Prompt PGW payers penalized, parasites party!

Got it. No more giving. Done.

I suppose this would be a bad time to admit that I’ve skated for months at a time on my utility bill because I knew I couldn’t be cut off…

It sucks for the people who eventually had to pay for it.

Nevermind that things like that <i>kill</i> your credit…

but whatever, your choice I guess.

Lemme guess, you don’t like to pay your bills?

I’m with the hard-asses on this one. There are 3 necessities in this world, Food, Shelter (including heat), Clothing. Those are the things you pay for first. Everything else is luxury.

Apparently there is a big enough deadbeat problem for the company to have to specifically penalize the paying customers to cover it. I doubt very much that all of these people are eating beans and rice every day, buying all their clothes at Goodwill, and eschew luxuries like cable TV, cellphones, internet, etc, etc, etc.

The sad reality is that these people likely waste twice their gas bill on crap they don’t need, but refuse to do without. There are frightfully few situations under which a person truly can’t manage to pay for necessities, usually it’s because they waste what little money they have. Those that remain, those who really can’t pay, who really don’t quite have enough to make it week to week even though they scrimp and save, I don’t mind giving them a hand, and I think most people feel the same.

Clearly not. But clearly you are. If only you were our ruler. We would want for nothing.

Lemme guess, slurring the character of someone you don’t agree with is as close to an intelligent comment as you’re likely to get.

OK, first basic idea here - we really don’t want people to freeze to death. I think we can all agree that that is not good, regardless of how it happens.

As a secondary consideration - people without heat have this bad tendency to attempt alternate heating methods, many of which can generate lethal quantities of carbon monoxide (and we’re back to corpses again) or cause fires (which are an additional expense to put out, never mind medical bills or disposing of corpses again)

Keeping the heat on is as much a cold, hard economic decision (it’s cheaper to leave it on than risk death and/or house fires) as it is a humane one.

Second - if the heat is kept on for these deadbeats that does NOT mean the bill is wiped out. They still owe the money. The bill keeps increasing until spring when they CAN be cut off. With late/fees interest. The power companies in this neck of the woods can and have garnished wages in order to claim money, as well as using other legal avenues to recoup costs.

Third - in the last decade or so there have been some rather unfortunate cases where renters have had the power/heat/water to their building cut off not because THEY failed to pay the bills, but because their landlord did. In other words, the tenants did everything right, but still suffered because the actual owner failed to pay the bills. In some cases, the tenants started paying the utilities directly, but in no way should these people be held responsible for past problems caused by someone else.

I should not be forced to pay for someone else’s irresponsibility.

Of course.

Perfectly reasonable. However, they must not be that successful if the paying cistomers are being asked to float the bill.

I have never heard of paying utilties to the landlord. Is that a midwestern thing?

Have you ever had trouble paying a bill? Did you just ignore the bill, or did you contact the people you owed and made some arrangments with them? You know, show them some respect and show yourself to be a consciensious person? Let them know where you’re coming from because it’s your responsibilty.

I’m not saying that if the bill doesn’t get paid by Monday, you cut the power by Thursday. But if the bill doesn’t get paid, there should be some effort put forth by the customer to show good faith.

Lots of places have heat/hot water included in the rent. It makes plumbing and heating systems a lot simpler to manage. Some places include electric too, but that’s usually really small time landlords who won’t want to pay to rewire the place for separate services.

First, about paying customers paying the “float” -

Since my taxes pay for the coroner, for medical treatment (for the uninsured) for either those suffering from cold-related maladies or the effects of poor choices in alternatives heating, and the fire department it seems I pay regardless. In which case, if paying for the “float” is the cheapest alternative I’ll put up with it as a necessary evil. Happy? No, but I wouldn’t be happy with an entire city block burning down due to carelessness with a kerosene space heater, either.

