Legal question? ? ?

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Ray wrote:

But, do they track? Over a few months, do their readings fall between your readings bracketing the time they read it? Or are their reading way higher/lower than yours on a consistant basis?
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says...

Their reading as reported on the bill is consistently lower than the reading on our meter. It's been this way ever since they installed the new meter a year ago.
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Meter reader has shaky hands and drinking problem?
--
Christopher A. Young
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I was beginning to wonder if you were reading the meter correctly, until I read this sentence:

Now, I wonder if the meter reader is reading it correctly.
We had that problem at our previous house, when the power company put a new guy on the route without proper training. After the fourth consecutive month of wildly incorrect meter readings -- and the power company's adamant refusal to believe that their employee could possibly be reading the meter wrong -- I finally printed out a diagram similar to the ones shown here
http://www.mesaaz.gov/custserv/read_meter.aspx
and taped it to the meter, prominently labeled "HOW TO READ A UTILITY METER" in large, bold, red type. End of problem.
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Ray wrote:

There are two separate issues here:
1. You should continue to press for a sensible explanation. Use certified letters.
1. You used the gas, you are obligated to pay for it. You should escrow the anticipated amount somewhere so you'll be able to handle the possible result. A "mistake" in this billing will almost always be resolved in favor of the gas company under the principle of "unjust enrichment." That said, if you continue to tell them you think a mistake is being made and they continue to tell you all is okay, you can easily claim they merely lowered your bill because they're a bunch of swell fellows.
As a practical matter, you'e liable. If you don't pay, the gas company will shut off the gas. Your only recourse then is to get lawyers, writs, depositions by the barrow loads, hearings, witnesses, records, notaries public without number. a lot of "further affiant sayeth nots...", and experts involved.
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Ray wrote:

Look at the utility's website; it may answer your question. Long time ago, in Indiana, we had questions about the water metering. The city's answer was that if the meter had been undermeasuring, we were liable for the est. difference when a new meter was installed. If it had been overmeasuring, no action (the city would not refund us). Your city building department may also have the facts. Not knowing where you live, no atty is going to be able to give you an accurate answer.
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I think what I would do is to take my own meter readings and calculate the bill yourself. Now when you are under billed, pay the demanded amount and then deposit the difference into an interest bearing account.
At least once a year, ask the gas company to check your meter for accuracy. When they reply stating that they have checked it and found it to be OK, file the letter.
Find out what the statute of limitations is for the gas company seeking arrears billing is, and when that time period has been reached you can then withdraw the amount in the overage account and either refund or credit the homeowners with that amount including any interest.
By doing this it seems to me that you will have protected the interests of the homeowners, and afforded the gas company multiple opportunities to correct their error, so your conscious can be clear.
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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That's pretty much exactly what we do.

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On Fri, 19 Feb 2010 08:38:15 -0500, "Ray"

My advice on any of these types of issues is to "escrow" that money in the bank so when/if they do come after you the money is sitting there waiting for them and you get to pocket the interest. In any case you will be able to negotiate this down and there is a good chance you will just have all the money saved for yourself. It is a win-win since it is really money you think you should have spent anyway. There is generally a limited time that they can come back and reclaim lost billing if it was their fault. I would just be satisfied that I tried to fix the problem, escrow the found money and get on with my life.
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On Fri, 19 Feb 2010 08:38:15 -0500, "Ray"

One question that I haven't seen asked that could be the key. Have you tracked the other meters to see if any of them agree with your bill? You may know your meter number but the meters may be numbered incorrectly.
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On Fri, 19 Feb 2010 22:00:23 -0600, Gordon Shumway

Another question:
Does the drive-by meter reader, over wireless have a faulty software?
The company will not admit that fault. They fix one bug and introduce three more?!
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On Fri, 19 Feb 2010 08:38:15 -0500, "Ray"

Why dont you believe the gas company in that "all is right?" Some reason to not trust the gas company? If you owe a large sum they will most likely work it out over a time period to fit your budget with carrying charges added. With your scenario there may be a class action law suit. The real trouble begins when you don't pay your gas bill "in full" when it is due. I find natural gas a real bargain.
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I'd say that his visual reading of the meter giving a usage that is 3X that of the gas company and the gas company being unable to explain it is reason enough.

How about they come looking for the money 5 years from now after 2 of the 4 units in the building which has one common gas meter for heating have changed hands? Who's gonna pay then?
>With your scenario there may be a class

I seriously doubt a condo type situation with 4 units qualifies as a class action lawsuit.
The real trouble begins when you don't pay your gas

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