Dr. Know: Why can't my Portland water bill be monthly instead of quarterly?

Can you explain why, unlike every other bill I pay, my city of Portland water bill can't manage to come in once a month? I'm going along, minding my own business, when, wham!, I'm blindsided by this quarterly, multihundred-dollar monstrosity. Is this fair? —Poorhouse Bound

It takes a very special sort of person, Bound, to be continually blindsided by an event that occurs, without fail, at precisely defined, regular intervals. I would have more withering commentary on this subject were I not such a person myself.

You know how it goes: The quarterly water/sewer bill shows up—ouch! But the next month, it doesn't come—hurray! I could get used to this. The third month, it doesn't come again, by which time it seems perfectly reasonable to conclude there is no such thing as a water bill. But then, the next month, it's back—who knew?

As Americans, you and I have a God-given right to be shielded from the consequences of our own stupidity—ideally, while loudly and incoherently insulting those doing the shielding.

Lucky for us, the Water Bureau has recently obliged with the monthly billing we demand. Instead of spending $150 every three months on water and sewer, we can now spend $50 each month—a huge savings!

Sure, Obama's common-core arithmetricksters might try to convince you it amounts to the same thing. But you and I know better—after all, one is $50, the other is $150. That's probably a difference of, like, 70 or 80 bucks!

For customers who use the bureau's e-billing option, monthly billing has actually been available since last October, though so far only about 10,000 households have taken advantage. The bureau says it should also have monthly billing for paper-bill customers by the end of the year. I'm buying a goat with the extra cash.

QUESTIONS? Send them to dr.know@wweek.com

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