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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Saving Money on My Electricity

I was talking with a friend of mine about my electric bill, and she mentioned something about the monthly discount that I get because I have kids with a government recognized disability. I wasn't sure what she was talking about, but showed her my bill and she looked it over and saw that it didn't mention anything about a discount. I was a bit confused. Her kids have recognized disabilities but they were considered a lesser degree than my kids' disabilities, and she got a discount, so why wouldn't mine entitle me to a discount? I mean I had remembered hearing something a few years ago when my kid's disability was recognized by the government, but it slipped my mind and I never actually did anything about it. But now that I knew, I decided to see what the story was.

I called up the electric company and waited on hold with them for a long time. No biggie. Among other things, I wondered if maybe the reason my electric bill didn't come with a discount for my kids' disability is that the electric bill is under Mike's name instead of my name, and the kids' disability is under my name. 2.5 years after he moved out the electric bill was still under his name and getting sent to his email, and I had to wait for him to send it to me each month. I thought it would be this big complicated thing to switch it to my name, but all it entailed was a long wait on hold, paying off this month's bill, giving them the number on my electric meter, and giving them the new payment information (which was the same as the previous payment information, because I was paying it anyhow). Not a big deal. Then it was switched to my name.

I asked them if I could get the discount because of my kids' disability and they said that there's nothing that they can do, it is automatic. If I'm eligible it will happen without me doing. But nothing shows up in the system for a discount for electricity for me. They recommended that I call up the government body that recognizes my kids' disability and ask them why I'm not eligible.

I then called up the government body that recognizes my kids' disability and waited on hold another long while. When I finally got through to them, I asked them about whether or not I was eligible for a discount on my electricity, and they said that I'm eligible both because of the disability and because I'm a single mom. I asked them if I'm eligible why I'm not getting a discount, and they said they sent in the paperwork to the electric company already 3 years ago, and they don't know why I'm not getting a discount. I asked them if they could send the information again to the electric company and they said they couldn't, it is a one time thing, and I asked them what I should do to get my discount, and they said to contact the electric company and ask them how I can send in all the disability paperwork to them.

So again I called up the electric company and waited on hold for a long time, and when I finally got through to them asked them what to do. I told them that the government body said that we were eligible for a discount, but the electric company representative reaffirmed that nothing appeared in the system showing that we were eligible for a discount. I asked if it was possible for me to send them the paperwork showing our eligibility and they said there is no way to do that, it is automatically done through the government body. I told them that the government body said they sent in the paperwork already a few years ago, but they said they can't send it in again, and that I need to do that. 

At this point, I was at a loss. Each one was telling me the onus was on the other party. Each one was telling me they did their part, and there was nothing more they or I could do.

But I wanted this discount. Now what?

Fortunately the representative at the electric company had an idea. "Is your name on the bill written the same way as your name on your government issued ID? Same exact letters?" "Yea, of course it is. There's only one way to spell it." I checked again with her to make sure that they had my name spelled correctly, and they did.

Then I had an idea. "Wait, what about middle names? Does that matter?" "Well, what does it say on your ID?" "My middle name is there as well." "So give me your first and middle names and I'll try it out."

What do you know... That solved the issue. As soon as the electric company had both my first name and middle name put in their system, the discount eligibility showed up. I'm not sure how much money this will end up saving me, but it is a 50% discount on the first 400 kwh every month, and since all it took was approximately an hour on the phone, and then each month it'll save me money, there's no reason not to. It's like with my cell phone contracts- lowering my bill every month while still using the same as I was always using. It's like free money!

Why am I sharing this? I dunno. Maybe some of you are also going through something similar. Maybe someone else is eligible for a discount and they're not getting it because of some weird thing like a company not having your middle name? Or maybe because it's a way to save money that I figured out thanks to my friend and I think its cool. Either way, just wanted to share.

I'm actually planning on legally changing my name soon- I already changed it socially. No, not Penny, my real name- this is just a pseudonym. But with this weird thing about discounts needing to have my names match up precisely with all these different offices, it makes me a bit nervous that once I change it, lots of stuff like this will be affected, maybe other discounts or other things will be affected. I have to do research before I make this change so I know how to handle the technical issues.

Any of you have more than one name? Have any of you gotten into issues with discounts of legal stuff because of one place using one name and the other place using both names? How did you figure that out?

3 comments:

  1. Wow I think you wrote this post just for me, as I really needed this information! I live in your country and haven't been getting the electricity discount for my special needs child who was born and diagnosed six years ago. My husband has tried getting through but the wait on hold is too long as he tries on his lunch break at work. My local language is not so good, but maybe if I give it a try, and check the names, that would work. I thought it was because we hadn't sent in our disability papers. But interesting to know it's supposed to be automatic. Thanks very much!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Could it be possible that they owe you a year's worth of discounts, could be a decent refund?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately it only counts from when I switched it over to my name, which is this month. Its considered a whole new account.

      Delete

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