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
and taped it to the meter, prominently labeled "HOW TO READ A UTILITY METER"
in large, bold, red type. End of problem.
There are two separate issues here:
1. You should continue to press for a sensible explanation. Use certified
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
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.
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.
About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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
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
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.
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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