. Did they think we would not notice the error? Worse, still, did they actually think we would pay almost nine thousand dollars without thinking there's a problem here? Come on.

Conclusion: they don't get paid enough to care.

I gave Cranky Customer Service Rep the meter read that Ryan had taken while I was on hold. She said that will lower our bill considerably. No kidding. We also have a scheduled meter read set up for next week, and an adjusted bill should be coming to us in the near future.

To be continued.


mennogourmet said...

Ha, I think the exact same thing happened to us when we lived in that house! We were never home when they came to read the meter, so we always had to call it in ourselves. I remember getting a $1000 bill at one point...good old RG&E. :)

chrome3d said...

That was a funny story. Thanks for sharing.