Friday, July 10, 2009

The Exciting Game Of Paying Bills

If you haven't noticed, it's summer time which means baseball, inferno-like car interiors, and multiple news stories (delivered with full bravura) about pets, babies, and old people getting heat stroke due to negligence.

It's al
so time to watch your electric bill skyrocket like Bronson Arroyo's ERA. This makes sense. It's hot, you turn your air on more often, the bill inflates.

But have you looked at the itemized charges on your bill? Do you understand them? I don't. I currently live in Phoenix...in July....so it's going to be high, but what exactly am I paying for?

The Bill:

Basic service charge $1.62 - Okay, a service charge. Just something you deal with

Delivery
service charge $30.32- Delivery? Is this a pizza? What's the difference between a basic service and a delivery service?

Environmental benefits surcharge $3.73- Well I'm glad this benefits the environment

Federal environmental improvement surcharge $0.15- Is there a Federal enviro
nment too? I figured the environment was the environment.

Competition rules compliance charge $0.31 - We get charged for you to comply with competition rules? That just sounds silly.

Syste
m benefits charge $1.71- Exactly which system is this? And what are the benefits? Is this like health insurance for the system or is it more like friends with benefits?

Power supply adjustment* $4.92- First of all, beware the asterisk. Secondly, did you undercharge me last time? Is that the adjustment? Do I get credited when you overcharge me?

Metering* $2.32- Tell you what. Call it "yarding" and charge me less.

Meter reading* $1.60- Wait, what's the metering charge? I'll be happy to go down and read my own meter, thank you.

Billing* $
1.80- HA! You're charging me for the right to get billed? Where do I sign up?

Generation of electricity* $63.77- Well this makes sense. You're generating electricity. That's what I should be paying for.

Transmission and ancillary services* $4.79- Now you're just making stuff up. Transmission = delivery. You already charged me for that, you jackasse
s.

Transmission cost adjustment* $1.12- You already adjusted the power supply!

Interim rate surcharge $2.08- Is the rate higher just right now until you find a better rate? Where are you looking for it?

Taxes and fees- Ah yes, we haven't even reached the taxes yet.
Regulatory assessment $0.22
State sales tax $6.88
County sales tax $0.86
City sales tax $0.00
Franchise fee $2.41

Total bill: $130.61

I understand the charge for generating electricity, the delivery charge of the electricity, the environment standards charge, and I suppose I'll take the taxes since those and death are the only constants.

That brings my electric bill to a total of $108.46. I just saved $22! And I didn't even switch to Geico!

Anyone have any bill complaints besides the generic "it's too much" statement? Let me know! And have a happy summer.

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