Washington Gas is making bad service into a form of art. Since November, they’ve sent me two bills every month—one for me, and one with my name on it for the nice lady who lives in the apartment upstairs. She and I verified that it’s her gas bill by checking the meter numbers on the two bills and comparing them to the numbers on our meters. Right after I moved in, she says, Washington Gas sent her a refund check and discontinued her direct payment program. She was baffled.

I’ve explained the problem to Washington Gas call-takers five times. On Mar. 12, after several calls from me, my upstairs neighbor, and even the management company, Washington Gas sent a guy to check the meter numbers. He confirmed the mix-up. I figured that had to be the end of it, but yesterday, I received my neighbor’s bill once again. Like the last two, it says DISCONTINUANCE NOTICE on it. It’s for over $1,000 and there’s no way for her to pay it.

Washington Gas is just hell bent on sending me my poor neighbor’s bill. It’s Theatre of the Absurd over here. It’s like something from a play by Samuel Becket or Harold Pinter. It’s crazy! I explained the problem to a Washington Gas call-taker again yesterday—now I’m escalating the situation with public whining.

I beseech you, teeming millions of City Desk readers, for suggestions on how to solve this problem.

UPDATE 4/9/08: An alert reader forwards me a Mar. 16 Baltimore Sun story on similarly-bad service a Prince George’s County deli owner received from Washington Gas this year.

UPDATE 4/10/08: A woman from corporate communications at Washington Gas called my neighbor and me last night to apologize and say the problem would be fixed. We’ll see…