Take a close look at your last water and electric bills. Are the meter readings on these bills “estimated” or “actual.” If a meter reader can’t (or won’t) read your meter, standard practice is for the utility company to use an estimated reading (based on your past usage). Many companies just don’t have the manpower to read every single meter out there every month, although they are required to do so at least once or twice a year.
Sounds reasonable until you realize that this practice could result in two problems that could cost you money. For one, your actual usage could be much lower than the estimate, so you’re stuck paying much higher bills. On the flipside, you could have been paying much less than you’re supposed to, which is okay until an actual reading is taken and your bill jumps drastically.
Check your utility bills every month. If a meter reading is estimated, call the company and ask for an actual reading immediately. If the meter is behind a locked gate or in a basement, make sure you are there to give access.
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