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Did I tell you about the electric bill mess?

Posted Jan 06 2010 11:20am
Over two months later, it is still a mess.

See, we were the first home on our street. Because our house is modular (built in sections and then moved in), it takes no time at all to go from open field to a place you can move into. As a result, we moved in before the street got named.

Disastrous. Did you know that you cannot get electricity or a phone without an address? Try getting mail.

There was an empty lot behind us that our neighborhood powers that be had us establish electric service through and use as a mailing address. The cable company was willing to run a line in and we could get VOIP phone through the high speed internet access through the cable.

It was all patched together, but it worked out. Sure calling 911 didn't work and we couldn't order a pizza, but we managed.

Until someone put a house on our address and moved in before the street name paperwork was straightened out. Then we had our power cut off (on a cold day in February when Melody was an infant) and had to straighten that out by having one meter for us at 1004 and one for them at 1004A. We got mail at the neighborhood office until the street was finally named, eighteen months after move in. (I also had the fun experience the day they finally paved the dirt road and I couldn't get out of my driveway to go to work because they started four hours earlier than they said they would.)

On to last October.

We needed proof of residency for something and they required a copy of our electric bill. I couldn't find one. We'd been on that plan where they average out your bills over the year to help with planning and budgeting and so I had been sending 182.08 every month but, with everything else going on, did not realize I had never gotten a bill.

For two days, Dowlan tries to get a copy of the bill and talks to several people about logging on their website, getting a fax, getting on in the mail, etc, but none of that seems to work. One guy finally says, "What do you mean by 'bill' exactly? Do you want a final statement?"

"No," Dowlan replies, worried that they are trying to cut off our power.

"But we haven't been your service provider since May. I do show, however, that you have a credit for $728.xx."

Okay, if they aren't our company, who is? I call around. I call the company that runs the lines and they don't have a current account in my name or with my social security number. I call around from one company to another and no one has an account for either myself or Dowlan.

This is bizarre. Who do I pay my electric bill to? It hasn't been cut off, there are no collections calls, I can't find anyone to give money to. Finally, two days before Christmas, Erica, who works in our neighborhood office, calls to say that they seem to have been paying our electric bill and that we, she is sorry to say, owe them a lot of money. $1628.84 to be exact.

She seems comforted greatly that I knew this was coming and had saved money to pay for the electric bill, whenever it finally appeared. I go in after Christmas, write a check big enough to make a girl cry and then go home to try to establish service. She suggested that it was time to put the electricity on the meter that goes with our actual address and I thought that sounded like a good plan.

Unfortunately, there is no meter for our address and the meter sitting in my front yard that I gave them the number of and they started to switch us over to? Yeah, fortunately I realized in time that it belonged to another neighbor.

Fences would really come in handy here.

So today, after talking to 9 people at three companies with a substantial wait time between each one, I *think* we have electric service being established with a different company starting next week.

Because it had been switched over to the community's name, we had been switched to the commercial rate for power, which was four cents higher than the residential rate. I am trying to get TXU (the company that switched us without our permission) to adjust our bill to the rate that we should have been charged and remove the $18 activation fee. We will still need to pay for December and January bills when they come in and that difference would cover a lot of that cost.

And the added kicker? We also had to re-certify our Medicaid, but we can't because we need *guess what??* a copy of electric bill. So Charlie's therapy appointment for tomorrow and his speech evaluation next week are getting delayed.

It is wearing me down, dealing with all this.
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