Bad gas meter?


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Old 03-03-09, 12:19 PM
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Question Bad gas meter?

My delima is probably the opposite of everyone here. I think I am being underbilled on my natural gas useage. For the past two bills they have been about $100 less each month than the previous year. The $20.00 bill I received yesterday says I only used 8.7 therms. Last year I used 121.7 therms for the same time period. We have a Ruud forced air furnace and a Rheem water tank, both nat. gas. Our heating habits are the ssame as last year. Should I notify the gas company or wait for them to figure it out? Does this sound like a faulty meter to you?
 
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Old 03-03-09, 12:32 PM
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Well, if you want a huge bill somewhere down the line..just wait..and yes you will have to pay it. Just because of a meter problem, it doesn't mean you weren't responsible for the usage.

Its also possible you were overcharged before..but I doubt it.

Call them and tell them you think there is a problem..do the right thing..(to steal a line from Spike Lee)
 
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Old 03-03-09, 12:40 PM
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Oh, I know I will have to pay for it down the line. It is in the budget. I wonder how longer it would take the gas company to figure out there is a problem. Is there a sticky dial in the meter or something?
 
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Old 03-03-09, 12:47 PM
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No clue on gas meter internal workings. I'd still pay it now. What if it takes them 2 years to find the problem...do you have $2000 planned when it comes due? You must be better with budgeting than I am...lol.
 
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Old 03-03-09, 01:18 PM
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More than likely, the meter was underread and you were billed for less gas than you used.

You can check that by reading the meter as it is now. Here are directions on how to interpret the gas meter reading:

Reading Your Gas Meter


I used to be a customer service rep for a gas utility, and hundreds of times I got complaints about a bill being "too high" when the meter had been underread the previous month and the catchup bill was deemed to be "too high." Somehow, people calling in to complain that their bill was "too low" almost never happened.

It would be unusual to have the meter underread two months in a row, though. Reading the meter now will help determine what is happening.





Other things could be going on, though
 
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Old 03-03-09, 01:22 PM
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Gas Meter

It is possible the meter is bad but another question is how was the weather compared to the same time last year? Your gas company should be able to tell you how many heating degree days there were for each billing period.

You can get historical weather data here: NOAA's National Weather Service
Click on the map to get to your local weather service office. From there you can retrieve temps, degree days, etc.
 
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Old 03-03-09, 01:56 PM
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I recall one episode where a customer's bill kicked out because it was "too high," for something like 1100 ccfs of gas in the winter time when 100 would have been expected. After examining the history on the account, the utility clerk billed them for the 100 ccfs that you would have expected.

The next month, another huge bill ----even larger, and the same solution.

When a truly huge bill the next month was generated, that one was permitted to go through.

The customer called in to complain of course. It turns out that the college student kids had been home for Christmas and turned up the heat of the pool in December! So the bill was owed.
 
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Old 03-03-09, 03:55 PM
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After I got the 2nd bill, the first thing I did was go out and read the meter to compare it to the bill. Both figures are in line. Last year and this years winter.....not much of a temperature difference. SeattlePioneer - I'm in Lynnwood and this is with PSE. And not to mention the fact that during the summer, when the heat isn't even on, our bill has never been this low. About 5 years ago they updated the meter with a new one. I guess they just aren't built as good as the old ones.
 
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Old 03-03-09, 06:52 PM
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Puget Sound Energy --- my old comp'ny!


Are you saying that your reading of the meter confirmed that the latest bill was accurate? Your comment isn't quite clear.

Post the date and reading from your gas bill and the date and read you obtained after you read the meter.

And no, the gas meters used tend to be quite reliable, but they can fail. Usually the meter index quits registering consumption while the meter itself continues to pass gas as usual. This produces a "non registering meter" which usually produces a gas bill for zero gas consumption.

A meter simply slows down and fails to register the consumption accurately is rare. When detecting a possibly defective meter, the utility would replace the meter with a new one and send the old one to have the accuracy carefully tested. If it is provewn to be inaccurate, they would rebill your account for the best estimate of your actual usage, usually based on the gas consumption per degree day during a similar period in a previous year.
 
