I consider myself to be a fairly liberal person. While I fully realize that there are plenty of people who stand ready to abuse any type of social entitlement program, perhaps my naivety and basic belief in the goodness of mankind keeps me of the opinion that most of them are wonderful and I am happy to have my tax dollars used to help people get on their feet. But my mama, as anyone could glean reading more than two posts about her, is one of those that stands ready to work the system every which way but loose. It’s enough to turn me into a rabid tea party conservative sometimes.
She and I were talking yesterday about how the local power company in West Virginia is seeking approval for an astronomical rate increase.
“You would think that since all the coal is produced right there, you all would have lower utilities.” I reasoned.
“Shit! We gotta have one of the highest one’s in the country! Do you know I had a $700 power bill this winter?”
“Why on Earth? You haven’t even been at your house. You really ought to have the heat set just high enough to keep the water from freezing.” Mama’s house is fairly new, so it’s built to recent energy codes. And it’s all of 1200 square feet. I can’t imagine it should ever cost more than a few hundred to keep comfortable.
“Well, when they broke in here, they left the door open for God know’s how many days, I’s heating the outside. I ain’t got no way to pay that kinda bill!”
“Maybe if you call the power company and explain, they’d offer some sort of adjustment?”
“Maybe. I gotta figure all this out!”
“What’s to figure out? Just call them and ask, then you’ll know. No figuring required.”
“Yeah, I don’t know. Trying to get ahold of somebody is like pullin’ teeth!”
“Well, it’s worth asking. And if you have to spend a half hour on the phone to save $700 it’s well worth it.”
“I guess I’ma have to break down and do it.”
“And if that doesn’t work, it’s worth asking the insurance company if it’s something you can claim.”
“Yeah, I’ve gotta lot to figure out. Well, they cain’t cut my power off anyway.”
“It’s my only heat source and I’m disabled. So I just sent ’em fifty dollars. They cain’t do nothin’ about it. And there’s a program I qualify fer that’ll hep out with power bills during the winter.”
Christ on crutches.
So far this week, there’s a program that is paying for her to have a house phone on this house she doesn’t live in, and now there’s one that’s keeping it heated to 80 degrees. I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t find a program to pay for a cleaning lady to go in and keep it tidy, since she’s disabled ya know.