I just got my first bill from National Grid the local gas company and they're ripping me off!
In the itemized section of the bill it lists:
In 10 days you used 0 therms:
Sep 23 2010 reading ESTIMATED - 3386
Sep 13 2010 reading UNLOCK - 3386
CCF Used for METER# xxxxxxxx 0
Thermal Factor x1.0183
Total therms used 0
Your Cost is determined as followed
Minimum Charge $4.23
Blah blah blah....
What that means is that even though I've used some gas in that ten day billing period, they've given me an estimated meter reading of zero, and charged me the minimum. Whatever gas I did use will go on my next bill...
What's would've been more fair is if they'd given me a somewhat realistic estimate (or a true meter reading!) in which I'd pay for what I probably did use. If the estimate was too high, it would simply come off he next meter reading and be corrected. If the estimate was too low, but still above the "minimum" charge then I'd simply make up the difference in the next bill. Ideally, the estimate should be equal to or greater than the minimum charge.
But my giving a zero estimate they're charging me a minimum for what they say, on the bill, is no usage, and then I still get to pay for what I've used so far when I get the next bill. This essentially means what I'm paying for this month goes towards no actual usage of their gas.
And with the 0 therms it's like their bill, translated to English says "we're charging you for nothing." On which I'm still paying sales tax...