How 14 cents cost me 95 dollars

Having your mail forwarded from your old address can sometimes make bills late or close to the deadline.  Not a big deal for us because we  pay everything online and our bank account has a monthly reminder function so it notifies us with “ahem, your mortgage is about to come up”  or whatever so that we know to be looking either for the paper bill to come in the mail (for things that fluctuate like utilities).  We got a notice from Huntsville Utilities which was very close to the due date thanks to the mail forwarding service.  In BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS it yelled at us and told us that this was our FINAL NOTICE to pay our monthly bill and how they were going to cut off our service because we didn’t pay the month before.  Well, Joel did pay the bill the month before but apparently when typing it into the bank account, he was 14 cents short of the entire bill.  I thought all of this was odd considering this was actually our first notice, but whatever.  I’m not one to get in a tizzy about how many bills they think they’ve sent. Plus, it’s FOURTEEN cents.  I promise I’m good for 14 cents (plus the additional $.01 in late charges for a total of $0.15).

Joel paid it within a few days and all was settled.  Or so I thought.

About a week or so later (I can’t actually remember how long it had been just that it hadn’t been long), we get a notice from our alarm company (which is run by my parents) that we had a power outage.  I looked up the power outages in Huntsville and didn’t see anything in our area, but assumed they were working in the area or maybe a tree fell.  No biggie.  But then the power didn’t come back on.  So I told Joel and he called Huntsville Utilities and the lady was so apologetic about how it’s an automated system with the angry lettering and threats BUT it’s also an automatic system to cut your power off.  Once again, no big deal.  The lady was so nice and said the power would be back on in the morning.

Fast forward a month and we received a bill for this past month.  I’ve been looking for the bill because I’m curious how low our bill can go with no one living there.  As I examined it, I noticed a $95 miscellaneous fee.  Pretty sure there shouldn’t be any miscellaneous fees on my utilities bill.  Turns out it costs NINETY-FIVE FREAKIN DOLLARS to turn your power back on.  Joel and I were both livid – hell, I’m still livid.  But they wouldn’t budge on the fee.  I’m sure it cost Huntsville Utilities $95 to push a button and get my power back on.

Moral of the story?  Never be $.14 short of your bills.


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