Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I’ve Got Gas … Bills That Are High

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

After reading about horrible gas bills being sent to fellow personal finance bloggers, I was fearing the worst when that monthly mailing from Washington Gas reared its ugly letterhead yesterday. I closed my eyes, ripped the envelope, pulled out the paper, and opened my eyes, ready for the shock of my life…

Then I flipped the paper over because it was in the envelope backwards.

Oh rabbits! $55.07! Chaos in the streets!

Okay, so I can still pay the monthly gas bill with money I find trapped in my belly button, but I was rather surprised because this was how much I paid for gas last month. As anyone living in the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. can tell you, it’s been a lovely spring this winter. The average temperature has hovered in the 50s most days, and yesterday it hit 65! Our gas usage reflected this–a little more than half the usage in January compared to December. So then why is the bill about the same? Because the rates went up about 60%! Oh no they di’n't!

So with the thermostat set just above chill, the windows reinforced with plastic and two inches of titanium, and the fire in the living room burning bright every night even though we don’t have a fireplace, where the heck else are a couple of warm-blooded homo sapiens supposed to save on home heating costs? I’ve come up with a few ideas, though I’m a little hesitant to try some of them…

Last Resorts For Beating Your Heating Bill

  • Forget the heat. Turn on the A/C! Why give in to the high cost of natural gas or heating oil when electricity is cheaper? Just crank the A/C dial to 35 and you’ll quickly find that the winter weather is nothing to complain about.
  • Gas company bills you? Bill them back! What nerve those jerks at the local gas company must have that they expect you to pay more just because gas is costing them more. So when it comes time to pay that ridiculous travesty of justice they call a bill, send a bill of your own right back to the gas company. Let’s see, $10 Being A Meanie Surcharge, $25 Ripping Me Off Service Fee, and $100 multiplied by the 31 days they didn’t call me last month to make sure I hadn’t frozen to death. Of course, don’t forget the $50 Funny Munny Tax; you can just send that directly to me. It helps keep the less fortunate warm … in my deluxe hot tub!
  • Switch to hydrogen for your energy needs. Hydrogen may not be a viable consumer energy source for a few years, but you can take advantage of this cheap, clean powerhouse today. All you need is a tank of hydrogen gas and a lighter. Bam! Instant whole-house heating solution!
  • Change your name. No, I’m not suggesting you dodge your gas bill and flee the country. Instead, change your name to something extremely long–say, 100 million characters long. This way, when the gas company sends you its bill or a credit card issuer mails you a pre-approved offer, they’ll need a good 10,000+ pages in their letters just to greet you. Simply plug that paper into your fireplace and you’ll never need a drop of heating fuel ever again!
  • Spontaneously combust. Hey, it’s been known to happen, so why can’t it happen to you? I’m sure you can find some instructions on doing this somewhere on the internet, and once you do, you’ll have an infinite supply of warmth, and all your friends will gather around you to tell ghost stories and toast s’mores.

On what I can assure you is a completely unrelated issue, I’ve added a short disclaimer to my profile. To summarize it, if you take any of the advice in Funny Munny–as awesome as that advice is–you’re on your own if it causes you to go bankrupt, melt, fly off the face of the planet, or experience some other form of unpleasantness. Should you have a pleasant experience because you took my advice, you’re asked to send me a check for TEN BAJILLION DOLLARS. Yes, that’s a one followed by however many zeros you can fit on the check. Or just send it to the gas company in my name.

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