The warm fuzzy electric company commercials on television are malarkey. Electricity providers fall in place second to organized crime.
We’ve had a colder than usual winter and I knew the bill was going to be a shocker.
Consumers compensate providers for getting the fuel out of the ground, selling it and transporting it to where ever it goes before it becomes electricity. What I didn’t know is that my plan has an extortion clause, otherwise known as a minimum usage requirement. I have to use a certain amount of kilowatts per month or my bill increases.
In my naiveté, believing that had to be a reasonable solution, I initiated an online chat with their representative, Ben.
I type: “Hey Ben, I want a simple plan that charges a set amount for the kilowatt-hours I actually use per month, with no minimum kilowatt hour usage requirement.”
(They don’t use Skype for online chats so I can’t see Ben telling his cube buddy, “I got a live one here; dumb too”.)
Ben types: I’ll be happy to help you with that. Give me a moment to review your account”.
Ben goes to the break room, refills his coffee mug and slowly edges his way back to his cube.
I start dinner, feed the cat and check the mail.
Ben types: “I see your plan Extortion 24, expires in one month, would you like to renew it?”
I think: You moron, why would I commit to financial destruction for another year?
I type: “At the moment, I am comparing providers. I want a plan that does not penalize me if I don’t use a certain amount of kilowatt-hours. Sort of defeats the purpose of conservation, wouldn’t you agree, Ben?”
Ben types: “I understand. I believe our Extortion 12 would fit your lifestyle. I see you use 1999-kilowatt hours per month, not quite 2000. If you switch to this plan your minimum usage requirement would drop to 1000 kilowatt hours. Matter of fact if you’d signed up for this plan last year your current bill would have been $100.00 less.”
I want to tell Ben to go French kiss Frankenstein.
I reconsider; House of Cards is streaming on Netflix and I don’t want to risk a power outage.
I type: “I still have time before my existing plan expires, can I get back to you?”
Ben types:”It is a special offer and may not be available in another month.”
It is clear that Ben is a former used car salesman and has zero interest in my welfare. I declined the special offer.
I’m cranking up the heat, turning down the air conditioning, taking the fluorescent light bulbs to the dumpster. I want to make sure I meet my 2000-kilowatt hour requirement.