Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hallsdale-Powell Utility District

I try to keep my blog lite. Funny and trivially informative. I try to steer clear of religion, politics, and social issues. They are boring for the most part anyway. I am not saying they are not important or relevant because they are important and relevant to us all. The discussion of such issues is what I generally find boring and there are plenty of better forums for those issues than my blog.

However today whilst paying the bills, I noticed something that has me incensed and I must speak to it if for no other reason than to vent my anger and rant. First let me say that I have never not paid a bill owed by me. I have never incurred a late fee of any kind. (no not even at Blockbuster!) Nor have I ever bounced a check, or reported any fraudulent information on my taxes. I always pay off my loans ahead of schedule. Not that I am without sin, I seem to be signing my checks with a pen that somehow managed to migrate from the desk at my office to my desk at home. And if I fall to hard times and get laid off from my current job, I may indeed begin to bounce checks left and right and perhaps fall behind on payments, but for now I remain ever diligent toward my responsibilities and obligations.

Do I say all this to boast? To brag? To insinuate that I am somehow better than those who open new credit card accounts to pay off old ones? Not at all, I simply build the case that I am a responsible and contributing member of society and that I pay what I owe when I owe it.

It is because of this that I find myself vilified by the company in charge of supplying fresh, crisp, sparkling clean H2O to my place of residence. I was preparing to pay them this month's accord, a sum of thirty-four American dollars and twenty-six cents. An average water bill by any account and finding no fault in their service am happy to pay it. It was then I noticed something I had not realized they added this year. This year they redesigned their bill as companies oft do in an effort to make it more readable for their CUSTOMERS.

I saw the usual late fee penalty listed there for your convenience. While this alone is a bit stand-offish and causes my nose to crinkle I can understand having a system that encourages prompt payment. (apparently this was not enough incentive do read on). Currently were my check to reach their coffers on April 2, rather than the due date of April 1, I would be assessed a penalty of three American dollars and forty-three cents. Bringing my total bill to thirty seven dollars and sixty-nine cents. A sum I plan not to pay as my check should arrive on time if any faith can be placed in the United States Postal Service.

Then I noticed a new item that I had missed on the previous two bills. An item listed as the DISCONNECT DATE. Yes, if the earth rotates six times and I have failed to send them any form of acceptable payment Hallsdale-Powell Utility District will promptly and without further notice, shut off my water! No showers, no flushing toilets, no baths for my children, much less their Koolaide. No candle lit bubble baths for hiding from aforementioned offspring while reading David Baldacci's Split Second and listening to Antonio Vivaldi!

These callous Mafia wannabees have the audacity to assess a service charge of forty bucks (yes I said bucks) on the day they chose to cut you off from the life giving agua. A fee that must be paid in addition to the bill in question that allegedly hasn't been paid. And don't forget the almighty late fee that would surely be applied to a delinquent account. Extortionists!

I am certainly not naive enough not to know there are plenty of people "out there" that when facing the decision to buy crack, methane, another month of Everquest, a Bud Light, or pay the water bill, they often chose from the former list. These people have the right to chose their fates and in these cases I cannot fault the Utility for being harsh.

What infuriates me however, is that Hallsdale-Powell would just simply place me on equal footing with them. (Didn't I say earlier in the post that I wasn't saying I was better than those who can't seem to pay on time? I lied). I pay my bills every month on time and in full! I deserve some respect as a paying customer. The only way they can get by with running their company like a Nazi concentration camp (yes it really happened President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, you moron) is that I have no choice in whom I get my water from. Short of digging a well in my back yard, they are the only supplier of liquid life to my house. My only hope is that the city will annex my neighborhood and I can pay KUB for my drinking water and not have to give another penny to the tyrants. There is no disconnect date on KUB's water bill.

What happens if I go off for a two week or like my boss, a month's vacation. The day I leave the bill arrives and is buried in a stack of papers and bills which I try to attend to promptly on my return but due to circumstances beyond my control, gasp and horror, I miss the disconnect date by an hour and four minutes! What if there's a death in the family? What if I, the chief accountant and payer of all things labeled bill (who came up with that term btw?), die? What if there's a wedding? My lord and heaven forbid what if the unthinkable happens and the bill is....LOST in the MAIL?!?!?!?!

Well they have a little fine print to address that as well. And I quote: "Failure to receive a bill will not release customer from payment obligation." Aren't these compassionate and charming people? If once in my entire and impeccable business affairs with this company, I am overly tardy in my remittance will they kindly pick up the phone as to inquire as to the state of my affairs? NO. Will they perhaps send a small note as to remind me that my account has fallen past due and that I should take corrective action so as to not experience any disruption in my service? Not a chance. I will simply wake up, have my morning constitution, not noticing it has failed to submerge to the sewers below, turn on the shower and watch in wonder as it belches out a cold last breath. At that moment I will scratch my head in puzzlement, and then realization will slowly creep over me at the same rate the stench from my toilet crawls up my nose.

"If bill is not paid on or before due date, your service is subject to disconnection without further notice."


-Bill said...

The names in this post have been changed to protect the innocent.

Jetting Through Life said...

That's bullshit... I bet they just write half of that stuff to scare people into paying their bills on time.


-Bill said...

