… mostly for those people who helped us out with our last emergency, so they’ll know what’s happening.
We got the new electric bill today. And despite our best efforts to cut back on usage coupled with the fact that we had no choice but to use less because one of the house wall heaters broke (and the landlord disconnected it entirely so it wouldn’t eat power) our monthly bill is even HIGHER.
I called the power company and was completely brushed off. What to do next? Complain to the area’s commissioner. Which I just did.
To Whom It May Actually Concern,
I truly dislike having to trouble you with this, however trying to handle things ourselves has gotten us brushed off and ignored. Research into how to file a formal complaint indicates I am to come to you with this problem. And it’s a problem I only know is shared by my entire community because my landlord complained as well.
Of course I’m talking about our electric bill – a burden that people shouldn’t be FORCED to have (if they can live without power, let them I say) and they don’t even get to choose who their company is going to be. When my husband and I first moved to Glenmora, LA the power bill was reasonable considering the amount of power we use. I work at home and he’s a soldier. I constantly have to go behind him and turn off lights, unplug things, etc. So with a household of bad habits we moved in and even with two air conditioners running full time (it needs to be noted at this point we have no thermostat) our bill was at most around $150. At one point I got it down to a manageable $100. Considering we’d ran the air conditioner that month, I was feeling quite proud of myself.
But in the past four months things have drastically changed, and they’ve changed to a point that we literally can’t pay it. I had to hold a fundraiser to pay the $700 bill we got last cycle ($350 for two months each). I don’t have the resources to pay the $371 with cut off notice bill I just got today. Everything has been exhausted between the army expecting my husband to run office errands on his own dime due to budget cuts, me losing a good amount of work, and now this. This is just crazy.
It wouldn’t be crazy if we were, say, doing things that actually merited an increase in electric use. Here is what makes it crazy: After getting the $700 bill, we cut back enormously on what we were doing. We already have a habit of unplugging everything we didn’t use so they would not generate electricity. We increased that habit; let the laundry pile up in fear of running the dryer; one of the wall heaters broke so that the landlord not only had to disconnect it he disconnected the wire entirely so it would not generate electricity; we covered the windows and every opening with blankets; and during the day when my husband was at work I holed up in my office with a tiny heater literally shivering while also feeling exhausted due to lack of sunshine… trying to work. My work production was very negatively affected by this circumstance. VERY.
When we got the $700 bill we questioned the matter to CLECO and were brushed off. That’s what the meter says, we were told, and it must be accurate. So how is it, I asked them today, with the decrease in usage to a health detrimental level it’s went UP? I got no straight answer. Instead I got a list of things that may or may not be using our power that may or may not apply to us, like our heater and air conditioners. I was told that even when things are turned off they generate electricity, after I told them we also unplug. They went through our usage days, and the fact that usage nearly doubles on weekdays when my husband is not home and less items are being used was completely ignored. I was told that we would have to test the meter themselves, that they don’t send anyone out to check it. I was told to hire an electrician.
Meanwhile on the bill, aside from a crazy amount of usage, there are fees such as “fuel charge” – which I’m given to understand is to fuel their trucks that won’t come to see if something is wrong with the meter. We are charged a $48.75 infrastructure and incremental costs recovery cost… but we didn’t have to have anything repaired, and if we did have to have something repaired we wouldn’t know because they won’t check their equipment. We are also charged for storm restoration, because I guess somehow storms blowing through is our fault and we must pay. All of those charges alone are nearly half the bill.
Something needs to be done about this. They’re literally killing us. I can’t make this much money in the days they’ve given me to pay it. I’m a comic book artist. I get paid once a month, and that money has already went to them. And my husband, well… he’s facing medical discharge (How’s that for a thanks. This is why I get annoyed when everyone says “thank you for what you do” because in the end they just don’t mean it). The way things are going here: I love the country. I grew up in an area almost just like this. My father was a shrimper. But I can’t wait to get out. So far Louisiana looks nice on the outside. And that’s just about it.
Thank you for listening.
irate writer who is about to take this to her blog. It’s not a very well read blog. Don’t panic.