Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Truth About My Gas Bill

I am completely humilitated by this, but angry as hell at the same time. I have nothing to hide and I have no problem telling everyone what is happening.
This bill is not for one month, but goes back YEARS, according to the people in the good city of Kitchener, where I live, pay taxes, and to whom I make the payments on my gas and water.
The utility company came to me over a year ago, saying that I owed $400 from a previous address. I didn't dispute it, I really wasn't certain as to whether or not I paid the bill, from an address that we had left 2 years earlier. I agreed to pay it. The bill (after I made a $100 payment, and arranged to pay the rest within 2 weeks), then went up to $800, with the gas company saying that I now owed for another address. The bill then went up to $1200, $1500, $2000, and finally, $2500. The explanation given to me was that I had not made ONE payment on a gas bill in OVER 5 years. (one of the addresses in question was my ex husbands).
I do not reciepts that go back over 5 years. I am lucky to find anything from this month. Common sense would tell you that I had made payments on the bill, or it would have disconnected YEARS ago. I found some reciepts, a couple, which the gas company never gave me credit for. One account # that we are being billed for, never even exisited. If they can make a mistake on that one, then why not all of them, or at least more than one. They refuse to even consider the fact that we don't owe this amount. The bill has now jumped from $2500 to $3256.88 without an explanation. (They want an extra 50 for when that reconnect me). Since we have lived here, I have been paying my bill, including $150 that I paid last WEEK.
I know that we look like dead beats. I know it. I do not owe this money, and I have no way of paying off such a large amount. I am paying my bills, as best as I can. We just finished paying that crazy hydro bill. I paid it in full, even though I was double billed for a portion of it.
So, the utility company refuses to cut me any slack. We have offered to make payments, but they won't hook us back up until we are paid off in full. I am afraid to make payments, I am afraid that the bill will continue to grow, and we will never be paid off. They are disconnecting our water tomorrow. I don't owe ANYTHING for water, other than this months bill. They are cutting the water until they get $2000 for the GAS. Does this sound like black mail to you? It does to me.
Once the water is cut, we have to place the girls elsewhere. Not only can we NOT live here without water, but the Children's Aid will take them if they find out. I can NOT imagine a Christmas without my kids.
We have phoned the mayors office. He can't/won't help. We have phoned everyone. EVERYONE. Does anyone have a number for God?

P.S. After some digging, I did find some paper work from the gas company. The numbers do not match, and the amounts owing for the addresses in question are not the same as what the gas company claimed today. I also found one reciept for a payment not credited to me. I think that is all coming too late. The lady that Hubby spoke with today advised us to pay the bill in full, and then they would re-evaluate what we owe. They would be more than happy to reimburse us after the fact.
I think that it's too late anyway. The gas is already cut, and the water is going first thing in the morning. Keep your fingers crossed, guys. I could use some happy thoughts.


Anonymous said...

How do you pay your bills? Online? Credit cards? Checks? Try getting records from the bank directly.

Have you considered that you may be the victom of identity theft? Check out the centers that help with that.

I don't know if Canada has a better business bureau, but we do here. You can find them online. I used them once and they did a full investigation, just from a short e-mail from me!

I'm assuming you've gone all the way to the top of that company...

Also, try higher up than the mayor, again, I don't know how the government works in Canada, but if you guys have senators, contact yours. They are surprisingly helpful.

I'll do some hunting for that phone number to God for you!

hang in there, I'm sending all the happy thoughts I can your way. You'll get through this somehow!

Anonymous said...

Hang in threre this will work out.

