Upset With \$350 Electrical Bill, Man Pays In Pennies

Not happy with the high cost of his \$350 electrical bill, John Almany of Virginia decided to pay it entirely in pennies, all 35,000 and 170 pounds of them. It took two men with two large duffel bags transport them to the billing counter, and took Bristol Virginia Utilities two hours just to count up to \$26. That’s certainly one way to go about it.

Virginia man pays his \$350 electric bill in pennies [HamptonRoads] (Thanks to Mike!) (Photo: C.Barr)

1. 8minutemiles says:

Ken Griffey Jr approves
[sports.yahoo.com]

2. tc4b says:

@NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave: Maybe they were taking their sweet time on purpose, especially if they required him to wait while they did it. Sort of a battle to see who can be the least mature. He could have countered by singing all of Free Bird (including the guitar solos) over and over at the top of his lungs while they counted. Since they have his phone #, I guess the logical rejoinder to that would be for them to write “For a good time call Mrs.Almany [dude's number]” on bathroom stalls around town.

• NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave says:

@tc4b: This is the reason I keep the soundtrack to “Joesph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat” on my iPod. Cross me, and I’ll sing it all. EVEN the Narrators part in falsetto!

@Rectilinear Propagation: A postal/Pitney Bowes/UPS machine all have scales on them which can be used to weigh. Just saying. It’s quicker to find a scale than to take 2 hours to do \$26.00.

@tc4b: True, but don’t advertise that. It made it seem like it was take your kid to work day, and they let the pre-k kids count out the pennies.

3. failurate says:

If 100 pennies equals \$1, wouldn’t 350,000 pennies equal \$3,500?

4. coren says:

Also, note that dude only made them count for two hours before he took mercy on them.

The company’s “policy” is against the law, I think. Or whatever it is that says if you owe someone a debt, they must accept legal tender or the debt is discharged. Looks like an easy way for free electricity!

5. johnarlington says:
6. Scoobatz says:

If it took the bank 2 hours to count \$26 dollars worth of pennies, just how long did it take the guy to roll \$350 worth? What a colossal waste of time and energy!

Suppose it took him 2 full days to prepare the pennies. The bank could have easily told him to get lost in 30 seconds and bring back some cash.

7. sapere_aude says:

I did this to a pizza delivery guy once. The pizza took so long to come that my friend and I had enough time to scrounge up and count out exact change in pennies. He sat in his car and counted it all.

• chocolate1234 says:

That’s pretty mean. Did it ever occur to you that the pizza delivery guy has relatively little control over how long it takes? If it’s busy, it’s going to take awhile to get the pizza out – NOT the driver’s fault. If you were that upset, you should have complained to the pizza place, as they were the ones taking too long to make your food. That may have been constructive, and you might have gotten a free coupon out of it. Instead, some minimum wage earner wasted his time counting your money, and all the people who were still waiting for pizza had to wait even longer. Very mature.

• dingdang says:

@sapere_aude: The pizza deliverer is last in a chain of people who put together your meal. They take the fall for everyone behind him/her who screwed up. Way to be a bully.

8. dopplerd says:

****Consumerist Calculator Failure****

It is only 35,000 pennies not 350,000.

9. chauncy that billups says:

Kramer: Hey, are you Gak?

Gak: Yeah?

10. Jack Doyle says:

I paid a medical bill using multiple checks written in different amounts.

The bill was \$40, but I was pretty peeved at the place. I wrote them about thirty-seven different checks totaling that amount…. well, Wachovia wrote them the checks.

11. chatterboxwriting says:

\$350 is the highest I’ve seen for an electric bill, so maybe this guy should check to make sure it wasn’t an error. If not, then he should check into cutting down his usage. My house is heated with natural gas and the bill has been \$450-\$600 every month since November. However, the house is poorly insulated, so we weren’t totally shocked when that first \$500 bill came.

12. docrice says:

I did that to an Amish store by us, because every time you’d go in the store they would talk about you in Dutch and crack jokes about you. The clerk didn’t like counting \$10.00 in pennies, nor did he talk about me while he did it.

That said, I was 15 at the time. He’s old enough to know better. Grow a pair and find a more effective way to protest if your bill is not legit.

