Saturday, January 07, 2006


Yesterday, I experienced an adrenaline surge of terror after opening my electricity bill from good ol' ConEd (a name that I always mistake as spelling out "Cone head" for reasons I didn't quite understand, until now).

It turns out that, despite the fact that I don't have a television, stereo, air conditioner, christmas tree, stove, toaster oven, aquarium, halogen "grow-lites", clock radio or electric heat or any other appliances with a healthy appetite for electricity (save for my microwave, laptop, cell phone, refrigerator and a couple lights), someone living in my apartment somehow managed to consume nearly $800 of electricity last month (I suspect the birds did it; they've been acting strange recently). Before this, my power bills have always been between $12-50 in NYC.

Of course, in keeping with Murphy's Laws, I opened this bill after business hours, so I have all weekend to think about it. Considering that I am unemployed yet again with no income-producing possibilities in sight, and this bill is nearly as much as I pay for renting my humble abode, it is probably easy to imagine that I am currently experiencing a sharp increase in stress hormones. I just hope I don't end up with brain damage before the weekend is over.



© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist

9 Peer Reviews:

Anonymous yellowibis said...

Do you know how they split up the power in your building? How do they know or prove that that electricity went into your apartment?
I once lived in a place that (as it turned out) was dividing up the electricity in an even split, which worked about ok until a major energy user moved into the ground floor, and suddenly we were expected to pay bills that went up an order of magnitude.

Sara @ YellowIbis

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Astroprof said...

It is amazing how these bills seem to be timed to arrive on Fridays. That way if you open it when you get home, it is too late to call them (of course, you never get a real person when you call, anyway). I don't know how many times that I have stewed over the weekend on something that came in the mail on Friday.

11:02 PM  
Anonymous parrotslave said...

Can you check the meter number on the bill with the actual number on the meter to make sure they are reading the correct meter? Not too long ago the news ran a story about a home owner who had been paying for someone else's electrical use for about 9 years because the power company confused the meter numbers.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Tabor said...

I am sure it is a mistake. The headache will be the time it takes you to straighten it out. When we sold our house and moved into the first rental our first water bill was OVER $1,000. It took me several phone calls and a trip to the office to get them to realize that was owed by the previous rentor and the landlord was respnosible. I got stressed!

7:01 AM  
Blogger Rexroth's Daughter said...

There is no way that can be your actual bill. I've read of other cases like this where the bills have been in the $1000s of dollars. It takes perserverance and a firm insistence for the Cone Heads to see it your way. Good luck, and definitely update us on the outcome.

11:36 AM  
Blogger ScienceWoman said...

That has to be some sort of mistake. I once had a water bill ~20 times higher than normal. It turns out that due to inclement weather my meter wasn't read at all. Hopefully you can get it sorted out smoothly.

1:51 PM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Sara and ParrotSlave; I think each apartment has its own meter, but I am unsure where they are located. Of course, the building super is impossible to find on weekends (and he's still mad at me because it recently took him 4 hours to install my Very Expensive Deadbolt on my door). Otherwise, I'd hunt him down and make him show me where the meter is so I could check the numbers myself.

Astroprof; it's a global conspiracy. If it isn't the bills that arrive on Fridays, it's rejection letters for all those academic positions I've applied for that arrive on Fridays. As a result, ALL my weekends for the past 2.5 years haved been ruined. Sigh, and then people wonder why I am depressed ..

Tabor, RD and ScienceWoman; I hope this is a mistake; otherwise, I have no way to pay my rent at the end of the month! Oh wait .. I am not allowed to think about that right now because I can't afford the obligatory drinking spree that such thoughts inspire, either.


4:31 PM  
Blogger jamie said...

Down here in the southeast, that much in rent (~ what I pay) will get you a 3BR house with a yard big enough to feed a number of birds, not to mention some amphibians and a few nocturnal mammals, even in one of the more expensive "big cities." Tee hee, okay it ain't NYC, but we manage. We also have lots of vultures and hawks and black bears. Maybe you should migrate south. Our colleges need some smart folks with passion . . . .

7:04 PM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Jamie; okay, so i could afford a mansion on what i spend for a shoebox (or electricity!) up here .. but what is the annual income there? i suspect i will only ever be able to afford a shoebox, regardless of where i go.


7:01 PM  

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