xtitsx: (Default)
( 18 May 2017 10:31 am)
Car Insurance:
the people at the Geico insurance company sent me an e-mail last week demanding $388.68 for another six months worth of car insurance for the PSE and me and our two Wagons.
like i always do, i called them up and asked the lady who answered the phone if i could just pay them less.
which sounds silly, but it works three times out of ten.
this time, though, there was no luck, so i had to pay the motherfuckers their $388.68.

Cell Phone Service:
the positive balance on my AT&T account has about run out.
the little app on my phone that tells me about my account says it only has a credit of $159.81.
my billing cycle is up in another few days and AT&T will feed itself another $80.13, which is the monthly bill for the PSE and i to have cellphones and unlimited data plans that e hardly ever use.
after they take their $80.13 for the month of May, that'll leave me with a balance of $79.68 which won't be enough to pay June's bill, by $0.45.
i'm sure the AT&T people won't freak out about a $0.45 cent negative balance, i've been a customer for longer then AT&T has been a business in its current form, when i first signed up back in 2001 they were a company called Cingular.
but, after June will come July and August and September and the rest of my fucking life, and until they come up with some replacement for cellphones -implants in our brains, i imagine- i'm gonna have to keep paying these people money.
so, i called up Customer Service and i talked to some lady who was happy to take my money and i paid them $1,000, which should keep me in service until about this time 2018.
of course, the PSE and i don't really have $1,000 to spare, but i'd rather these motherfuckers get their money all at once then to bleed me slow month by month by month.
because they're gonna get their money all the same in the end.

Electricity:
here in Fort Worth, the PSE and i have to pay for electricity separate from our apartment.
normally we look for all-inclusive apartments because we don't want to be bothered with that shit, but, we called every apartment complex in the phone book before we came to town and almost none of the apartments were all utilities included.
when we moved into our apartment, we had to call around to all the different power companies that could potentially service our apartment to figure out the best rates.
and, not having much experience with having to shop for a power company, it was a pretty big learning experience.
Texas makes a big deal of their deregulated power companies so i had over two dozen power companies to investigate, each one offering a dozen different billing schemes, and the people on the phone get some kind of commission [i suspect] for up-selling people on shit they don't need, so, the whole experience was a convoluted, needlessly-frustrating fight.
i woke up last week with an e-mail in my account saying that it has been a year and now it was time to do it all again.

the e-mail i got was from my provider JustEnergy.
JustEnergy said that my contract expires in the middle of June but, don't worry, with the click of a button in the e-mail i can renew for another year a the rate of $0.09 cents per kilowatt hour.
which doesn't sound like much, but, what the fuck do i know about kilowatt hours?
rather then pushing the button like a sucker, i decided to call the JustEnergy people up.
you can't argue with the internet. if you want to get into it with somebody, you have to call them up and do it person-to-person.
after pressing no less then fourteen buttons, being transferred to four different departments and being on hold for fifteen minutes i finally reached somebody who could help me.
i asked the JustEnergy lady how much per killowatt hour i was paying now, and she said $0.074.
why the fuck, then would i want to renew at $0.09?
she hemmed and hawed and after a while said that she could give me a deal of $0.085.
“but, that's still more then $0.074.” i pointed out.
her final offer was $0.083, plus she would put me on some kind of a points system that was redeemable for Visa gift cards.
i didn't want to have to worry about any of that and told her i would take my business somewhere else.

i called around to different deregulated power companies to get quotes.
one could offer me a rate of $0.065 per kilowatt hour, but if i went over 1,000 kilowatt hours in any given month it would be $0.25.
well that's not gonna fly.
according to a chart on the JustEnergy website, the PSE and i use an average of 800 kilowatts per month.
563 kilowatts for April, 730 in December, but over 1,000 in July, August and September.
i don't want to have to worry about watching our kilowatt usage.
unfortunately, most companies have a tiered usage structure whee prices fluctuate based on how much power a household consumes.
but none of the tiered prices are structured the same.
some benefit people who use a lot of power, some benefit people who use a little, others are just scattershot, all over the place.
other companies have a different way of fucking with consumers.
they will offer a rate of $0.0X amount where X is less then 7, but, that number won't include “pass through charges” of another $0.0Y cents, so that it adds up to you paying a whole lot more then they tell you you will.
the whole thing is designed to confuse customers and trick them into spending way more money then they thought they would.
this is deregulation.

eventually, after asking ninety minutes worth of questions i settled on a power company called Gexa, that offered me a kilowatt rate of $0.045, and did not include any pass-through charges.
the rate will go up if i spend more, or less, then 800 killowats per month, but it will never go any higher then $0.065, which is still less then i'm paying now with JustEnergy.
if everything goes the way i think it is supposed to, our power bills next year ought to be lower then the previous year by about a quarter.
of course, it's entirely possible that i missed something and that we're gonna get hit with a 'redoubeling rate' or a 'convenience fee' that'll multiply prices by three or four.
i guess we'll have to see.

//[ab irato ad astra]
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July 2017

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