Friday, 30 December 2011

feeling dumb but relieved

We have our electricity bill set up on auto bank-draft, so every month we get the bill in the mail, but it is automatically taken out of our bank account on the due date, which is usually around the 22nd of the month.
This has its pros and cons; no stamps or trips to town, no worries about forgetting to pay the bill, but it comes out late in the month and we only get paid on the 1st.

Anyway, The bill that was due in late December arrived early in the month (or perhaps even in late November), and I understood it to say we had used $180 worth of electric, which was pretty crazy considering we hadn't run the A/C that month, and were still using the clothes line. We were frustrated, but what could we do? So all of December we've been watching the bank account, making sure we had at least $200 still there to cover the bill when it went through. But it never went through. Well, maybe it got out of sync because or the holidays. So we watched and waited.

Today we got the bill that is due in January. Maybe it was because I'd been thinking on my morning walk about the deposits we had to make when we opened all our utility accounts, but for some reason I paid attention when I read this month's bill. It showed a carryover CREDIT from last month of $120. This month's charges amounted to $60, and so we still have $60 in credit. huh. So I found last month's bill, and (as you have surely figured out by now) the $180 was our deposit being credited back to us. Last month's charges were only $60 as well, and were fully covered by the deposit, and would not be coming out of the bank.

So, I feel a little dumb for not reading it right last month, but quite relieved that our usage has gone down as we expected, and that we have 2 or 3 months without having to pay a bill at all.


Anonymous said...


Wil said...

The way bills are presented has rarely been helpful to the consumer.

Often, a credit appears as "amount due" and it isn't clear that you don't owe anything.

So I certainly understand the confusion, and wish that companies who send out bills would try to see the bill from a consumer's point of view.

(I understand that some large credit card companies have actually used test groups of normal consumers to help their bills make more sense, but it doesn't seem to have helped much.)

Wil said...


We do most of our banking online, but don't allow any "auto-draft" payments.

When a bill is due, we access the bank account online and pay the bill electronically, but manually.

It does save stamps and paper, and we never have to worry about a check getting lost in the mail. :-)

MamaOlive said...

Wil, I've heard you mention that before. We used to do that, but I think it was because there wasn't an auto-draft option then. In England everything charges you extra if you don't do "direct debit" as they call it, and I guess we got used to it.
I can see the benefits of each way of paying the bills, but for now this is what we do.