Jan 28, 2009

Learn to Double Check Your Meter Reading

meters.jpgI have to start with a confession -- I'm the type of person who pays bills without looking very hard at them. Once, I signed a credit card charge slip for $1,500 that should have been $15. That's probably why I married someone who is the exact opposite and will stand by the grocery store checkout line mentally adding up everything on the receipt while I'm already carrying the bags to the trunk.

But he gets the last laugh a disturbing amount of the time. In fact, having seen how often mistakes happen, I've started checking things more carefully -- in this economy, the only mistakes I want to see on my bills are the ones where they forget to charge me!

And he got to tally up one more moral victory yesterday, when our gas and electric bill came. "That's a lot higher than normal," he said. "Huh?" I said, looking at the numbers cluelessly. "C'mon, let's go read the meter," he said. "You can do that?" I asked.

Five minutes later, I was feeling much more empowered, having witnessed for myself that, indeed, the gas bill showed a meter reading that was much higher than our real-life meter showed. And it's not much harder than reading your car's odometer. Even with the old-fashioned type of meter (which we of course have), where the arrows swing around as if on a clock face, you basically just look at whichever number each arrow is pointing at, in succession. Click here for pictorial instructions.

The happy ending: We'll be getting about $150 back on our gas bill very soon.