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Broken gas meter, what would you do?

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  • Broken gas meter, what would you do?

    My gas bill alternates actual reads (guy comes out and records values) and estimates (based on last year's usage). Being a very mild winter this season, our actuals have been very low like $40 and the estimates were high like $240.

    This month's estimate was $231 so I called and they said they could regenerate a (lower) bill if I gave them a live reading. So I read off the values to the guy over the phone. Guy put me on hold, comes back, has me verify again, and says that my meter is dead: that was the same value since April 2011.

    So they send a dude out the next day to replace the meter with a nice shiny one. Then they tell me that I owe them for the gas I used. I get that, but I am concerned about the back usage bill they will send. The state public service commission says I have a right to contest it, and that the gas company needs to share its formulas with me.

    Soapbox: their system should have some sort of intelligence to red flag an account if the actual gas usage remains the same for two consecutive actual readings. Otherwise this could have gone on for much longer, possibly until we moved. Me calling in by chance served as that red flag.

    So what would you do? I am an honest person and will pay what I owe, but feel I should be able to push back, and at least be able to pay in installments because I fear this will be a shocker. Anyone who has been through this: I'd appreciate tips. Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Broken gas meter, what would you do?

    send them 200 bucks and tell them to Shaddup


    • #3
      Re: Broken gas meter, what would you do?

      Well, I guess you DO owe them... but the question of course is "exactly" what? To that end, they can't answer that question... there is no proof, it's their meter and it's their responsibility entirely and its their negligence that let this go for so long. So, I think it's their pockets that are a heckuva lot deeper than yours... and you're the one who was responsible enough to bring this thing to their attention. Personally, I think they should eat it, as there is nothing here that is your fault, whatsoever!

      But as an honest guy, I'm sure you and I both would feel we have a fundamental responsibility to pay for the gas that we've used... but how is that going to be determined? Just by them? .... I don't think so, as they could very easily just be adding a lot more to cover any question on their losses.

      Probably what I would do, is look to your neighbors, family, or friends who might have similar living conditions in your area. Condsider the comparitive size of the houses, normal living/thermostat settings, furnace, etc. Get some numbers from them so you have a better comparison and then let that (and your sense of fairness) be your guide. This shouldn't have to be a "pissing contest", as you really are on the upside of things here and it is their negligence that has brought it to this point.

      Here in my area, I'm back and forth between two different houses and here in the city the meter is on the outside and that gas company has it's responsibilities. Back at Painted Post, the meter is actually inside and sometimes our schedule doesn't match up with the gas company there... but, they have pointed out that they HAVE to have an actual reading every three or four months, so we both alter our schedules to ensure they can meet their responsibility on the actual meter reading. Again, they are emphatic about the need for an "actual" reading periodictly... and I'm wondering if it isn't actually a legal requirement of the State Public Service Commission. If so, in your case they are remiss on that!

      If it looks like they are being "pushey" or won't grant you a reasonable "pay period" on what you both feel is a reasonable charge, then I think I would be making a call to whatever public commission that provides regulation over them.

      Finally, when I bought my very first home back in the late 60's, we went about four months before we realized that our electric meter was defective. Our monthly bill up to that discovery was very, very low... but what did I know as a young married guy with my first house. It was my Dad who pointed out the fact that the meter seemed to be "out of whack". I called the electric company and they came over the next day and replaced the meter, told me thanks for bringing it to their attention and I got a letter from the local office notifying me that my next bill would be higher because of the old meter was defective... but that bill was only then "normal" and when I called them, they explained that it wasn't my fault their meter was broke.... in other words, they ate whatever loss might have occurred.

      I hope this is helpful and I wish you good luck. Let us know how you make out,

      Last edited by CWSmith; 03-28-2012, 06:47 PM.


      • #4
        Re: Broken gas meter, what would you do?

        Give the busturds nada ! "when you pry this gas meter, from my cold dead hands "
        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .


        • #5
          Re: Broken gas meter, what would you do?

          We got an adjustment bill and it actually isn't that bad. I called and asked for explanation, and was told that they estimate based upon past usage and outside temperature, and then cut it in half because it was basically their fault for not catching it earlier. I'm ok with that.

          I still did take the opportunity to recommend they flag active accounts where they see two or more actual reads that are the same. Nobody wants to get a monster bill if it can be avoided.


          • #6
            Re: Broken gas meter, what would you do?

            Originally posted by JoePolvino View Post
            I still did take the opportunity to recommend they flag active accounts where they see two or more actual reads that are the same.
            only thing with that is, when it's warm out houses with electric water heaters, dryers, and stoves but gas furnaces won't use any, and would get red flagged quite a bit. That's probably why they don't do it.


            • #7
              Re: Broken gas meter, what would you do?

              My meter stopped turning a few years back
              I called and told them when i was getting 20$ bills from them
              I would pay extra on top of the 20 each month
              After i had over 700$ credit, I called again. they sent the guy out and he fixed the meter
              I didn't have to pay a bill for almost a year using up the credit
              No back bill


              • #8
                Re: Broken gas meter, what would you do?

                Not your problem, there meter died, they should have replaced it sooner. If they give you crap, fire them and put a 500 gallon propane tank in.