As a matter of principle, I try to avoid giving interest-free loans to utility companies. This may sound like a strange thing to say, but I’m willing to bet that many people who read this post are giving out interest-free loans.
When you sign up with an equal-billing plan for gas or hydro, the payments are usually structured so that you’ll pay for more than you use at the beginning of the billing year and less at the end. This means that you’re lending a modest amount of money to the utility company, but they don’t pay you any interest.
I can handle the seasonal variations in my bills, and so I just pay for my consumption each month. In theory then, I’m not lending any money to the utility companies.
Enbridge has a nice solution to the problem of me not going on equal billing: estimated meter readings. In winter my back yard is difficult to access and Enbridge estimates our consumption. And curiously enough, the estimates are usually too high.
Ordinarily, my wife and I look out for this on each bill, but we missed it for the last while. For the 5 months from Dec. 1 to the end of April, Enbridge estimated that we used 2025 cubic meters of gas. Our actual consumption for the last 6 months was 1884 cubic meters.
This difference isn’t huge, but it’s annoying to pay more than we have to. Enbridge has an online system where we can input the current meter reading to get things back on track. We won’t be paying anything on the next gas bill or two.
So, if you’re not on equal billing and you don’t want to pay for more gas than you actually use, just go online once in a while and enter the actual meter reading.