[conspire] conspire Digest, Vol 56, Issue 2

David Fox dfox94085 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 8 18:43:57 PST 2008

On 1/8/08, K Sandoval <indigo.kai at gmail.com> wrote:
> From Kai:
> ((unlurking one more time))

hello there. haven't heard from you in sometime (you're the one with
the Thinkpad, right?)

> IF PG&E is only allowed to charge a consumer for what gas/electricity that
> consumer actually "USED" why are other utilities allowed to charge consumers
> a flat rate, even when the service is not available?  It seems to me

In cases like that, I'd rather have flat rate than metered service -
depends of course on how much
use you actually get out of the thing. I have satellite (Dish Network)
TV, and Wiline internet. Oh the horrors(!) if someone decided that I
had to pay based on actual usage on the 2nd :(.

> If your power goes out the electric company is not allowed to charge a
> consumer for the power  a consumer "theoretically" would have consumed

It would be difficult because they meter and there's no usage during
the outage.

> is it 72 hours?) and the consumer loses the food in his/her refrigerator,
> aren't they allowed to file a claim?

Maybe. I so far have been lucky with respect to power outages. None
very long term.

The last time this happened for an extended period of time (48 hours
plus) was loss of power (and therefore other services as well) back
around 1996 or so. At the time, I was living in Sunnyvale, and we had
a pretty bad storm that kicked the power off for probably 2 days or
so. But the cable company (TCI? at the time) was out for somewhat
longer. I managed to get a pro-rated discount on that automatically.

Seems to me that you should see if there will be a pro-rated
reduction. If not, you can ask the cable provider and explain to them
the service was out for so long and you didn't get your money's worth,
asking them nicely for a discount. If that doesn't happen quickly
enough, go to the California Public Utilities Commission.

> if you are a small business and you can not receive orders, or a
> web-designer, and the lack of internet access prevents you from providing
> your service/skills, why is this loss treated differently?

That's something you should take up with the PUC, I would think.

> - Kai

> would it be worth it to suggest changing the way these utilities are allowed
> to bill/charge for their services?

Hope not! (Wiline, 44.95/mo, unlimited use. I take advantage of the
"unlimited" part!) And not only that, in some countries / localities
there are bandwidth caps that are set ridiculously low so that if you
try and get distro's of the month you end up going way over cap and
getting billed for it, or they cut your service. Same deal with cell
phones. It really doesn't cost them N dollars more whether you use the
network for 100 minutes a month or one thousand, IMHO.

> ((returning to lurker mode))

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