Nothing Is Worse Than Charity


Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 7.57.42 AMFrom May, 2015 – May, 2016, I have paid a grand total of $2,950 to PNM for electricity.  I currently owe $245 on a past due bill, which must be paid by May 10.  After that, I owe another $189 which must be paid by the first of June.  If you are keeping track, that’s nearly thirty-five hundred bucks.  The average power bills for New Mexico are approximately $1300 a year.  I have been detailing my nightmare with PNM for several years now.  PNM has been conducting a war against the NM consumer for years.

Before I go any farther, I need to explain my sole way of heating is via a heat pump I installed, new, about 6 years ago.  My bills were incredible to the point where I managed to save enough, over previous year’s bills, to pay for the new $2400 unit in less than two years.  THEN, PNM raised their rates.  My bills have gone up nearly 50%.  I have no other way to heat my condo.  This year, I kept the thermostat on 62.   My January bill was nearly $500.  My neighbor, who was out of town, half of December had a bill that high.  She turned her heat pump off entirely during January, and slept in a sleeping bag, under two comforters. It made no difference.  The person who lives next to her was NOT even at home.  Her bill was over $500. I have been sick since mid-December because I can’t get warm.  I’m heating my bedroom with 3 strands of LED Christmas lights and 2 60-Watt light bulbs.

When I spoke to someone from PNM on April 7, I was told I had until May 13 to pay my back power bill of $450.  On May 2, I notice was posted on my door.  I had 24 hours to pay the bill or they were turning my power off.  Now, what gets me is that the person I spoke too on the 7th told me I still had excellent credit with PNM.  I found out that she never recorded what she had told me.  So, I had to figure out how to come up with $246 on Monday, to meet half the bill.  I told the person with PNM that I would pay it online.  I had to pay it over the phone.  In order to pay it over the phone, I was charged an additional $2.50.

I am angry and I am resentful.  If I were doing something stupid, that would be different. I’m not.  I can compare my bills to the people who have meters right next to mine.  We are basically being billed the same thing, no matter how much power we are using.

I was told I needed to apply for assistance with my power bills.  I would need to take numerous records and go stand in line, at the local NM assistance office for help.  I don’t qualify for assistance.  So, I was told to go to certain churches and ask for them to help me pay my bills.  I explained to the person on the phone that I know who does what.  I was in charge of that for our parish.  I also told her I wasn’t going to do that.

“Well, if you don’t, we’re turning your power off on the 10th.”

Talk about hysterical? I was.  I told someone I would rather take my own life than ask for help or charity.  I was absolutely humiliated.  No one in this country, this day and age, should go begging for help paying an outrageous power bill.  No one should go hungry or without medical assistance.  I have no insurance because I cannot afford it.  I have spent 5 years doing without.  I don’t want help.  But, I went from having it all, to living on about $10,000 a year.  Contrary to what the right would like you to think, that amount doesn’t even allow for more than basic survival.  Contrary to what the left would like you to think, there is no safety-net in this country. Oh, there is for some people, but for those of us who refuse to ask for help, it isn’t there.

The right thinks that private charity and institutions can help people.  I’m sorry, they are wrong.  I’m in this mess because I gave up my career, life, and savings to help care for my father, who had Alzheimer’s Disease.  I’ve spent the past year and a half trying to clean up the financial mess he made, before we knew he had the disease.  If my parents had not owned a fortune in property (which we are trying to sell) and had a excellent supplement, if they were indigent, I could have qualified to be paid to care for them.  I wasn’t.  I know numerous people who were, but not me. Instead, I’m now broke, my life shattered, my career in ruins, and face a bleak future.  I did this because I was caring for my parents.

We need a way to help people when they need help, and not destroy them.

Instead, people who need help must be humiliated, and forced to beg.  I’d rather sit in the dark than ask for help. I never will.  The process of ‘godly’ charity in this country is designed to humiliate and degrade.  When one considers the fact that the CEO is one of the highest paid in the country.  Her little golden parachute could help a lot of people in this state.

Fortunately, I balanced two checking accounts and discovered, as usual, that I’d made a mistake, this time in my favor. I have enough to pay the bill.  When I do, my entire safety net is gone.  One third of  what I have to live on  is going to PNM.  That’s wrong.  It is immoral.

It’s my fault for moving to New Mexico.