Saturday, June 1, 2013

The sound of lawnmowers

Breakfast with my buddy was fun. It's been quite a while, and facebook chats are not the same. Very yummy breakfast at OEB again. She gets to go to Fort McMoney for a few days. Lucky her.

Then home and onto the lawn before it rained again. I could hear my neighbours all around me doing the same thing. With all the rain our lawns are like a jungle. The dandylions have really got a foothold this year. One neighbour showed us this eco product that kills dandylions PDQ. I'll have to get some tomorrow I think. The back lawn was still pretty wet so it was heavy going. But they said it was going to start raining tonight, and rain for another week. If I let the lawn go that long I'd have to weed whack the entire thing first. No further developments on the flower boxes.

Next was some core while I was all warmed up. Side plank with raised leg! Yay me! Feeling stable at long last. Several days now with legs that are NOT cranky. This makes me happy. There were some interesting crickle crackle noises out of my shoulders during the pushups. I'm looking forward to running without pain and unsteadyness, and being able to bike standing up.

I've driven and ridden past the signs to the Leighton Art Centre a great many times, but I've never been. They have a clothesline sale this weekend with many local artists. I've been meaning to go since forever. The best part about it is the view. Holy cow! It's amazing. The mountains start way off to the left of this photo, and go on way to the right. See for yourself.

The art, well, the art. Ho Hum. Art is so personal. There was a few pieces I actively didn't like, and a few I did, but most were ho hum. Nothing demanded that I take it home. There was one painting of a sheep that reminded me of Linda. Something about the eye.

There were a ton of people out riding Road to Nepal. The little parking lot at 22x and 37 St was full, except for where the bog was, and had overflowed all around it. I was a bit itchy to get out riding, but I'm not quite there yet. Nice to see so many people out though.

Home to relax and hang out a bit, when an Direct Energy rep (or so she said) banged on the door and tried to hustle us into a three year flex contract. Hustle being the operative word. I kept telling her that I didn't want it, I didn't want any changes, I didn't want any consolidation, and being in the gas industry, I didn't think either gas or electric prices were going up any time soon. She kept filling in the form, mistakes at every turn, asking for info like my birth date that I don't give out. Then there was a confirming call that I was supposed to answer yes or no to, so I didn't. Told that woman I didn't want any changes, and she essentially hung up. The door hussy got pissy with me and said I was only supposed to say yes or no, but I told her I didn't have to follow her rules, and I'd been telling her I didn't want what she was selling. She eventually went away. I was really quite cross about it.

For a few months I worked on contract to Enmax, helping to fix a bunch of energy bills. It's a complicated world, and I don't propose to explain it here. The problem was that one part of the system hadn't talked to another part, and the bill did not represent either the correct kind of contract or the correct rates. Essentially we had to unroll each bill back to where the change got cross threaded, apply the change properly, and roll it all forward again. Sometimes the customer would end up ahead because they had been paying too much. Often they would end up behind because they had been paying too little.

There were times the customer had asked for a change back then, which hadn't been applied, and if the change was backdated it would cost the customer lots, sometimes thousands. There were a lot of complicated rules, and sometimes there were no good answers.

But the general rule was that the contract rate was almost invariably higher than the regulated rate which might go up or down. You see, the gas industry is very complicated, and I barely even begin to understand some of the pricing and accounting. But the people that do, create these contracts so that the company makes money. It's a form of hedging, and gives them a steady income stream. The price of gas has been coming down over the years, and it's at historically cheap levels. It's going to stay there for a while.

So if understand this hustle, I mean, deal, the contract price is the regulated rate plus 2 cents per GJ to a max of 5.9 cents per GJ. The regulated price right now is not quite 3.5 cents per GJ. They always set the max above whatever they think the market will do, so they don't lose money. In the mean time they are raking in that extra 2 cents. They prey on people and make them think the price is going to go sky high, and these locked in rates, with horrendous cancellation fees will "save" you money. Right.

Plus there are various admin fees out the ying yang. It seems like every service has surcharges and taxes and administration fees and riders and service charges and who knows what else all. Airline tickets are really bad for that. This pisses me off, because it cost money to set all that up in the first place, and guess who paid? Right.

At least she was smart enough not to ask for a recent bill. That's a sure sign of a scam. They get the site ID of your meter, and push the paperwork in. I was waiting for her to ask and had a plan, but I guess they know people are onto that.

I keep firmly in mind that these companies are not in it for you and me. They are in it to make money, as much as possible. My position is that every time they want you to change plans, it's because they've figured out a way to charge you more money, and possibly make it sound like you are paying less. But they don't want that. They have a bunch of people with a certain low animal cunning, and their entire purpose in life is to sell you a bill of goods.

1 comment:

  1. I can't even get Walter started on the gas industry. He'll rant up a blue streak about the craziness of it. Door to Door reps make me crazy. (Don't get me started).

    Thanks for stopping by my blog Keith. I can always count on you. School's out now, so I'll be around more frequently!


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