Absent For A Bit ....

I am away for a little while working on a few or more episodes for The Adventures of My Space Alien Alter Ego story ... will return (to Earth) soon!

Notice: Blogger has screwed up and lost a bunch of photos out of my blog! They are replaced with a gray silhouette of a human head. I will eventually get them replaced with the correct photo, it may take a while to find and fix everything. So some of my stories don't make much sense without their photos, sorry for the inconvenience.



Texas Gas Non-Service, A Division of nONE Gas

We have properties that use natural gas supplied by Texas Gas Service. One is residential and the other is commercial. My wife handles the residential payment and I pay the commercial because I collect rent from the cosmetologists and barber who work at my building and so I want to be sure they always have heating and hot water.

I dislike paying the gas bill on a monthly basis because they charge $1.50 for each transaction, so I pay them an excess of 3 to 6 months worth at a time. This can mean that I have a credit on the business property account sometimes of several hundred dollars. But my wife prefers to only pay one month at a time, which results in sometimes the gas being shut off for non-payment (today). A rather cool November day, so I have been keeping my nose warm with coffee and a cup of chicken noodle soup. Thank you electrically powered microwave oven.

So I am sitting here at home instead of working, waiting for the gas man to come by to turn it back on.

Ironically if you pull up the website for making payments you can see both accounts under the same log-in AND at this moment and yesterday when they turned it off, the amount of money we owed for back payment for the residential service is LESS than the credit amount that I still have for the business property. And also consider that the vast majority of time the credit value exceeds anything owed by at least a hundred dollars.

Deeply Ironic: When I tried to make a payment at their website last night it failed miserably, multiple times.

Plus they have a reconnection fee, I think it is $50.

We have been buying gas from this company for over 35 years. Its not like we are going to suddenly leave town and disappear without paying.

Solar power is looking more possible with a backup generator, along with electrical appliances to replace the gas kitchen stove and hot water heater.

UPDATE: I watched the serviceman from the gas company reconnect my gas service. I discovered something(s) interesting.

Not only had they gone to the simple trouble of turning the supply valve before the meter to the OFF position and locking it, they had also temporarily loosened up the gas meter and had put a PLUG in the exit side of the meter! THEN after he had put everything back together and checked it for leaks, he painted the entire piping from where it exits and enters the ground on each side of the meter all the way back to the meter. I asked him why they did that (to a line the looked freshly painted already) and he said it was for corrosion prevention. But I think it is also a measure to check for tampering with the piping connections (!) in the future.

In high school we made a methane gas generator that collected gas from decomposing organic matter. We collected the gas in an inverted plastic trash can that was inverted in a slightly larger container of water. Our reaction vessel was an old hot water heater tank that had the top cut off, then had a rubber gasket to seal in the gaseous products. I think we used an old inner tube from a truck tire for the gasket source. We also built a solar collector to create hot air. We had it right outside our science classroom. During my last year of high school I had three separate classes of chemistry, physic and an alternative energy. My teacher was Mr. George Sturtz.


fmcgmccllc said...

Let me know if that methane idea works out. I too pay in advance if possible, just a pain to hav to fix it. But the worst part is saying that the websites don't work, that happens way too often. Stores send me email for sales and when I try to log on they tell me I do not have an email address. Steam from the ears.

Arlee Bird said...

If your utility companies are like the ones in Los Angeles then they are probably looking for all sorts of ways to rip you off. For a while years ago I started paying my home utility bill ahead of time. Eventually they sent me a refund check and admonished me not to overpay my bill. They've also decided that they are going to lose a lot of money if too many people add solar to their homes so they're going to start assessing additional fees for users with solar. Kind of negates any savings you get by adding solar.

They tell us to conserve and when we do they charge us for doing it.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

esbboston said...

fmcgmccllc: Things are better now that the day is done and Elton John is singing 'Rocket Man' through my headphones.

Rob Z Tobor said...

In the old days Loyalty to a service company was seen as good and you were treated well for that loyalty but no longer. It appears that changing supplier every now and again will give you better rates. I do not do this as it just seems like extra work and to me is wrong. But most of these huge companies do not even think of the individual customers.

We have both solar panels to generate electricity and some rather old ones to help heat the hot water. The ones generating electricity are very good but the old hot water ones are fickle beasts and only do anything on the very hottest of days.

It is getting colder here now but it is also either raining or damp most days which does not help.

esbboston said...

Rob: I think fewer all-electric homes blow up than natural gas homes.

Rob Z Tobor said...

Very true . . . We do not have access to Gas in our village so it is a hazard we will not have to deal with. We are surrounded by cows who are good gas producers although I do not think cows explode that often.

esbboston said...

Rob:I think I remember a Monty Python film with something exploding in it from time to time. I guess you could build a cow bomb where you trap all the cow emissions while leaving the cows head sticking out so it could breathe, eat and drink. Plus there would need to be an ignition source. Industrial Light & Moo-gic

esbboston said...

Arlee: Yes, utility companies enjoy their money-opoly position.

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