Not Enough Bridges For This Water To Go Under

| Working | July 24, 2014

(I am 13 years old. The electric/water company has a monopoly over the entire city and has several members of the city council including the mayor sitting on their board of directors so they get to do pretty much anything they want without repercussions. It is November.)

Caller: “This is [Caller] from [Company] letting you know that you have an overdue bill that needs to be paid immediately.”

Mom: “I already paid the bill two days ago through your online services.”

Caller: “Look, ma’am, I know times are hard but you really should just pay the bill.”

Mom: “I told you. I have already paid the bill through your online service. I even made a screen shot for my personal records.”

Caller: “Ma’am, you do realize that if you do not pay your bill we will be forced to shut off your electricity and water.”

Mom: “Are you deaf or just stupid!? I have already told you several times: I. HAVE. ALREADY. PAID. THE. BILL.”

Caller: “Is this [not our address]?”

Mom: “NO! That’s on the other side of town from here.”

Caller: “OH! I am sorry about that. I will get this fixed ASAP. Now, be sure to pay your bill on time.” *click*

(January:)

Mom: “Yes, I would like to make a complaint.”

Customer Service Rep: “Okay, and what seems to be the problem?”

Mom: “My bill is outrageous this month. There is no way we used this much electricity.”

Customer Service Rep: “Well, ma’am, there are several different ways that you can lower your monthly bill just by conserving energy.”

Mom: “The issue is, your meter-reader didn’t do his job. Not that he ever has, for that matter.”

Customer Service Rep: “Ma’am, we take pride in our business and everyone here—”

Mom: “We were gone for two weeks while on vacation out of state and during that time everything in the house was off. We even went outside and shut off our water to make sure nothing could be left dripping. The bill is triple what it was last month. Do I have to explain to you why it isn’t physically possible for us to use triple the amount of electricity and water we normally use in a month in just two weeks?”

Customer Service Rep: “Uh… I’ll send another meter-reader out.” *click*

Mom: “Yeah, ‘cause he obviously did such a wonderful job last time!”

(It is now February, and my mom comes up to me, fuming.)

Mom: “Can you f****** believe this? The bill is triple again! I just came in from looking at both of our meters and they were no where near what it says on here.”

Me: *looking at bill* “Uh, Mom? That’s our name but the address on here is wrong.”

Mom: “WHAT?! Let me see that!”

Me: *handing it to her* “In fact I am pretty sure that’s the bartender’s house down the street.”

Mom: “That’s exactly who it is! They’re sending us his bill. WHAT THE F***?! I bet that little jerk is getting our bill and laughing all the way to the bank.”

(April:  I get off the school bus to see a truck parked in our yard. Not the driveway, the yard, right in the middle of our flower bed. A man and a woman are messing around with our meter. I think nothing of it because I know some of the other streets in our neighborhood have gotten new meters. I go to use the keypad to open the garage door. It is pouring rain.)

Lady: *shouting* “It won’t work; the electricity is off!”

Me: “Why is the electricity off?”

Lady: “Your dad said that there was something wrong with your meter so we are replacing it.”

Me: “My dad doesn’t live here. He isn’t even a resident of this city.”

Lady: “Look, kid, that’s not funny, talking about your dad like that. Now, we can’t turn your electricity back on so the garage door isn’t going to work.”

Me: “I was dead serious. My dad lives in Loop which is over an hour drive south of here.”

Lady: “Well, whatever. Run along and get out of my way.”

Me: “I don’t have another way to get inside. What am I supposed to do?”

Lady: “You figure it out!”

Me: “And isn’t it dangerous to be working with electricity out in the pouring rain? And what are you going to do about that Texas Sage you ran over? My mom is going to be furious when she sees that.”

Lady: “Hey, kid. I’M the professional here not you, and if your dad didn’t want that plant run over he shouldn’t have put it there. Now run along. You’re only getting in the way.”

(I had to sit on our porch for an hour before my younger brother got home and we went to his friend’s house a block away. His friend’s mom was kind enough to call my mother at work who was furious, to say the least. It turned out that it was the barkeeper’s meter that was broken, not ours, and they had gotten the addresses mixed up AGAIN. It has been six years and NOTHING has improved. If anything the company has only gotten worse. There has even been a Facebook page made for people that have gotten sick of their crap.)

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