Perhaps he should turn off some lights or stop running the dryer so much or something. He has nobody but himself to blame. And, why inconvenience the clerks sitting at the service counter? They had nothing to do with the rates OR with his level of usage.

14. drjayphd says:

Oh, come on, pennies? Why not make things more interesting and pay it off in assorted change? And then, to be polite, I’d bring along my coin sorting bank to help ‘em count. Mind you, it’ll only hold enough of each coin for one roll. And you have to push a spring-loaded lever to eject the coins and roll ‘em up. Did I mention it ejects them one at a time?

If you’re gonna be a dick, no reason to half-ass it…

15. HPCommando says:

No you don’t have to take cash, but if you do, you do not have to accept more than twenty-five pennies or nickels in payment, rolled or not.

There’s argument over the “nothing over \$20/\$50″ in bills issue; the way around it is to indicate that you “have no more than \$X in change available”. This way, you can still buy the \$40 item with a \$50, so long as you don’t expect more change than is available.

This came up in a court hearing locally when the idiot tried to pay his \$5000 small claims debt in pennies and nickels, and the court gave him until close of business to get proper denominations for payment, or face contempt charges. The banks wouldn’t take it unless it was all rolled, or they would charge him \$50 to sort and roll it due to the sheer amount he had.

Ah, good times, good times…

16. Costner says:

Yea the guy is just being a jerk and taking it out on the clerks who have to count the money. Personally I’d make him stand there while I counted it before I would accept it as payment just as you would do with any other amount.

Might as well ruin his day if he is going to ruin theirs. Maybe the chucklehead will learn to use less electricity in the future.

17. jharrell says:

Online payments: maybe you could just send \$10 a day for 30 days… 30 transaction fees? maybe a few extra dollars in processing and you guaranteed maybe 1 more person had to keep there job processing your checks each month.

18. chocolate1234 says:

This guy’s a jerk, and immature to boot. I agree with everybody here who has said that he hasn’t accomplished anything – the company still got it’s money. And anyway – heating costs have gone up for everybody.

One of my customers was trying to pay a small bill with the city in rolled pennies (it was probably about \$20 worth), and they wouldn’t accept it. It wasn’t even loose coin, but I can’t say I blamed them. They don’t need rolls of pennies laying around. Makes me wonder if they weren’t legally supposed to turn him away though, since he had cash and all.

19. chocolate1234 says:

*its

20. Stream Of Consciousness says:

Ha ha ha…classic!!

21. MissPiss says:

Wouldnt things be SO much easier if we all had some sort of…say…RFID chip implant that carried all our bank account info? Just walk in, scan wrist, & you are on your merry way? =P

(sarcasm)

22. Beth Coccaro says:

\$350 is easy in Winter months if your heat is electric. If you rent your apartment, there isn’t a choice. Available apartments are becoming more scarce as folks lose their homes and move into apartments…

23. xrmb says:

next time just send them \$350 checks over one dollar…

24. theycallmetak says:

BVU rates are \$0.085 per KWh for the first 1000 and anything over is \$0.09 per KWh. For the \$350 he was using almost 4000 KWh for that billing cycle.

25. Costner says:

So make him stand there while you count it. That just goes to show him if he is going to waste their time, they can waste his too. Otherwise they don’t have to accept it as payment until they prove he is giving them the proper amount.

What a douche.

26. Keter says:

\$350 is a high bill? Mine was \$650 in February: I live in Texas, and have NO IDEA why the bill was that high — and I use two woodstoves to heat the house, so the AC wasn’t running much. My previous high bill was \$500, during a time that was nonstop sub-freezing weather and was before I got the woodstoves. Since I got the woodstoves, my high bill was \$400 when I had two houseguests. \$650?! WTF?! Did they hear I was out of work and needed a monstrous bill to push me closer to the edge?

27. EinhornIsAMan! says:

Well, they can’t refuse legal tender as payment. And last time I checked pennies were legal U.S. currency for all debts, public and private. Even if how much electricity he uses is his own fault, I think he proved whatever point he was trying to make very well.

28. Tom Ryan says:

I would yell out random numbers as they count so screw them up.