Billing rates WTF



  • From this month's electric bill (the first time I've gone over 450 kilowatt-hours):



    First 459 kilowatt-hours: 6.5 cents per kilowatt-hour

    Next 107 kilowatt-hours: 7.7 cents per kilowatt-hour

    Next 141 kilowatt-hours: 6.0 cents per kilowatt-hour

    All additional use: 7.1 cents per kilowatt-hour



    Did somebody use a random-number generator to set up the electric rates or something?



  • It looks like extremely precise marketing to me, no WTF.  Somebody at the electric company realized that people who use between 459 and 566 kilowatt-hours and 707+ kilowatt-hours had the highest expendable incomes. 



  • It does seem pretty strange that the cost goes up past a certain point, then drops a ways down at another point, and then goes up again. Almost like a bulk discount combined with increasing fees for higher usage.



  • Is that an off-peak allowance or something? I know my electric hot water is about half the cost of the full rate (and will be free soon when the solar people get around to installing the solar system)



  • @Zemm said:

    installing the solar system
    I got one of those.  Jupiter was a pain in the ass to get through the door though.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @Zemm said:

    installing the solar system
    I got one of those.  Jupiter was a pain in the ass to get through the door though.

    On the bright side, now that you've had your doors widened you can have Rich visit you at your house. 



  • @lolwtf said:

    It does seem pretty strange that the cost goes up past a certain point, then drops a ways down at another point, and then goes up again. Almost like a bulk discount combined with increasing fees for higher usage.

    Marketing, fool.  Let's say you own a hot dog stand and your market research shows that wealthy customers always buy an odd number of hot dogs whereas poor customers from shitholes like rural Connecticut always buy an even number.  It would then make sense to charge more for an odd number of hot dogs and less for an even number, right?  The electric company may have figured out that wealthy neighborhoods tend to fall within the higher-priced ranges.  Electric usage can also tell you quite a bit about the financial situation of the customer.  Things such as the age of their house, the square footage, the energy efficiency, the type of heating, the prevalence of certain electronic equipment, etc.

     

    Of course, it could just be complete garbage, too.  I have no way of knowing, of course.  But if I was trying to maximize profit on my customers I would definitely have marketing folks crunch the numbers and try to come up with a pricing scheme that matched the financial reality of what my customers instead of one that adhered to arbitrarily-set pricing tiers that were oriented around round numbers easily divisible by 10.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    On the bright side, now that you've had your doors widened you can have Rich visit you at your house. 

     

     On the bright side?????

    And dear lord! why on earth would he do that?



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    It looks like extremely precise marketing to me, no WTF.
    It looks like government regulations to me.  Utilities don't often have much leeway in setting rates.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    It looks like extremely precise marketing to me, no WTF.
    It looks like government regulations to me.  Utilities don't often have much leeway in setting rates.

    That depends, I suppose.  I know my electricity is deregulated and there is market competition for the generation portion, although I don't know how much regulation of price there actually is. 



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @Zemm said:

    installing the solar system
    I got one of those.  Jupiter was a pain in the ass to get through the door though.

    I bet they conned you into buying Pluto too.



  • @lolwtf said:

    @belgariontheking said:

    @Zemm said:

    installing the solar system
    I got one of those.  Jupiter was a pain in the ass to get through the door though.

    I bet they conned you into buying Pluto too.
    Conned?  no.  It's a part of the solar system, even if it's not a planet.  The only thing that was a bigger pain in the ass than Jupiter was the asteroid belt.



  • @belgariontheking said:

      The only thing that was a bigger pain in the ass than Jupiter was the asteroid belt.

    Why?  Is Mars still slipping down around your hips?



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @lolwtf said:

    @belgariontheking said:

    @Zemm said:

    installing the solar system
    I got one of those.  Jupiter was a pain in the ass to get through the door though.

    I bet they conned you into buying Pluto too.
    Conned?  no.  It's a part of the solar system, even if it's not a planet.  The only thing that was a bigger pain in the ass than Jupiter was the asteroid belt.
     

    guys, I think you're missunderstanding Zemm. I bet he meant he was going to install solar panels to heat up the water.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @lolwtf said:

    It does seem pretty strange that the cost goes up past a certain point, then drops a ways down at another point, and then goes up again. Almost like a bulk discount combined with increasing fees for higher usage.

    Marketing, fool.  Let's say you own a hot dog stand and your market research shows that wealthy customers always buy an odd number of hot dogs whereas poor customers from shitholes like rural Connecticut always buy an even number.  It would then make sense to charge more for an odd number of hot dogs and less for an even number, right?  The electric company may have figured out that wealthy neighborhoods tend to fall within the higher-priced ranges.  Electric usage can also tell you quite a bit about the financial situation of the customer.  Things such as the age of their house, the square footage, the energy efficiency, the type of heating, the prevalence of certain electronic equipment, etc.

     

    Of course, it could just be complete garbage, too.  I have no way of knowing, of course.  But if I was trying to maximize profit on my customers I would definitely have marketing folks crunch the numbers and try to come up with a pricing scheme that matched the financial reality of what my customers instead of one that adhered to arbitrarily-set pricing tiers that were oriented around round numbers easily divisible by 10.

    Electricity here is a highly-regulated monopoly. Requests for rate changes need to be filed up to a year in advance (and if the electric company is making enough profit, rate increases are often denied). Because of this, the number of rate schedules is kept to a minimum: for example, all residential customers have the same rate schedule, where electric rates are based strictly on the amount used.



