Free electricity?

Free electricity?

In the beginning, there was the electric company, CP&L. And then some well meaning but shortsighted person said, “Let there be deregulation”. And so there was competition. And everything went to hell after that!

I have lived in the same place and paid my electric bills regularly for 10 years. When deregulation came to Texas, in January 2001, I didn’t get a bill from CP&L. Lots of people didn’t get bills that month. We were told to be patient and let the change happen, and then we would all get our bills with no penalty payments.

In March, when I still hadn’t received a bill, I called CP&L. After making my way through voice mail hell, I explained my problem to a phone rep who spoke broken English and I was told that I would receive a bill promptly. And they were so sorry for my inconvenience! Yeah right. Next month, I still hadn’t received a bill, so I went through the same exercise again, and again was told that the problem would be fixed immediately. I called a third time the next month. Same reply. At that point I gave up. My blood pressure was dangerously high from the frustration of dealing with phone reps 4000 miles away who didn’t really care anyway.

Fast-forward to this summer. It is July in south Texas. I still haven’t paid an electric bill. My elderly father is being moved to a nursing home, and his home has been sold, so I called CP&L and told them to cut off his electric and send me the bill. They cut off my power instead! In July, in south Texas with three digit daytime temperatures.

After four hours on the phone, they finally agreed they made a mistake and promised to turn my power back on. The rep looked up my account and never said anything about unpaid bills. Apparently I was in good standing and they were terribly sorry for my inconvenience. (I spent the night in a motel. I should have billed the bastards!) Power was restored the next day.

Ten days later, I got a bill from CP&L for more that $3,000.00. Actually quite fair I thought but I still called them to discuss it. They agreed to reduce the amount due and I paid the balance promptly.

I got a bill in August and paid it. I got a bill in September and paid it. This month, October, I have not received a bill. So I called CP&L on Monday and asked about this month’s statement, since I know the due date is the 24th of the month.

I was told I have overpaid more than $500.00, resulting in a credit balance and that is why they haven’t sent me a statement. Apparently they owe me money. What the hell!

What do I do now? Who are these incompetent simpletons? If I had stock in CP&L I would sell it.

I got free electricity once. My roomate and I didn’t pay our bill for three months or so, and, no suprise they shut us off. As we lived in a condo/apartment there were lights outside each door that ran on the buildings circuit. My roomate bought some gadget from radio shack that you screw into a lightbulb socket but has an electrical plug instead of a bulb. Extension cord to a power strip and we were set. TV, microwave, playstation, computer, radio, whatever we wanted. Of course it only worked once it got dark and that circuit became ‘active’. Still, free electricity.

As far as the OP goes, I got nothing.

The OP forgot one of the most important parts of a good pit rant- vehemence.

So, here we go:

Fuck. What the fuck is wrong with those fudge nuggets? Im’a go over to their main fucking office and whomp those ass-huffing hijos de mil putas in the throat with a sawed-off pool cue! Yeeargh!


Fucking power company, fucking de-regulation, fucking bills!

Fuck! Fuck-de-fucking-fuck-diggidy FUCK!

[sub]Hi mom![/sub]

Mike, is that you???

My old roommate and I did that exact same thing. This was in the SFV, Ca in the mid-late 80’s.

I get free gas! It seems that my lovely landlord has illegally run our apartment’s gas line off the gas line that goes to the building’s heating/hot water boilers. So, he’s paying for it all. Not that I have a real problem with that.


And I got a free meal once. Had a nice shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and a piece of cheesecake. Even got a very nice bottle of shiraz, everything was delicious. When they brought my bill, I said I had to use the men’s room and walked out through the kitchen. In the ensuing confusion, while the manager ran around the building shouting, “Stop! Thief!” I slipped away into the night. True I had to hide behind the dumpster and I got a grease spot on my tie. Still, free dinner.

How is that illegal? If [s]he wants to provide for your gas line out of his pocket why is that illegal?

ENRON accounting.


And smiling bandit, there is a possibiilty that the building is on a different rate, probably lower, than the apartment.

Smiling bandit, actually, I was referring to the person up there that said they were getting “free” electric. Not the guy with the jerry-rigged gas hook-up. Note the portion of my post that is a quotation of a previous post.

Never mind. You weren’t referring to my post, were ya? Sheesh, I’m a doofus.

I once got a free retort when I mistakenly replied to what wasn’t said. Someone asked me to take it back but I ran away and they couldn’t catch me. :wink:

You could look into shorting the stock.

However, I suspect that screwing customers and skimping on hiring intellegance can work for a company, so don’t be too hasty.

The part where he’s splicing the main gas line for the boilers off for a individual apartment line is the illegal part. I think this is illegal for safety reasons (having an outlet for a high-usage line in a residential apartment), building code reasons (by law each apartment must have its own line), and to prevent the situation outlined below.

I beleive that either he or the previous owner of the building were actually trying to reverse the situation - have the renter of my apartment pay for the building’s boiler gas bill. Since, at the time we moved in, only the hot water boiler (and not the heating boiler) was gas powered, he might have been foisting off an extra ~$150/month bill on the previous tenants. If they were unaware of typical utility costs in New York, or he convinced them they were responsible for hot water (which MUST be included in rent in NYC), I can see this working rather well. However, when we got the first gas bill and it was obviously far higher than what we used, we had Con Edison transfer the account back to the landlord. The landlord claimed this was a mistake and asked us not to tell Con Edison that the apartment was on the same gas line. Since he’s now paying for our gas, we agreed.

And I have no idea if the building gas is charged at a lower rate than individual apartments, but that might contribute to why the practice is ilegal.

Does all that make sense?


Guy I went to school with once had the plug pulled. He got around 50 feet of Romex and climbed the pole and tapped in. He then ran the wire to the supply side of his breaker box. Wa-La!

Dangerous? Yep. Illegal? Yep. But he got away with it until he paid the bill.

As for the OP, do you have a Public Service Commision you can complain to?