Lying about your gas meter readings...

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I was at a party last night and a neighbor who works for a commercial HVAC company explained his method of ripping off the gas company.
He says that gas is a commodity and therefore is typically cheaper in the summer than in the winter. In the summer he "over-reads" his meter by 35 - 40 therms on average, paying for the extra therms at the cheaper price.
In the winter, he "under-reads" his meter by the same amount, paying for fewer of the expensive therms.
Since he is sending in his card every month, and he is staying within "average use" for a homeowner, they only come to read his meter once a year and it's always near the end of winter when his over-reads and under-reads have just about cancelled out.
As they ask on Mythbusters - Busted, Confirmed or Plausible?
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On Mon, 12 Apr 2010 11:40:03 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

I didn't know a meter could be read only once a year. Around here they alternate between estimate and read each month. And here we get to lock in a 12 month price and choose the lowest between several different suppliers. My largest monthly bill is Feb, this year was around $150.00.
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Jeff The Drunk wrote in

If the company doesn't have access to the meter for the alternate reads, they must come at least once per year.
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They dont " Must Do " anything.
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On 4/13/2010 7:22 AM, ransley wrote:

It is a regulatory requirement in my state. They must read the meter at least once/year. It doesn't really matter anymore because the two gas suppliers that serve our region put remote reading registers on all meters that are not directly accessible maybe three or four years ago. Then the one company that serves my house put remote reading registers on all of the meters late summer of last year.
Along the same lines the water company put outside accessible readers on all of their meters maybe 5 years ago and the electric company swapped out all of their meters last year with meters they can read over the powerline. It also is a great help for them because they no longer have to depend on folks calling in when someone hits a pole. When they loose contact with meters they know the scope of the problem and right where to go.
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Jeff The Drunk wrote in

also, this method may not work because the company will wonder why the winter readings are so low and high in the summer. They'll probably want to come and check your meter.
This happened to me when I was submitting my own reads. They are always way lower than what the company thought it should be.
Come to find out , the dummies had us as having 6 people in the house, when there are only 2 of us.
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They track occupancy?? goodgawd, what city/state is this??
--
EA



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The company likes to spy on people. It's NY state. There is also a law if they don't get the yearly reading they charge you $25 per month until you let them read the meter.
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I'm in NYS (ConEd). I didn't know they did this. Not that it matters, but no dealings that I've had with the company -- and there have been MANY, right at their headquarters at Union Square (manhattan) -- indicated their interest of any information of that sort.
I know they are concerned about kids/elderly in the case of turn off's, but that was it, afaik.
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Seems VERY plausible!! HILARIOUS!!
No WONDER the meter readers will pert near pound our doors down around here, to get in.
But no longer for me -- ahm now even more of a victim of Big Brother, as they read my shit remotely.
But, what do you think the net gain is over a year, from this strategy?? $20?? $50?? $100?? And, to get this to work, he can't let the meter reader in during the course of the year -- around here, if you are not read remotely, I believe they threaten to add penalties if they can't get in periodically.
Your neighbor should apply for a job on Wall Street.
--
EA



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On Mon, 12 Apr 2010 15:16:39 -0400, "Existential Angst"

There's almost never anyone at my home (NYC) when the reader comes, so we read it and submit it via internet - or if we forget we get an estimated bill. Once or twice a year someone is home when they come by so I don't know what happens if you go a year. No one counts how many people live in the house though.
I guess it's possible to jiggle the numbers for both gas and electric so you save a bit, but it really seems too minor to bother with.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

"There is no right way to do the wrong thing" Thomas Huxley (1825-1895)
A framed quotation which I've had on my office wall for about 30 years....
Jeff
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On 4/12/2010 2:40 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Sounds like a great story to impress everyone. Typically gas companies hold the price constant for pretty long periods. Also if he averages it out he is loosing the stepped discount you get with higher use during the heating season.
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On Mon, 12 Apr 2010 11:40:03 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

"It's so rare I meet someone who admits right out to being a thief. I assume you don't object when public officials steal or others steal from you or your family."
I'm pretty slow on the uptake, and I might not have thought to say this, but I think I'll remember next time. Especially worth saying if others are there when he said what he did.

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mm wrote:

Yes, I'm prone to speak up when someone starts crowing about how they cheat on their income taxes. I usually say something like, "You realize you've just admitted that you're making me and the rest of the honest citizens pay more than we'd have to if you didn't do that."
My saying that to someone out loud at a party used to get my (first) wife angry with me....
Jeff
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jeff_wisnia wrote:

Not disagreeing with you philosophically about honesty and duty one's duty to society as a whole. But, gas is different than taxes. Gas is a measurable, quantifiable item. Taxes, on the other hand- I can't remember what the proper term is, but no matter how much everyone pays, they will still spend more than they get. Do you really think that if they suddenly magically got 100% compliance with the tax code, that the rate would actually go down? They would just find something else to spend it on, said something probably being whatever they thought would get them reelected.
Taxes are not set by dividing up the justifiable expenses by the number of people. They are set by what the traffic will bear. They strive for just a fraction lower than what would make compliance plummet even more (like to European numbers), or worse yet, what would get the population marching on the various capitols with torches and pitchforks. IOW, the sweet spot where 'sort of' complying is easier than revolution.
(Note that I <can't> cheat- since I work for them, they already know exactly what I make.)
--
aem sends...

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wrote:

I hear your visceral reaction to theft, but..... he's stealing from thieves!!

Yeah, but he's shortchanging profligate thieves..... Plus what aem said.

See? She proly agrees with me!
Once the public trust is betrayed, you're expecting a little too much turning-the-cheek (mebbe 1080 degrees, or more) to ask a betrayed public not to even the score when they can.
It's just too bad that the even-ing of the score can't be better coordinated, for true effectiveness. Sheeple don't coordinate too well, tho.
--
EA


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On Mon, 12 Apr 2010 21:09:07 -0400, "Existential Angst"

I don't think so. But even if so, he's still stealing and admitting it in public. Do you think he limits himeslf to stealing from those you think are thieves?
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And not only that, when people confess their crimes to others, I think they do it to receive what they take as implicit approval.
That if no one objects, they say to themselves, "No one objected. They either think what I'm doing is all right, or they are as dishonest as I am. That is, I'm as good as everyone else there is."
I've rarely had anyone confess a crime to me, and the one person I think has I was a little confused and not sure what he was saying, plus I owe him so many favors, and his business is doing badly now, and he has borrowed money to make his business grow, money I hope he can repay, so I couldn't bring myself to say anything critical so I said nothing. Not because I want more favors, but I don't want to ruin our friendship.
OTOH, with a jerk at a party, even then in truth, I would likely be less in your face, like this:
"Aren't you telling me you are stealing from the gas company? I hope you don't mind when people steal from you." Asking him instead of tellng him. Hoping instead of assuming, which I think also sounds less agreessive on my part.
wrote:

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wrote:

I would not say its stealing, he pays in advance in summer so he is loaning the utility in summer, call it Price Averaging - Long Term Lock In - Buying In Advance.
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