Saturday, January 28, 2012

DIY Utility Bill

This is a bill from the onetime Ypsilanti Gas Company, a municipal utility supplying coal gas to homes all over town for cooking and lighting. The gas generator plant stood at the northeast corner of Forest and Huron, where the DPW yard is now. The plant operated as a municipal utility from 1914, when the city seized control, to the late 40s, when it switched over to natural gas and external ownership.

Here is a DIY bill in case the meter reader couldn't come in your house--presumably meters were indoors in those days--and a lot of moms were at home to be able to let them in. If not, you could just fill in the numbers yourself and mail it in to be billed, as seen on this undated sample which I would guess is from the late 20s-ish (?). ETA: Reader Paul found a date: 1931.


Paul A. said...

I remember filling out water & electric meter readings growing up (late 1970s - early 1980s) here too.

BTW, the printing info at the bottom says 4-8-31; assume that's the date the form was approved.

Paul A. said...

Actually, did this for the gas meter too.

Paul A. said...

"...northeast corner of Forest and Cross..."

Think that's Huron and Forest.

Dusty D said...

Paul: Very interesting! And good eye for the date--thank you for that.

Oops, you're right, Huron and Forest; I'll change that in the original, thank you. Little brain burp there. :)

Anonymous said...

I did that even 15 years ago but if you did it wrong, they would be out to correct you or you would get it in the next bill.

Dusty D said...

Anon, that is interesting. I guess it would be inevitable that they'd detect any discrepancies if they came by the next time. I'm interested in all these details about the era in which we had so many municipally-controlled utilities. Might sound boring but the whole mindset behind such a setup is so different. And if there were a problem, it was a company next door to you staffed by your neighbors, not some faceless distant conglomerate with half its people in India and the other half based who knows where.