Thursday, February 24, 2005



I got up this morning, and like most mornings, started thinking about what I didn't have. Over the last week, I ran out of milk for coffee for several days and had the usual struggle for smokes as well. Today I had one smoke left, but a few dollars in the bank, so I headed out the front door to go down to the gas station for more. I hadn't gotten across the threshold before noticing the little green tag on the doorknob.

DISCONNECT NOTICE Your Gas Service has been Disconnected.

I owed them $166.63. I called the special number to find out what I could do. The semi-nasty corporate type on the other end said I would have to pay the whole amount, which (including this month's bill I haven't got yet) was $338.76. Oh, and I'd have to pay a $55.00 reconnection fee, and Oh, there was tax on that of $3.85 too, but it will be on my next bill... oh and on that bill, we're going to have to increase your security deposit (currently $200.00) by $80.00.

Okay... so I've got until 2:00pm to pay, or I've got to pay $95.00 (plus tax, I suppose) for the "after hours re-connect". So quick like a bunny I call J in a panic and she gives me the credit card number. I call the special number again. The recorded robot voice tells me there is a "service charge" for using the credit card to pay the bill. The voice assures me that Terasen doesn't keep this extra money, but gives it to some other company.

The charge is a flat fee of $6.00 plus $2.45 for each $100.00 owing. The robot voice tells me what to do. I poke buttons. Total on the credit card $ 349.11.

Now I have to phone the special number again, to tell them I just paid the $349.11 and get them to send the guy around to turn the gas on. "Will you be home?" she asks.

Then she tells me that if I miss the guy when he comes, he will take the tag off the meter but not turn on the gas. I'd have to hire a certified gas guy to come and turn it on and light the pilot lights. I didn't ask how much that costs, as I'm sure she couldn't have told me anyway.

She goes on to say that if I went on an equal payment automatic withdraw plan, I wouldn't be incurring these costs. I went on to say "What happens if the payment doesn't go through?"

We decided not to find out, fuck you very much. I told her I wished they weren't the only game in town, and that this seemed like a lot of money on what was a $166.63 oversight.

"Thanks for choosing Terasen" she said.

Now I'm waiting for the gas guy. I can't really do anything productive, because I can't hear the front door from the studio. It's a good thing, in a way, that I don't have a regular job (or a gas stove for that matter) or I wouldn't even find out about this until 5:30. It's already getting cold in here. Now I have to go move all that crap away from in front of the furnace and water heater.

J is down there on one of the other computers paying the overdue hydro bill before THOSE bastards stick something sharp in our household's rear. Just how much are we paying for late fees, service charges, handling fees, reactivation charges, service application fees and extra taxes? Not to mention the "security deposit" most of these thieves have taken from me that I'm not making a dime in interest from. I've been a customer since before these companies were formed, and now they don't trust me. I very dearly would love to "get off the grid". My research is showing that under the right conditions, this might even be possible now, but at great expense.

4:00pm... still waiting.

4:40pm ...the gas is on, the pilot lights are lit. A nice guy comes to save the day. He's on his hands and knees lighting the water heater when I apologize for the mess. He says "That's okay, I've seen a lot in the 30 years I've been working for the gas company. "

"A little while ago, I was at a call in West Van. You know, and I've got a big mouth. After I switch out this woman's meter, and re-light her pilot lights, she looks kind of distraught. So I open my big mouth and say to her "You seem troubled, is there anything I can do for you?""

She says "Three days ago I caught my husband in bed with another man".

He instantly regrets saying anything to her and can't wait to get out of there. She starts taking off her clothes, and showing him her ass. She says, "Why do you think he was with a man? Is there anything wrong with this ass?"

As he's running out of the house, a truck pulls into the driveway with a huge guy in it. Gas guy explains about the meter change, and the huge gronk goes inside. As our man is leaving the driveway he hears from inside the house "So I suppose you fucked him too!"

I shouldn't have called this space "The Official Wes Bay Blog". I should have called it "Living Beyond Our Means on the North Shore". But I'll have to admit for the $60.00 or so extra all this cost it was a better entertainment value per hour than the "I Robot" DVD I just bought.

That reminds me. I owe the Cable company $400.00 too. Sigh.


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