I think I'm going to start a new weekly feature titled "Gripe of the Week". So to start it off - here's this week's gripe......
My house is heated with oil - and we all know where oil prices are these days. For the past several years we've been on the budget plan with our oil company. In the past the budget plan ran for ten months, August thru May with no payments due in June & July. Basically they looked at your previous year's usage with what the projected oil price was and gave you ten payments from that. If you overpaid - the next year's payments were cheaper...if you underpaid - the next year's went up. Last year my payments were $83.00 a month.
About February of this year the oil company sent out notices that they were going from a 10-month payment period to a 12-month payment period and rather than a coupon book, you'd receive monthly bills. You were to continue your coupon payments this year to May and then take June & July to catch your account up; then in August the monthly billing would begin.
I made our last $83.00 payment in May, received our balance due bill of $600.00...which we paid with our tax incentive check. So our current standing with this company is $0.00.
This weekend I received our first monthly bill on the BUDGET PLAN. Our monthly payments will be........sit down for this one...... $300.00 per month!!! THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS A MONTH!!! This is a BUDGET PLAN????? Oh, there was a little note stating that monthly payments were high due to projected oil prices and to make sure you don't miss a payment.......how sweet???
$300.00 - that's a car payment. $300.00 - I have no idea where we're getting this money.....I had budgeted for $175.00 a month. Even at $175 that's crunching us...I guess if we don't eat, use electricity, get rid of cable TV, phone service and all our animals....we just may be able to come up with this.
Okay, so I may be overstating our circumstances.....but what about the people out there that really can't afford this but are at an income level that is considered too high to qualify for help?
I've opted to tell the oil company to take us off automatic delivery (they are famous for topping off your tank every chance they get) and wearing heavier clothing in the winter. I very much want them to owe me at the end of the year.