As for the landlord paying the utilities –

In some instances, you rent “with utilities included”. You pay one lump sume as rent and it’s supposed to cover all costs. Under such an arrangement, it’s the landlord who writes the checks to the utilities. It’s not as common a set up as it used to be, but it still exists. In fact, my current rental space is like that. Anyhow, maybe it is a Midwestern thing.

However, you would be informed of this arrangement going in - a lease is normally quite specific as to what is and isn’t included, and if there aren’t separate meters for each unit it’s pretty obvious. When these unfortunate situations have happened, you might well have a hundred or two hundred people (depending on the size of the bulding) showing up at City Hall expressing their upset.

As I said, in those situations tenants should not be punished for the wrong-doing of the landlord, not when the tenants did their part.

At the risk of derailing a perfectly good “kill the poor” vs. “eschew responsibility” thread, let’s do a little basic arithmetic and some common sense thinking here. PGW, a government-owned utility, by the way says it has an arrearage of $140 MM. That’s $280 per residential customer. If 10 percent of the people aren’t paying, that means PGW has allowed the the arrearages to get to an average of $2,800/customer, which is a lot of gas, even in Philly in the winter. They say they’re collecting 87 cents on the dollar. If we assume that’s split between payers and non payers (i.e., a negligible number of partial payers), that’s still ~$2,100 per non payer.

The article talks about PGW’s poor customer service and poor (though apparently slightly improved) collection efforts. So now it’s common sense time. Which of the following three is most likely?

Philadelphia is overrun by deadbeats who run up winter gas bills of $2,800 in their tiny apartments. This overrun is sudden and huge, increasing by an astonishing 60% or so in the last year.

Philadelphia, along with the rest of the world, has been depopulated by a terrible virus, and the only residents around to pay the gas bill are a lion at the library and Bruce Willis. Bruce left his checkbook in his other biohazard suit.

PGW keeps screwing up its metering, billing and collecting, and most of the alleged “non-payers,” or at least most of the increase, are perfectly willing and able to pay their bills if only PGW can get it right, but they’re sure as shit not going to pay for a bill they haven’t received or for a bill with they know or reasonably believe to be incorrect and they’ll be damned if they’re going to spend 45 minutes in a phone queue to talk to an idiot who can’t even get their basic account information right. PGW, too lazy to fix up their own act, wants to “fix things” by further soaking its poorly-serviced customers through the regulatory process.

What about the bear?

Philadelphia, along with the rest of the world, has been depopulated by a terrible virus, and the only residents around to pay the gas bill are a lion at the library and Bruce Willis. Bruce left his checkbook in his other biohazard suit.


manny, I know I don’t say it enough, but I love you. I really, really do.

I also have utilities included in my rent (Boston, here), and if they weren’t getting paid, I would never know until they got shut off. It’s not like I see a bill and see that it’s paid or not; no utility bill ever crosses my mailbox.

Except that I paid up as soon as I could afford it, which was generally March. And yeah I suppose it did suck that I eventually had to pay it.

If this were to pay for those who had to choose between the gas bill and food, that would be one thing, but those who just DON’T pay it, but could? Hmmm…no.

Problem is, how do you know who is who?

As for other programs that help, how do you know the former even qualify? They could easily make too much to qualify, but not make enough to make ends meet.

I think it makes more sense to keep the heat on during the winter, but cut it off during spring/summer if the bill is not paid. I’m not for people freezing to death just to appease “hardliners” who think they know everyone.

It always stings when you have to subsidize someone else without your consent.

Most telephone utilities, for example, build long-distance costs into the basic rate, so that billed long-distance charges look more reasonable. So even if you never use long-distance, (because it’s cost-prohibitive, for example) you’re still subsidizing the expenses of the people who use the hell out of it. This bothers me a bit more than paying a bit more for gas so people enduring temporary hardships don’t freeze to death, and their landlords don’t have to bear the extra expenses of damages from frozen pipes, etc.

Hmm, luci fancies himself Robin Hood. The rest of us will thank you to keep your greedy little paws to yourself. Stealing money, even if it benefits someone else, is still stealing.