Life, or Something Like It said...

ldbug - I pay my bills by money order, or cash. I have all of the reciepts from gas since I moved in here. Anything else would be nearly impossible to find. Even if I wasn't terminally disorganized, I would never have anything from more than a year or 2 ago, never mind 5 + years. I honestly don't know anyone that could go back more than a year or two.
We have phoned nearly everyone that we could think of. I am not asking for any debt that I have to be erased, but that we could sit down with a member of the gas company and work out what really is owed. They have given us so many different amounts, and for different addresses, that it's scary. Their solution is for us to pay FIRST, and then they'll sit down with us.
I have spoken to the police before about the idenity theft situation, but I don't think that it's a priority for them. Someone ran up a $70 bill at the library in my name, too.
Since we are unregulated, nobody seems to want to help. I will try the mayor again tomorrow, we didn't make it past the receptionist today.
Like I said, I know that it looks bad, but I know that we do not owe this money. I paid off the crazy hydro bill, so why would I skipout on this bill? I just can't see why they would cut my water, too. With no water, I can't even keep my kids here. Even if I am a deadbeat, my kids deserve better. I would gladly pay the whole amount if they would give me a payment plan and hook me back up. Hell. I'd pay the neighbours bill, too, if that's what it would take.
Keep up the good thoughts, I can certainly use them.

kim jong ramone - sometimes I'm funny. really.

Anonymous said...

Guess I should have read this first before our IM? You must be worn out explaining it again, eh? Well at least you have a start by having all the receipts from this house that is good - and I think ldbug is right about the identity thing - even if they don't want to help - don't they have to prove it somehow?

I still wish you'd let me call the mayor - it is often I offer to be an "ugly" American on purpose y'know!

Hugs for you me if you need to chat!

Anonymous said...

I believe that you don't owe anything. And you're right, no one keeps bills for that long. It sounds like a right mess but there must be some way to challenge it.

I just wish I knew how...sorry.

Kate Isis said...

Hey hun,
I'm no stranger to this at all. Sheriffs knocking on the door evicting us for non payment of land rates for one month, water being cut off, electricity and gas as well. Its draining and it sucks and all you wantto do is sit in a corner and cry. At least thats how I feel at times. In your case i'd fight it hun, call the mayor make a big fuss.
Theres not much I can do to help you but send you big hugs and positive energy
hugs from Australia

Anonymous said...

That really sucks! The Water company did something similar to my mother in law. They are making her pay 5000 dollars to install a sewer where she lives. She has no choice, but they are letting her make payments.

Can you guys move somewhere else and get somebody else to sign the lease or something?

I'm really pulling for you.

Anonymous said...

**it isn't often...I am picking up your typing Bid ;D

Anonymous said...

Do you have a television station you can contact? Down here we have a couple of "whistle blower" reporters that take on cases like yours. Usually if the media starts poking around issues get resolved. Just a thought.

{{{ hugs }}}

Heidi the Hick said...

Hang in there. paper. Phone calls. Persistence. Keep it together today just long enough and we'll cry together when it's all over.


Life, or Something Like It said...

Skippymom- I'm giving up on the mayor. Maybe I'll e mail him later, and let him know what exactly is happening at city hall. Thanks for the offer, I'll think on it...

Tod - If they were challenging bills from this address, I would be able to prove something. This is just lunacy. Thanks for believing in me. It means alot.

Kate isis - Hugs are great! I'll take them! It is draining, and so stressful, and I am so angry. If I really owed this amount, then I wouldn't be able to say much...I really DON'T owe that much money, if I owe any at all. I can't trust their accounting.

Corky - We tried putting the gas in another name. No luck there. I don't think that this is going away until it's paid, one way or another. Hopefully, I'll get some - or all - of the money back. I just can't understand how they justify any of this. I owed $$$$ for YEARS before they come collecting? None of their #s match...
How did your MIL get stuck paying for the sewer? Thank goodness she was able to make payments.

Marni - The only reason that I haven't taken this to a public forum is my ex- husband. We're trying to keep our location a secret from him, and if he knew where we lived....He would cause so many problems for us. I'm hoping that AFTER everything is dealt with, we can take this higher up, maybe even to a TV station. If my x found out that we had no heat, he would make a move to get the kids. He scares me. A lot.
Thanks for the hugs.

Heidi - Keep praying. We'll cry (more) later.