ABUSE OF THE COST OF ELECTRICITY BILL
Electricity is the lifeblood of the any economy. It powers our homes, offices, and industries; provides communications, entertainment, and medical services; powers computers, technology, and the Internet; and runs various forms of transportation. Not only is electricity the most flexible and most controllable form of energy, its versatility is unparalleled.
Clearly, electricity is a crucial commodity we all take for granted. We scarcely think about it, unless we don’t have it. Fortunately, almost without exception, electricity is there for us when we flip the switch continuing advances in more efficient electric technologies make electricity cleaner and more valuable. And still, it remains one of the true “bargains” among crucial commodities. Within the next few years, regulators and utilities in several several part of the World will be revisiting electricity rates that have been frozen for years. The new rate proceedings are needed to fund new infrastructure investments and to ensure electric rates cover today’s higher fuel and operating costs. Devising rate making strategies that address the new realities of today’s energy markets will be a challenge.
How Are We Being Abused?
These challenges bring about the great question on every lip. How do we come across the abuse of this commodity in term of the bill, first of all you must know that your bill will be base on meter reading or an estimate? Sometimes billing error may occur which means these mistakes could be caused by a utility company or a number of low or high estimated bills. The utility must refund or credit your account with any over-collected amounts resulting from this mistake. Likewise, if you have used more electric, gas or water service than the amount you were billed, you must pay the additional charge to the utility. However,the utility company must explain this “make-up” bill. You do not have to pay this amount in a lump sum.You can pay it back over a period of time that is equal to the time period during which the mistake occurred by so doing you can call your provider to make appropriate payment also the issue of Non-Basic Service Charges A utility company may put a charge for a non-basic service on your bill. However, the utility must present this charge clearly and separately on your bill.
Some examples of these non-basic charges are: merchandise, appliances, installation fees, sales, rental or repair costs,meter testing fees,line extension costs, special construction charges, and warranty programs.
This abuse can take place when we least expected, in the sense that we do not pay attention to basic things we ought to. Failure to give notification prior to some event can lead to abuse this brings us to When it’s necessary to inform the utility company (provider) when we won’t be in need of this inevitable commodity, here are some basic things we have to follow to ease this issue:
Your electric utility must offer budget billing on a year-round enrollment basis.You have the right to request budget billing from the utility company. Budget billing is an agreement you make with the company to have your bills averaged throughout the year. Adjustments to your bill as a result of this averaging may occur periodically throughout the year. The company will review and adjust the amount of your budget bill based on your usage. You will be billed for approximately the same amount each month even though your usage may vary from season to season. At the end of your budget year, if you must pay a large amount to settle the difference from what you actually used,you can ask the company to spread the amount over a period of time. If you do not pay your monthly budget amount on time, your utility may remove you from budget billing. The budget billing program may make it easier for you to plan your utility expenses. The utility will provide you with more information about its programs. Some notifications include:
If you plan to be away from home for along period of time, you have the responsibility to make arrangements for paying your bills and ensuring access to the utility meter. Remember, your utility service continues even while you are away and you will be billed during your absence. Your failure to make arrangements for payment of these bills could result in the shut off (termination) of your service.
Also If you plan to move, you have the responsibility to notify the utility at least 7days before your moving date to have service discontinued. If you fail to notify the company, you may have to pay for service at your old address even after you move .Even though you move, you are still responsible to pay any utility bill you still owe at your old address. It would be helpful to keep documentation that you notified the utility, either by making a copy of the letter sent to the utility or by writing down the date, time and name of the utility company representative you notified. You also have the responsibility of giving the company access to your meter for a final reading and shut off.If you cannot or do not provide access to your meter at the time you want your service shut off, the utility may finalize your account based on an estimate. The utility has the right to issue a revised bill if an actual meter reading later shows the estimate was incorrect.
This abuse can corrected through an order given by the court of law which is Protection from Abuse Order this works If you are a victim of abuse and have a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order issued by the courts, special procedures and protection exist for handling your concerns regarding your utility service. Some of these protection include:
•Your service cannot be turned off during the winter without approval from the
•Depending on your income, a special payment arrangement may be available.
•Your service cannot be terminated the day before a weekend or holiday.
•You may not be held responsible for a bill in someone else’s name.
•You may not be required to pay a security deposit. If you are required to pay a security deposit, you may qualify to spread the amount due over three payments.
Call your utility company to inform them about your PFA so these special procedures and protection can be provided. Your utility company may require you to provide them with a copy of your PFA order. With all this notice you have to understand your terms of service very well.