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My Rant: heartless utility companies

January 6th, 2009 at 09:10 am

I just received the water bill for my work address. Enclosed in the envelope was a letter stating that the handling of past due amounts had been changed. Altough these changes don't affect us(I have the bill direct drafted each month), I thought the condition seemed a little unjust.

The bill is due on the 20th of the month. Afer that there will be a fee of 10% added to the bill. If it isn't paid by the 28th, it will be disconnected, without further notice, no exceptions. If disconnected, there will be a $25 disconnection fee added to the account. Before the account will be turned back there, the account balance plus a $50 reconnection fee must be paid. If it is after hours, there will be a $100 reconnection fee. This just seems a little brutal to me.

If someone doesn't have the money to pay their water bill, how are they going to come up with the additional fees required? I would think that in this day and time, when the unemployment rate is so high, that a local utility would work with people a little bit more. I am not talking about the homes that are months and months behind and don't communicate with the utilities at all. I am talking about the one that are doing the best they can, call to communicate what is going on and keeps promised pay dates. It is no wonder that people are becoming more desperate!

I am so thankful that I am learning to not have to put myself in that situation anymore!

8 Responses to “My Rant: heartless utility companies”

  1. Nika Says:

    To play a devil's advocate here - I think utility companies have historically been nicer than other creditors in the amount of fees they charge and delayed consequences. That is why they often got paid last, and people run up huge balances. So the companies are starting to change their ways.

    The disconnect/reconnect fees are very reasonable if someone actually needs to go to the area in order to do that.

    Do you think that everyone is entitled to utilities irrespective of their ability to pay? If so, than it should be socialized (which would lead to a bigger waste of natural resources since people won't have incentive to conserve). But as long as it is a business, it needs to try to survive and get paid so it can pay its workers, develop new infrastructure.... to operate.

  2. North Georgia Gal Says:

    To be clear, I am not talking about those that run up huge bills with no intention of paying. I am talking about those that may call and say " I can't pay my bill by the 28th, but by the 5th I will be able to pay it". Those people that communicate with the company and honor the promises to pay on the date stated are the ones that will be affected in the worst way by these new policies. And yes, if personnel is dispatched to disconnect/reconnect they should charge for that. But I am saying why let it get that far if the person just needs an extra week or two and communicates this.

  3. Nika Says:

    North Georgia Gal, I somehow doubt it that they would actually do it - disconnect someone for being one-two weeks/month late. I've never heard of that happening.

    Maybe they are just trying to place themselves a bit higher on people's "to pay" list.

  4. North Georgia Gal Says:

    Nika, you have obviously never had to deal with trying to make arrangements with utility companies. I have been in that position in the recent past. Yes, they will cut you off if you are 2-3 weeks behind. The utility companies where I live do not offer any kind of lee-way.

  5. Nika Says:

    Oh, did not know that.

    Here, if you are one month late you'll be charged like $1.40 and they would only threaten after 3 month. So while we don't have any problems paying it, it is just so easy to forget about it (since it carries almost no consequence).

  6. Ima saver Says:

    I worked for a water company and we would deal with people having financial problems as long as we could. It seems like the same people got their water turned off over and over again. In Florida, if there were children in the house, the water could not be turned off. we even had a couple with children, break into our house (rental) live there, use the water and when we finally got them out, we had to pay their water bill.

  7. Koppur Says:

    Ugh, it seems like these companies are getting greedier and greedier. Makes me want to live in a cabin in the woods and survive on nature alone.

  8. DH Says:

    Wow, all those disconnection & reconnection fees are brutal. The utility companies are really trying to 'milk' as much money as they can out of every situation.

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