Sunday, May 2, 2010

Experiment updates

I told you earlier this week that I've been engaging in several household experiments. So far, I have won one and lost one.

Household win: recycling!

Matt and I did this fairly easy switch for a new recycling "bin" that is actually a trash can with a recycling sign slapped on. On Thursday, the recycling company accepted it as they would a regular-sized recycling bin. Victory! Now I will have to figure out a paint plan to make that recycling logo official. Maybe I'll make a stencil!

Household fail: gas company meter reading

The gas company did, in fact, send someone to our house on Thursday to read our gas meter after I complained about an insanely high bill. I know the company actually came by, not because I was home, but because 1) there were footprints in our mulch and 2) when I called the company Friday, they told me they took this reading of 6847, exactly what I saw when I snapped this photo as evidence Thursday morning before leaving for work

So, it seems like this should also fall into the category of a household win, no? WRONG! Here's the deal:

The company claims they really took a reading on April 7 of 6826 CCFs. They are sticking to that claim, despite the fact that the second customer service rep I talked to at Washington Gas told me, "I doubt that actually happened." Right, me neither, because I had to leave our gate open to let someone in on Thursday, and I haven't done that in the three and a half years we've lived here.

This reading is only funny because it means that between April 7 and April 29 we only used 21 CCFs, but between March 9 and April 7 we used 200 CCFs, which I take issue with because we turned our heat off on March 15. When the person I talked to on Friday said the company sticks by these numbers and will not be adjusting our most recent bill, I said, "So, this means that I can expect an incredibly small bill issued in early May?" he said, "Yes." I mean, if this is true, we're talking about the smallest bill we've ever received while living in this house. I will be watching you, Washington Gas.

Finally, I said, "I would really like to be able to send in my meter readings [any method: website, phone, snail mail, whatever!] each month so I can be guaranteed that the bills are accurate," he remained me that Washington Gas does not allow us to do that, but that I can pay attention to the next meter reading day listed on my gas bill and call if I see a discrepancy. Well, you can bet I will be doing that. Something just seems off in this entire situation, and it annoys me that Matt and I conscientiously turn our thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer in efforts to be environmentally friendly but also help save money, yet it does not seem to affect our bills.

The next meter reading date in May 6, and you can bet I've already entered that in my Google calendar!

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