Just got home from an afternoon of errands and such. Grabbed the post on the way into my apartment, sorted through a few envelopes addressed to the previous occupant, to "our friend at" my address (instant trash!), and finally saw my new natural-gas bill from Questar.
Ripped it open, pleasantly remembering last month's bill of $20 and change.
This month's bill is $702.29.
Apart from my water heater, everything in this apartment is electric. I don't have water leaking endlessly from the heater—if I did, I'd have to swim out of bed every morning. I haven't changed my personal-hygiene or housecleaning habits: 10- to 15-minute shower daily; dishes washed by hand in the kitchen sink every day or two, mainly rinsed in cool water anyway; other cleaning with water sufficient to the task, not running endlessly as I work.
The bill shows an "estimated reading" for July 6 and an "actual reading" for August 6, for a usage charge roughly equivalent to a full month's usage per day based on last month's bill.
Of course their call center is only open Mon-Fri, so I have to wait until Mon to deal with this. I could submit a "customer reading" on their web site, but that would only help if they'd left me a post card indicating they'd had trouble reading the meter and wanted me to provide them with a reading to prepare the bill.
Utility companies drive me up the damned wall.