I don’t deal well with physical mail. My entire system for organizing my life is set around my computer. And while I know all about electronic bills, I’ve never taken the time to set it up. So when a bill comes in the mail, I put it on a certain part of my desk and once a month or so I pay them online.
But lately things have been really busy and I set up a new system to cut down on bill paying time. Credit card bills get paid right away when they come in, but I let everything else wait and batch pay it every six weeks or so. That was a good system but it turns out that I hadn’t actually paid any bills since July and frankly hadn’t given it much thought. The stack of bills was there on my desk but I just didn’t see it.
Until today when a guy came by in an electric car and turned off my electricity.
Gabe Rivera noticed it since I was still sleeping and he made the decision to wake me up as it was “a situation you might want to deal with.”
I found the phone number for PG&E but the vonage line was out because it needs electricity. I have an SBC phone line that I use only for Gillmor Gang podcasts and tried that…only to find out that it had been turned off, too. That’s when Gabe found the electricity box and noticed the “off” switch. The PG&E guy had turned it to off and put a very flimsy lock on the switch. So flimsy that turning the switch to “on” simply broke the lock. Problem solved. Electricity back on.
I called PG&E. They went through this long description of how to get electricity turned back on which involved driving a check to a PG&E office, getting an order number, and calling PG&E back with the order number. If I did all that by 3 pm they’d send a guy out to turn the electricity back on.
Then I told the guy that we had just turned it back on ourselves, and that I sent $1,000 to PG&E via online banking (it turns out I owed them about $500). He said “oh, okay, well don’t worry about it then. It’s all fine as long as the money comes in.”
So bottom line, if you are an idiot like me and forget to pay your electricity bills and they turn it off, just turn it back on.