December 29, 2005

I've got gas!

And the only thing coming out my ass is money to pay for it.

Several of my friends - and most everyone in this part of the state no doubt - received the lovely missives from the gas company this week. Even though I set my thermostat to 59 degrees, put an extra comforter on my bed, wore a toboggan in the house, and put that ugly plastic shit all over my windows, my gas bill was nearly four hundred dollars.

The kicker was the "extras" in the bill. First, unlike every other gas bill I've ever gotten, this one did not come with the option to pay the budget amount. Nope. For the first time ever, they want the thing paid in full. Second, it came with a nifty little additional page with a chart explaining why the bill was so much higher. The usual bill has a histogram that shows your monthly usage over the last year. This one has an extra special histogram that shows your monthly charges. Get it? It looks just like the one that shows usage so at first glance you think, "oh this makes sense I used three times as much!" Uh-uh.

What the chart really shows is that between this month and last month the rate per unit of gas went up 12% and that they adjusted the bill for "actual reading following estimate." Funny how that works too, since they did the same thing last year, and this year's correction was more than twice the size of last year's correction. Last year they underestimated the bill by around 6%, but this year underestimated it at close to 10%, in a year when they already warned that prices would be going up. So, combine the correction for their underestimation with the rate jack, and you get the beauty of the most massive gas bill I've ever seen, combined with a deceptive explanatory histogram.

No wonder I don't feel warm and fuzzy.

Posted by binky at December 29, 2005 03:16 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Economics | Petty Rants

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