I'd say you're right and if it really did happen to me, I could probably explain my situation, offer to pay the late fee, and they would most likely turn the water back on and not charge me the forty bucks. Most businesses are reasonable if ya just talk to them. :)

jerry said...

well i disagree i think the cut off date on bill is good idea i mean its there so those people who use the online bill pay know when its to late to pay there bills on line becouse in most cases it takes 4 to 5 days for the banks to send out the checks call a bank ask them for your self and i think they also have a call before disconnect for those bills which get's lost in the mail so you dont get disconnected i dont know weather you checked or not but not meany companys do that. call a few day ahead. check it for ya self i dont rember geting call from kub or cable company or phone company but im in no way above every one like your self bill i have been late just for get some time's between work family that happens nice phone calls saying we'll be there to cut ya off in day or two would been better than big pink tag which i found after it hung there for few hrs stating i had less than 24 hrs to pay or im geting cut off or cable they just pull up drive away laughing as you stair thinking i know i sent that out in time before the cut off date but what thise you have no idea what the cut off day is only they do which i think all have a charge to cut any thing back on dont they bill you checked before you singled one out i hope none the less as for being anexed isnt there more taxes in with that i think if you do some more home work ya see if ya never late on a bill any bill whats it hurt to save some people who aparently not as well off as some one like your self from geting there payments there late just for lack in judgment on how mutch time they have before being disconected by having a cut off date posted on the bill or a call before disconect which i think if you check they also do you being upset over thinking ya above knowing untill somthing should happen as you discribed and you get brung down to everyone eles level and be glad to have tht little notice nd phone call and im pretty sure no other utitilty im with all the checking you did for ya first post will do some on this no other utility let people get reconnected after hrs try that with kub or comcast some one like ya self needs be charged $80.00 reconect fee for being to smug

-Bill said...

Hey jerry! Thanks for the comments! I try to make most of my posts "tongue-in-cheek" so don't take things so seriously.

Jennifer said...

Hey Bill. I found your blog while trying to see if Hallsdale - Powell Utility District has a website to pay my bill. I have yet to receive a bill from them this year, and yes, they have cut off my H2O! I can't believe this. I, too, am one that tends to pay bills on time and such, and they have cut off my water! I just don't understand how they expect me to remember to pay my bill if I don't get one in the mail. I am just really mad, since now I have to take off from work to have them turn it back on. Well, anyway, thanks for listening to me vent.


-Bill said...

Well Jennifer at least it is not HOT outside and you really don't need any water right now do ya? ;)

I'm sure Hallsdale has its share of losers that don't pay on time or in full, but the rest of us who do shouldn't be treated so poorly.

They have the luxury of a monopoly of the water supply in our area. It's not like the cable company where we can threatent to switch providers for poor customer service.

Hallsdale needs caring reps that will cater to its custmoer's needs, especially when there is a glitch of some sort as in your case. Phones calls, letters, or even a visit would have been nice rather than just shutting off the spigot!

Good Luck!

Donna Beatty said...

Bill, I had the same or a similar problem with Hallsdale-Powell. I moved to this area (new house) in January. I waited for the bill to arrive (all of my other utilitiy bills arrived promptly for my attention) but never received. I called and had to actually beg them to send a bill for service. I got busy and assumed it would arrive. 2 months later...never arrived. Called again...another month..water gets cut off. It was evening and I called them. Couldn't pay the bill till the next day. Had to go to work without a shower (yuck). Had to pay the reconnect fee when they were the ones who never sent the bill. I asked them, how can I pay for something I never received. Thanks for letting me rant...Donna

-Bill said...

Donna! Hallsdale was extra nice to you! You went three whole months before they cut off your water! :/

They must have simply mis-placed your phone number, otherwise they would have called and resolved things nicely. You would have had your shower.

But had they done that, they would not have been able to hit you up for a reconnect charge! I'm surprised they haven't come up with a "dis-connect" charge!

Feel free to RANT anytime!!

Tammy said...

HPUD has been holding the Halls Community hostage for as long as I can least all of my 33 years.

Make no mistake, they WILL cut your water off if you don't pay cuz you don't want to,cuz you are poor, cuz you forgot, or whatever. I have forgotten to pay it because I pay almost everything online and last time I checked they didn't offer online payments. Actually, that's what I was checking when Bill's blog appealed to my ADHD.

Anyhoo, I have never had a good experience at HPUD. They have charged me repeatedly for a leak that keeps sprouting at the meter. We call them, wait three months for it to get fixed, repair the damage they do to our yard ourselves, and then it starts leaking again. Our water/sewer bill started at an average of $45-$50 a month and has now jumped to $90. We have discussed this with them, but they insist that our average water bill is $85-$90. Duh, yes it is cuz the meter is leaking!

I don't think it is any coincidence that they hand out dumdums at their payment window. It's their way of saying, "Your Mom's a big 'ol sucker, children."

Thanks for letting me rant too. Bill rocks!

-Bill said...

Hey Tammy! Maybe HPUD should change their name to OPEC! Seems like the price of water is keeping pace with the rising cost of gas!

I know my water bill has more than doubled over the past few years. Maybe I should start looking for a leak as well!

Thanks for your comments!

joe said...

I have the luxury of having a different water company than HPUD becausse I live in gibbs, but I do have them for my sewer bill. What i hate is the fact that I get charged for the same amount of water that comes in and goes out even if it does not actually go down the sewer line (water the grass, fill the pool, etc...) and if I do not pay my bill then they have my water company come over and disconnect my water. then i have to pay my water company ty a re-connect fee of about 40 bucks and pay for the re-connection from HPUD. There customer service at HPUD sucks and they do not come out to fix any leaks in a short amount of time. Just had to rant.


-Bill said...

Rant Joe Rant! That's what we're here for! Thanks for stopping by!

I think any company, government, or service we pay for, that does not focus on the customer and their needs should be called out!

Amy J said...

I just paid my bill today and after realizing it was due yesterday it cost me 15.00 more to pay it the next day...I can't believe they don't have a grace period.

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