One home was paying for both their power and their neighbor’s after their meters got crossed. Over seven years they overpaid by $11,000 despite making costly upgrades to reduce power consumption. [More]
The City of Chicago has gone ahead with a deal to lease the city’s parking meters to a company that raised the rates — and the results are reportedly tragic. It now costs 28 quarters to park for two hours in the Loop, which some say is causing the meters to fill up with quarters and break.
Update: As several readers have pointed out, there’s a simpler explanation for the confusion: both the OP and I were misreading the meter. The first digit should be rounded “down” to 9, so the meter in the photo actually reads 997.4 MCF—which is more in line with the previous bill. Thanks to everyone who caught this and wrote in or commented! We hope this helps you out, Michael.
Here’s another good reason to monitor your utility bills. A woman in Illinois saw her quarterly water bill shoot from $150 on average to $3600, after the village where she lives finally fixed a broken outside meter that for 25 years misreported her home’s water usage.
To make sure you’re paying the right amount on your monthly water bill, you should know how to read your water meter and compare it to the amount your utility company thinks it should charge you. As several readers pointed out previously, in some cities you can even do your own meter reading and call in the number each month. “But how do I read my water meter?” Here’s how.
Paul wants to know how his gas company can get away with estimated meter readings instead of actual numbers, especially since they lead to much higher bills. “This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of,” he writes, “And we are hoping that The Consumerist will be able to help us out.” It’s pretty common practice, actually, and the solution is to call the company and request a real reading as soon as possible.
The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago is trying to get “quickie” approval for a proposal to privatize the city’s parking meters. Under the 75 year lease, Chicago’s 36,000 parking meters would be controlled by a partnership that includes Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and LAZ Parking. This partnership will, naturally, raise prices. Critics of the proposal say that charging $6.50 an hour by 2013 to park downtown would hurt local businesses.
Cab rides in Washington will soon be cheaper thanks to Mayor Adrian Fenty’s decision to scrap the DC’s antiquated and expensive zone system in favor of the modern meter system found in any respectable city. Cheaper fares for residents means less profit for cabbies. Said one: “There is no way we can make a living on a [time-and-distance] meter.”
“The talk of a strike is in the formulation plans,” said Nathan Price, a driver for Yellow Cab Company of D.C. Inc. and a spokesman for the D.C. Professional Taxicab Drivers Association (PTDA).