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Old 03-04-09, 09:03 AM
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My meter was read by PSE on Feb. 23 and the reading was 1175. As of 8:15, this morning, March 4, it read 1177. Not much of a change for roughly 8 days. Comparing our bill to last years for the same time period, 1/21-2/23, we used 112 CCF's. That is our typical useage for this time of year.
For all of 2008 our bills were consistant with the previous years useage. (that is how I base my budget) It wasn't until I received Jan. & Feb. 2009 bills that I saw a huge difference.
 
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Old 03-04-09, 03:04 PM
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2 ccf

You are right. That certainly isn't much gas usage for 8 days. I too believe you have a bad meter. Might as well make the call to PSE 'cause sooner or later you're going to have to pay the piper.
 
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Old 03-04-09, 05:47 PM
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How do you think the gas company will come up with an acceptable useage amount to bill me for? Average it for the same time period over a couple of years? Or how far back they will try and go. It's only completely obvious that something has been wrong for 2 months.
 
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Old 03-04-09, 05:57 PM
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Historical Data

SP can probably answer this better than I but my guess is you "corrected" bill will be based on degree days & not calendar days & they will likely go back a couple of years to determine a good average for you.
 
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Old 03-04-09, 07:51 PM
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Sounds like you have the rare condition of a meter that is just running very slow.

When I was working at what was then Washington Natural gas, low bills that still showed consumption didn't kick out as something to check, only bills that had gone to zero consumption would kick out for someone to look at, perhaps months later.

Probably before long the meter will quit registering consumption at all, and eventually the meter will be changed, tested and you will receive a bill for your estimated consumption based on your history of gas consumption and the degrees days used during a comparable period of time.

The company has no interest in gouging you ---- after all it's their meter that is bad.

My suggestion ---- call it in now. If you are lucky, the meter test will get lost or thrown away and you'll never get billed for the actual amount of gas you used.
 
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Old 03-04-09, 08:08 PM
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I hired in to Washington Natural Gas in 1979, and it was bought out by Puget Sound energy circa 1997 or so. For much of my twenty years with the company I was buying company stock through various investment plans.

The company was just bought up buy an Australian investment company (?) which paid cash for all those shares. Opening a nodescript envelope and finding a check for $118,000 dollars a couple of days ago was a worthwhile pay day!
 
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Old 03-05-09, 10:31 AM
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Congratulations SP on your nice large windfall. Same thing happened to my friend about a week ago. Her check was for $207,000 for long ago stock bought by her father. Of course now it goes in to his trust, but is there all the same.
I'm going to monitor my meter for another week or so and see if anything changes. Then I will call PSE.
BTW - our furnace runs great. But we have had it for several years so it could probably use some servicing, cleaning, tune-up or whatever. What's the best time of the year to have this done?
 
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Old 03-05-09, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by erica View Post
What's the best time of the year to have this done?


Heh, heh! The hottest day in August unless your service agency does AC systems, too!
 
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Old 03-20-09, 11:42 AM
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Smile

I was the good guy and phoned the gas company (PSE) about my meter problem. A few days later they came out and replaced it. They called yesterday and explained how they were going to bill me for the unknown gas useage. They went back 3 yrs for the same time period and did an average. I don't know the therms or btu's but the dollar amount is $190.00. I agreed with that amount as it was in the ballpark to what I thought it would be. Everyone is happy. They did tell me that it would have been flagged after the 3rd billing of unusual activity.
 
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Old 03-20-09, 12:44 PM
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Glad to hear that was resolved in an equitable way all around.
 
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Old 03-20-09, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SeattlePioneer View Post
I hired in to Washington Natural Gas in 1979, and it was bought out by Puget Sound energy circa 1997 or so. For much of my twenty years with the company I was buying company stock through various investment plans.

The company was just bought up buy an Australian investment company (?) which paid cash for all those shares. Opening a nodescript envelope and finding a check for $118,000 dollars a couple of days ago was a worthwhile pay day!
Just to let you know.....I checked my mailbox today....nothing!
Well maybe tomorrow
 
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Old 03-20-09, 07:12 PM
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Life is full of disappointments.
 
 

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