    I think I've figured out what happened: the bill spans the end of December and most of January, and there was a change in both the rates and changeover points for the bottom two usage brackets at the beginning of the year, plus an adjustment of the credit for the company selling surplus generating capacity. Programming the billing software to handle the changeover must have been interesting.



  • @aflag said:

    @belgariontheking said:

    @lolwtf said:

    @belgariontheking said:

    @Zemm said:

    installing the solar system
    I got one of those.  Jupiter was a pain in the ass to get through the door though.

    I bet they conned you into buying Pluto too.
    Conned?  no.  It's a part of the solar system, even if it's not a planet.  The only thing that was a bigger pain in the ass than Jupiter was the asteroid belt.
     

    guys, I think you're missunderstanding Zemm. I bet he meant he was going to install solar panels to heat up the water.

    they got it, they were just making fun of another potential meaning of his words.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    ...instead of one that adhered to arbitrarily-set pricing tiers that were oriented around round numbers easily divisible by 10.
    Because the metric system is evil! muhahaha!

    Sorry, couldn't resist. Please carry on.



  • @aflag said:

    guys, I think you're missunderstanding Zemm. I bet he meant he was going to install solar panels to heat up the water.
    ORLY YOU THINK SO? 

    I thought he was talking about installing all the planets and shit in his home, because I did that a few months ago.  I just wanted to warn him of the potential issues involved







  • @belgariontheking said:

    @sootzoo said:

    @belgariontheking said:
    Nominated for DotD (Dumbass of the Day)
    WTF?

     

    I think aflag whoosh'd you with his comment.



  • @sootzoo said:

    I think aflag whoosh'd you with his comment.
    I think not.  I think he's just a dumbass.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    I think he's just a dumbass.

    Maybe he was just being really, really subtle at implying that the whole solar system thing is retarded and everyone participating in it is a dumbass. In a sort of dry English-style humour kind of way.

    But since we're on the subject, how do you tell the difference between the rings for Jupiter and Saturn? The largest and smallest ones are kind of obvious, but I don't want to get the inner ones mixed up. You'd think they could put little identification stickers on them, but no, they're just chucked in the bag of hardware as if we're all complete freaking experts on planetary rings. And the mold lines on Venus are terrible; there's flash sticking off it in all directions, which is going to take me forEVER to trim off with an X-Acto knife.



  • @CDarklock said:

    how do you tell the difference between the rings for Jupiter and Saturn
    I bought a Solar System for Dummies book.  I'll let you borrow it.



  •  I want to make a Uranus joke, but I just... I fail.



  • @dhromed said:

    I want to make a Uranus joke, but I just... I fail.
    Uranus has rings too.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    Uranus has rings too.
     

    So does your mom.



  • @dhromed said:

    @belgariontheking said:
    Uranus has rings too.
    So does your mom.
    pfft, duh!  Who do you think I got to play the part of Jupiter?



  • Hah, how did I miss this last week?

    It's quite clearly a rate change that happened mid-month.  The rate for the first x days was 6.5 for the first "something", then 7.7 for the next "something".  Then midway through the month, the rate was reduced to 6.0/7.1.  The reason you see bizarre tier caps like 459 kWh is because tiered/graduated rates prorate the tiers rather than the price, so if the tier is normally 800 kWh then for a 17-day service period it becomes 453 kWh (that's not the exact number for your case obviously, I just picked something that seemed close).

    This is actually why most utilities use a special kind of prorating for mid-month rate changes that's actually sort of an estimate - they assume you used the exact same amount of electricity on each day of the month and blend the two rates, which is totally inaccurate but government-sanctioned (government-mandated in many cases) and causes less customer complaints because it looks like just a normal rate.

    It's just weird the way they labeled it.  The bill should highlight when the rate change was and how it was prorated.  If they took readings on all 3 dates (begin/end and rate change day), then they've actually sent you a much more accurate bill than what generally gets sent out.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @aflag said:

    guys, I think you're missunderstanding Zemm. I bet he meant he was going to install solar panels to heat up the water.
    ORLY YOU THINK SO? 

    I thought he was talking about installing all the planets and shit in his home, because I did that a few months ago.  I just wanted to warn him of the potential issues involved

     

    They are taking their sweet time, it's already over a month overdue. There must be a solar system shortage!



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Marketing, fool.  Let's say you own a hot dog stand and your market research shows that wealthy customers always buy an odd number of hot dogs whereas poor customers from shitholes like rural Connecticut always buy an even number.  It would then make sense to charge more for an odd number of hot dogs and less for an even number, right?
     

    McDonald's is (allegedly) doing the opposite here: Increasing prices in areas that are poorer! [link] [another]



  • @Zemm said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Marketing, fool.  Let's say you own a hot dog stand and your market research shows that wealthy customers always buy an odd number of hot dogs whereas poor customers from shitholes like rural Connecticut always buy an even number.  It would then make sense to charge more for an odd number of hot dogs and less for an even number, right?
    McDonald's is (allegedly) doing the opposite here: Increasing prices in areas that are poorer! [link] [another]

    Actually, it's doing exactly what Morbs is talking about:  pricing the product according to the demand in the market.  From your second link:

    @OSCAR MCLAREN said:

    News Limited newspapers are reporting that McDonalds is midway through
    changing its prices, moving away from basing them on the costs of food,
    and instead, basing them on demand.
    We'll see if it's a good strategy.  It depends on whether they correctly judge the elasticity of demand...and on whether the populist rantings of those who know better than the rest of us gain any traction.


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