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
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?
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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....
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.)
I hear your visceral reaction to theft, but..... he's stealing from
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.
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.
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