The United States Department of Defense: Suspend Charging Military Families For Utility Usage Pending an Investigation
***I URGE EVERYONE TO SCROLL DOWN AND READ THE COMMENTS FROM OTHERS THAT HAVE ALREADY SIGNED... THE STORIES, AMOUNTS OF CHARGES, AND EXPERIENCES ARE AN EYE-OPENER THAT THIS IS NOT A LOCALIZED ISSUE... ITS HAPPENING ACROSS MANY DIFFERENT MILITARY INSTALLATIONS***
Military families are very concerned that there are massive discrepancies in the way baselines are created, as well as how the energy usage of their homes is recorded. The varying differences between unique family sizes, family structure, and home environments and equipment are creating unreliable utility readings. In many cases, families who have energy "audits" are even being told to only bathe every other day, cook only one meal a day on the stove, do their laundry once a week, and unplug everything in their entire home at night. What began as a program to encourage energy conservation, has left many families struggling to come up with hundreds of dollars to cover their monthly billed energy usage, despite impressive efforts and showing a continued decrease in month to month usage.
My personal story:
I was gone from my home for the entire month of August 2012. My husband was deployed and taking R&R in our home state of California, so I and my two children flew out early to meet him, and then I extended my stay to care for a relative.
In the month of September I received an energy usage bill for the dates of August 1, 2012-August 31, 2012 from YES Island Palm Communities. My energy usage was approximately 1,130 kwhs. This bill was both confusing and upsetting. Not only was every appliance in my home completely unplugged, but the air conditioner was programed to 78 degrees, and was set to only be on between the hours of 10am and 8pm. There was no one in my home taking showers, no lights were left on, no one was cooking or doing laundry. Yet I had more kilowatt hours billed than many other families who were home, with their air conditioner running at all hours, using televisions, taking hot showers, cooking, and running loads of laundry.
When I called and spoke to the billing department, I was told that my usage for July (when we were home) and August (when we were gone) was very similar, and they could give no real explanation for such a high usage.
This is troubling. I was in the "neutral zone" but my usage was more kilowatt hours than a neighboring couple who cook all their meals at home, keep their AC on 24 hours a day at 72 degrees, and constantly have televisions and multiple computers on. There is no physically possible way that my usage is being reported correctly... unless the housing department is tapping into my electricity, which would be nearly impossible to prove.
I am asking that the Department of Defense immediately suspend charging utilities on all installations until an investigation is conducted by a private 3rd party and changes are made to ensure that energy conservation is being achieved by EACH household, not simply pitting neighbor against neighbor.
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