View Full Version : Free loan for my Electric Company.

Chris Rosenberger
07-05-2007, 12:04 PM
Because we heat our house with electric, I have been paying my electric bill on a budget billing plan for many years. It worked out very well when we had a small local electric company. They kept the payments adjusted so you never had a large balance or a large credit & the payment amount never adjusted up or down by a large amount.

That all end when our small local electric company was bought out by Duke. I have never had a balance carry over from month to month; I always have a credit balance. Last year they started adjusting my payment every 3 months based supposedly on my last 3 months usage. My payment has changed by as much as $60 in one jump. I always thought the idea of budget billing was to smooth out those large jumps from month to month.

With this months bill I got a notice that my payment would increase by $30 base on the last quarter’s usage as compared to the last 12 months usage. I thought this could not be right because our electric usage has been going down mainly because our kids no longer live at home & getting newer appliances.

I went to the Duke website to check out my usage. I found that over the last 24 months my usage has averaged $184, over the past year the average was about $185 & over the last 3 months it was about $161. Our payment for the last 3 months has been $186; it is to go to $216 next month. After paying this month’s bill I have a credit balance of about $200. At the current usage & payment I would have a huge credit balance by the end of the year.

Thinking the notice was a computer error, I called Duke. I was told that it was not an error & that their budget billing program did not take a credit balance into consideration. It is adjusted solely based on usage. They could not give a good explanation of how they arrived at the $216 figure base on the fact of my usage being an average of $161. Needless to say I am no longer on budget billing.

I wish I could bill my customers this way. I would never have to get a loan.

I feel better now. :)

Mark Rios
07-05-2007, 12:39 PM
Stinkin' raffemfrazzen dingdangalangin' goshdarn power companies..........:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

jeremy levine
07-05-2007, 12:48 PM
My oil company tried that last month. oops did we forget your on level billing.

Ron Jones near Indy
07-05-2007, 1:02 PM
Makes me glad I'm still with a co-op. It may be high, but they are nice about it.:D

Randal Stevenson
07-05-2007, 2:59 PM
The customer always pays. Need more money, gas surcharge, gas goes down, let's see if anyone notices us leaving the surcharge on.
Screw something up, charge it to the other customers. Not on level billing, overcharge and then have to rebate it back to your customers more then a year later, when the state financial inspectors get done auditing you.

Always seems to be Opps, our mistake (aka Opps, you caught us).
Never went on level billing for gas, had one friend who did, and I figured if he paid what I paid (smaller house), he was overpaying by about $600 a year.

Joe Tonich
07-05-2007, 6:52 PM
Stinkin' raffemfrazzen dingdangalangin' goshdarn power companies..........:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

Good thing ya didn't put any ****'s (not a word....just stars) in there.

Thats why I pay for what I use monthly.....budget just makes em richer.

Jim Becker
07-05-2007, 8:34 PM
Do your own "budget" by using an automatic savings plan with your bank or ING Direct. (I use the latter) and put your utilities back on "pay as you go". Wouldn't you enjoy earning 4+% interest rather than making an interest-free loan?

Brian Elfert
07-06-2007, 8:43 AM
I don't have any problem with the budget billing from the utility that supplies my gas and electric. It is a yearly program that resets at the end of the year. At the end of the year you either owe them money and they bill you or if they owe you money the credit balance is applied to future bills.

I always call every year and have the budget amount set a bit higher than the computer calculates because the computer amount sometimes isn't enough. I would rather have a credit than owe two or three hundred like one year.

Originally my budget year started in February because that is when I moved into my house. One fall I started getting real small bills. I called and they said my credit balance was too high. I was a little irate as I wanted that credit balance going into winter since my actual usage goes way up in the winter. They ended up resetting my budget plan so it resets in October instead. Now they are essentially giving me a loan I pay back over the summer instead of me giving them a loan over the summer. I still owe $50 from last winter.

My budget amount is $150. I have a new very efficient house. Living by myself also helps keep the bills down.

Art Mulder
07-06-2007, 10:20 AM
Do your own "budget" by using an automatic savings plan with your bank or ING Direct. (I use the latter) and put your utilities back on "pay as you go". Wouldn't you enjoy earning 4+% interest rather than making an interest-free loan?

Hey! Now that is a very good idea. Especially, for any folks who are on the disorganized end of the spectrum and find budgeting to be a struggle. (nope, not pointing any fingers, nope.)

My only "budget billing" setup is with the natural gas utility here, and they have it very well run. They only adjust the bill (play catch-up) in the summer, and they never let the credit balance grow that far -- I've never seen it larger than $100 as I recall, if that. This usually means that every August is a no-gas-bill month as they play catch-up.

Now, to be sure, it did take most of a year after we moved in to this house, for them to adjust things to match the usage of our family. (the previous owner must have left windows open in winter, near as I can tell, based on the first budget billing statements that I got! :confused: )

Matt Bickford
07-06-2007, 12:38 PM
I don't use the budget billing for all the reasons mentioned. My sister, however, did use it. She ran into similar problems with the credit in her account being extremely large. She was pretty concerned about it until she realized that the electric co. pays an interest rate that was nearly 3x that of her savings account. I think it was 8% They have to pay some form of interest on your credit. You may not be as upset (or maybe you will be more so) if you find out what you're getting.

Lee Schierer
07-06-2007, 1:46 PM
We've had balanced billing for close to 25 years with our power company PENELEC). They haven't figured out yet how to come up with the same number twice in a row. Apparently the power company computer can't do simple math, it is trying to compensate for the degree days, relative humidity, mood of the operator, lastest polical poll numbers and who knows what other factors they use to come up with the answer they provide.

My LOML sat down added up the actuals from the previous year, divided by 12 and that is what she sends in each month. The power company has never complained nor have they sent a late notice. Our anneversary date is February so we always start out behind, catch up in the summer and get ahead and eat into the surplus in the fall and early winter.