Utility Payment Plans: Thumbs up for gas, thumbs down for electric

I have established payment plans with two utilities:  electric and gas.  Now typically, during the winter the gas bill is higher and in the summer the electric bill is higher.  With these payment plans, I avoid those sharp fluctuations. 

I pay well above the monthly amount of about $120 for gas.  I typically pay $175 per month but then I usually pay nothing for a four-month period each year.   It’s easy going with the gas company.

Don’t know what the problem is with the local electric company, PEPCO.  Sometime last year PEPCO raised my monthly payment to $155 (and that’s on the payment plan!).  Really high.  Now, as noted above, come winter, the rate should drop.  But I realized around November or December 2010, PEPCO had not reduced my monthly payment.   So I continued to pay $155/month.

Last week received an e-mail from PEPCO stating I owed nothing.  I knew I had been paying TOO MUCH each month.  Well, yesterday, I received a statement in the mail from PEPCO.  I had a credit of $238.18 and the current charges totaled $99.27.  You tell me PEPCO couldn’t figure this out sooner.

And, of course, today I  received a letter from PEPCO regarding “Change in Average Payment Plan Amount.”  My monthly payment is being reduced from $155 per month to $114 per month.  I can’t get too excited about this “reduced” monthly payment plan amount because the electric bill is such a yo-yo.

I’m debating rounding up my monthly payment to $120 or $125/month.  Then maybe I can avoid another sharp fluctuation in the monthly payment plan. 

Sometimes I wonder, is the payment plan worth it for the electric bill?

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1 Comment

  1. Kirsten said,

    March 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    To answer your question, I guess it depends on which kind of shock you prefer:
    1) for 11 months be able to know exactly how much to budget in payments for gas and electric, and then get a surprise the 12th month when they reconcile the actual bills. It might be pleasant such as you overpaid and have credit or it might be a nasty shock if they underestimated and now you have to pay a huge amount in one chunk. or

    2) Be at the mercy of the weather each month and grit your teeth when it is very hot or cold because you know the month’s utility bill will be high and throw off your month’s budget.

    Personally, I choose option 2 so I don’t get any surprises at the end of 11 months that might require me to drop something I planned because the money has to go to the utility companies instead.

    BTW I use little water, so some months my water usage measured in 1,000 gal. increments is “0”, but I still have to pay $28 a month basic hookup charge anyway. Same with gas. Even when I’m gone on vacation and use “0”, I am still required to pay $11 a month just for the hookup. That is $39 out of my pocket and into theirs for nothing! The middle class just can’t get ahead even by conserving on energy and water…sigh…


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