Thursday, June 7, 2012

Utility Thugs

"Pursuant to EWEB Policy & Procedures, customers may be charged a non-access fee. This is a notice to bring this policy to your attention. 
To avoid a $50 non-access fee, please provide safe direct access to the meter and give us a call @ XXX+XXXX. "

Came home from work to find a notice on the doorknob from the utility company.  

For 18 years they have read the meter w binocs from the back fence.

Suddenly there is an issue and a hefty potential fine?

We should not be required to leave our gate unlocked all the time because the utility company might someday come read the meter. 
If they need access, then they should make an appointment. 

We've not yet been fined, but informed of the policy & procedures & the non access fee. They want a call back response. Oh they'll get a response from me. WTF?
Anyone else ever get such a threat from their utility company?


Jerry Critter said...

Our utility company use to read our meter with binoculars also. Then several years ago when we upgraded our electrical panel to handle an air conditioner, they required that we move the meter outside of your backyard. Now, they recently installed a "smart meter" and it is read remotely. No more meter reader.

D.K. Raed said...

while the elec meter on most of our homes was accessible OUTSIDE the gate, on one home the elec meter had to be read from a dirt road easement located about 50-ft straight UPHILL from our garage. the guy did a great job, only 1 mistake in 12-yrs.

seems to me if they haven't had a problem reading your meter for 18-yrs, what has changed? maybe it's not so much a threat as some shrubbery needs to be pruned or whatever is in back of your fence now preventing them from reading it?

since time is money, most util co's are converting to wireless or remote read meters. if your neighborhood is scheduled soon, problem solved. if not, is there a way you can move the side yard gate further back so the meter is accessible from the street without invading your fenced yard?

if they are inflexible, perhaps they can give you a specific date ea month to leave the gate open. that wouldn't work for many people incl us since we've always had dogs so NO WAY will we leave yard gates open for anything or anyone. I've also heard of some very rural people calling their meter readings in monthly so a util emp'ee only has to come out every 3-mos or so to catch up with any "misreadings".

Christopher said...

Does Oregon have a Public Utilities Commission? If so, tell them what happened and ask them to investigate this.

Fran said...

Jerry ~ There is buzz about smart meters, and people are wondering if the constant transmission might be a health hazard & about the cost (our utility, a publicly owned entity, has already jacked up utility costs 2 x in less than a year, so adding this additional cost is not what people need.

DK~ Well that is exactly what I asked when I called... for 18 years no issue & so what;s the deal?
Must be a new meter reader, they said.
They got an earful from me about the notion of a $50 fine. The utility crone went on to say some people even purposely put dogs in their yard when meter readers are coming.

"My ridiculous meter is in the red zone", said I.
People have a right to lock their gates, and also have a right to have dogs in their yard."

WTF? People own/pay for their property. The Utility company seemed to have this attitude that their business trumps property owner's rights. As if WE are here to serve THEM!

Christopher-- I will. Apparently it is in their rules, therefore rights to assess the fine. The first clerk I spoke with said they hardly ever assess the fee. I told here there should be no such fee.

We did a ton of energy efficiency upgrades last year & don't want them all negated by endless rate hikes and ridiculous fees.

This reminder was just a threat... a fine was not assessed, but I don't like even the threat.
Maybe the public utilities commission can advise on the process to remove the fees off the books entirely.

So many people struggling.... if you are broke or unemployed $50 bucks is a lot of money.

Jerry Critter said...

I would rather someone have a job reading the meter, but machinery and computers don't go on strike, need healthcare, or want vacations or raises.

I am waiting for a computer that can replace management. It shouldn't be hard to come up with one. All it needs is to be expensive, have a poor memory, and not do much.