Sunday, May 2, 2010

Paying the Electric Bill, 1913

In the past 100 years, little has changed in the manner in which the Middleborough Gas & Electric Department bills its customers. As early as April, 1912, the Middleborough Gas & Electric Department was urging the prompt payment of bills as each year a substantial amount had to be written off unnecessarily when those receiving electrical service failed to pay for it. In 1912, for instance, $352.21 "of long standing bills was charged off as uncollectable." To encourage the prompt payment of bills, the department implemented a prompt payment discount scheme whereby residents who paid within a prescribed time received a discount, a system still in practice today. The above bill for service in October, 1913, was received by Harriet ("Hattie") M. S. Washburn of Pearl Street, and it outlines the discount criteria on the reverse. At the time, Miss Washburn paid $3.44 for 23.6 kilowatt hours of electricity. Ironically, she would be paying less per kilowatt hour today, a fact which no doubt the present department would be pleased to promote.

Middleborough Gas & Electric Plant, Middleborough, MA, bill, October 1913

Miss Washburn (1844-1925) was the spinster daughter of Azel and Anna (Strobridge) Washburn of Middleborough and resided at what is now 36 Pearl Street.

Annual Report of the Town Officers of Middleboro, Mass. for the Year 1912. Middleborough, MA: Town of Middleborough, 1913.


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