Friday, December 20, 2013

Florida: Microview of the Future...L&C

I just returned to the tourist capital of the state of Florida. Last Tuesday, I was standing in four inches of snow in New York. I'm glad to walk under the sunrays that hit a high of 83 degees today in Orlando. Moving is very hectic, but it gives many insights. I have noticed quite a few changes in Florida and although it still is the Sunshine State, economically, it is no longer a retirement paradise.
Governor Scott(R)was in town to annouce that the state unemployment is below the national average at 6.4%. He also stated that Orlando is leading the way at 5.8%. Maybe I'll find a job. I'm going to need one as my impressions are all negative.
Food and Energy
I never thought I would say this, but food costs, both fresh produce and supermarket prices are cheaper in Queens, New York than in Orlando. It is not even close.
Gasoline is higher in New York, but the difference is in local taxes.
Rents are crazy in San Francisco and New York, but they are getting serious competition in Orlando.
In case you might consider buying a home in Florida, consider this. Florida has the highest home owners insurance costs in the nation. It is the fifth highest in auto insurance, and it has always been in the top ten in real estate taxes. Of course, there is no state taxes on income, at least for now. The state is very dependent on federal government aid.
Finally, and this dear reader, is the biggest insight of all: utilities.
stands for Orlando Utilities. It used to be very reasonable and provide great service, in fact, their nickname is the Reliable One. Not anymore!
I went to the central office in downtown Orlando to turn on the power to my new apartment. Previously, I had been a good customer for over 25 years with never a blemish in any of my bills. I have been out of state for two years. OUC has no record of me. In addition, they required me to make a deposit, however I am getting ahead of the story.
I entered the building from the remodeled front door with a turn-a-round driveway for easy pickup and dropoff. This was done about four years ago. They no longer need it.
Upon entering a guard with his hand on his waist near his weapon, asked me what I was doing there? I stated that I wanted to know where I needed to go to commence power with the company. He said that the company has outsourced all billing and service. I asked where do I go? He hands me a brochure, pointing to a phone number. He said call that number and he pointed me back to the door to leave. Outside, I see the brochure is written in Spanish. I call the number. After the menu, a lady tells me that I have to go to one of the many retail location like Kmart. At Kmart the sales help did not know how to take the deposit to turn on the power to my apartment.
Long story, short: The forth location was able to help me, however by using these outsourced locations, I must pay an additional service charge of $1.25. This at first does not sound like much, but the Whitestone Bridge in New York was only .25cents in the beginning of the toll charges. Today, they charge $14. to go over the bridge.
Bottom Line:
OUC is a utility that provides no service. You cannot speak to anyone face-to-face about service or billing. Welcome to the future.
Liars and Crooks: Congress has just done a deal to end the battles over the debt ceiling, the budget and spending. The Republicans decided to compromise because they feel that Obamacare will be such a failure that they want to gamble it will get them back in power. The members decided to get reelected with higher spending. One of the lobbyists got this $300 million dollar fiasco under the military budget. It is a dirigible to spy in Afghanistan. It is over budget and it has only been tested once. Nothing like an ancient relic flying real slow that any ding-dong with a rifle could shoot down with one bullet. The only Zeppellin worth having is Led, but I guess Congress is Dazed and Confused.

No comments:

Post a Comment