Monday, November 10, 2008


I had to call the Kansas Natural Gas company the other day. We're on their "Even Pay" plan to help budget our money. Even so, at this time of year the payments usually go up when I turn on the furnace. So I scrutinized the bill and noticed that it showed no gas usage—at all. So I looked at last month's bill and the month before that—no usage—at all.

So, I talk with a person who calls herself "Tina."

"What's the deal here?" I ask.

Tina goes off-line for a few minutes while the computer pulls up our information. She comes back with,

"That's easy to explain. We noticed last December that your meter was dead, so we've just been using an average of the last three years to estimate this year's usage."
"You knew this last December?"
"Oh, yes, this sort of thing happens all the time."
Yes, I know. It happened at our house about 20 years ago and y'all fixed the meter within the month. When can we expect your crew out to fix the meter?"
"Well, I really have no idea. The schedule is all filled with new construction connections."
"Meanwhile, what happens next month when your meter will have been off for a whole year?"
"We have a formula that calculates your usage. It's really very accurate."
"You'll be hearing from me again."
I intend to call every week until they send someone out to fix the meter or until I talk to my furnace guy. Maybe I'll go all electric. Westar never lets their meters go dead.

The word for the day for November 10, 2008 is "estimate" — Pronunciation: \'es-tə-,māt\
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): es·ti·mat·ed; es·ti·mat·ing
Etymology: Latin aestimatus, past participle of aestimare to value, estimate
Date: circa 1532
1 archaic a:
esteem. b: appraise. 2 a: to judge tentatively or approximately the value, worth, or significance of. b: to determine roughly the size, extent, or nature of. c: to produce a statement of the approximate cost of. 3: judge , conclude.

Our quote for today is from the Bible: New Testament, Luke 14:28:

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?


  1. Oh dear,what a mess. If that happened over here that you showed no gas usage, they would stop billing you then when the mistake was found they would hit you with an enormous bill. Hope you get it sorted.

  2. We had that happen last year. Fortunately we didn't even know it until we looked outside and they were in the process of replacing it. Paul went out to see what it was about. Hope your able to get this sorted out. The operator sounds like a real ditz. (Hugs)Indigo

  3. no different to here then, do they only employ the dimmest of people to answer their phones? always so helpful these help lines!!! You keep at them they will soon fix it just to get you off their!!hope you get it sorted take care mrs t xx

  4. The obvious answer is to open all the doors and crank up the heat. Their 'estimate' will not even be close.
    I am all about mindless revenge... :)

  5. the local gas company scheduled a meter replacement for me last year, on a day when the temp hit ~ negative 20. I told them 'two hours without gas? Uh, no' and that was it for the day.

    Assuming you haven't made any drastic home improvements or energy upgrades, the estimated totals might work in your favor.

    Or do as Doc Anne said :)


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