Sunday, June 24, 2012

One Size Fits All

As some of you may or may not know, I'm one of those "low-income" bracket types.
And, as such, I recieve a certain degree of public assistance from the state I live in when it comes to select "essentials"
...among them help with my heating bills during the cold weather months.

Somehow, though, along with this state-funded assistance I recieve I've also been put on the gas company's "budget plan"---wherein I pay a reduced amount for eight months out of the year, then get taken off for four---during which whatever I owe is paid out of whatever I have on my "credit".

My problem with this method is---since I'm already getting state-sponsored assistance it seems somewhat unnecessary for the gas company to be putting me on their own "plan", especially since they use some kind of generic criteria for determining how much to bill me during the "budget" period as well as for how long to allow the "credit" to handle my bills.
I'm thinking they base their notions on the stereotypical "family-of-four" living in a two-bedroom one-story house, or something along that line.  How much, hypothetically, it's liable to cost them for so-and-so many units of gas, based on some "rounded figure" concocted by some academiatory "think tank"---or whatever...

What I'm attempting to say is...the state sends the "assistance" funds to the gas company itself, the gas company adds the funds to my "credit" amount...
...and yet they still leave me on the same "one-size-fits-all" "budget" program of theirs... what ends up happening is:
...let's say the state decides to award me $320 to "help me out with my heating bills for the winter"... gets added to my "credit"...but I still continue to be billed the "budget" amount each month (averaging between $60 and $72 mo.)
...finally, in April, the "budget" is temporarily discontinued for four months, and whatever I now have on "credit" takes care of whatever it is I'm actually owing for my monthly gas services.

Well, my actual gas usage doesn't really come to very much.  It turns out I'm only using between $30 to $55 worth of natural gas during any given month a result, over the past few years the amount of "public assistance" funds that have been accumulating on my gas company "credit" has  finally managed to reach $600+ would think that, logically, the gas company itself should, maybe, hold off on reinstating the monthly "budget" payment dues for me...
...not a chance. Even with $600+ on my "credit", they'll probably STILL start billing me $60+ per month, starting in August---a good two months or so before it normally starts actually getting cold.

The way I see it is:  Everything is computer-controlled now.  There are a handful of employees who's primary job is programming a bunch of "code numbers" into these computers, using whatever "code numbers" are on whatever documents they're basing said computer program on
...and each of the different computer programs have their own "code numbers" which, when pressed, automatically plug into a ready-made "one-size-fits-all" pattern loosely based on certain stereotypical assumptions surrounding the "average" recipients of said select programs or services (were you able to follow all that?)

In short, my complaint about the way the gas company bills me eight months out of twelve is that it's not based on my own personal's based on what is best for, say, a family of four living in a one-story two-bedroom house, not on a single person residing in a small apartment unit.
...which is why, in spite of still having $600+ or so on "credit", I'll still start getting charged $60 or $65+ per month before even the end of summer
...and that it's all yet another example of the perils of modern-day "high tech" addiction/dependency---that one can no longer expect those-in-charge to make appropriate amendments to fit any arbitrary personal situations of theirs
...everything has been mandatorily "genericized", and no matter who you are or what you do or what you're all about, you can still expect to be forced into some kind of "one-size-fits-all" pattern.

I don't agree that "high tech" has made life any easier.  In fact, in a lot of respects, I think it's made things a lot worse, actually.

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