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State agency opens probe into Consumers Energy billing

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The agency overseeing Michigan’s utilities says it’s investigating estimated billing practices by Consumers Energy Co., which have prompted customer complaints.

The Michigan Public Service Commission says the probe announced Tuesday calls on the Jackson-based “utility to provide detailed explanations about its estimated billing practices.” The commission says “problems have persisted for several years despite repeated meetings” with Consumers Energy.

Consumers Energy spokesman Dan Bishop says the utility is working with the commission. He added bad weather and dangerous animals have prevented some workers from doing actual meter reads, but the utility is “making progress” on reducing estimated reads.

He says Consumers also is accelerating installation of upgraded, smart meters.

The utility must file a report by Feb. 18. The commission plans to produce its analysis and recommendations by May 18.

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  • whitney

    Good, if you all need any examples i have plenty. My bill for the month of feb 2015 was 791.00 for the one month. My bills this month ( i had only partial power for almost 2 weeks because of there faulting equipment was 453.00. I live in a 1456 sq modular home. When i ask questions and ask for investigations into my bills or fill disputes with there company, i never hear anything or get told winter is almost over, funny thing i heat my house with propane.

  • Cindy

    They got me with an estimated bill last October. I received one that was 3 times higher than my average monthly bill and their only explanation was that the past 2-3 bills had been estimated readings and not actual readings. There was no reason for them to do so many estimated readings in a row! The meter is easily accessible, the weather wasn’t bad between July-October, and I don’t have dogs preventing them from accessing the meter at any time. They clearly just failed to accurately read the meter for 3 months and I have no doubts that it was an intentional act in hopes of collecting more money from customers.

  • Kevin Rahe

    >Consumers also is accelerating installation of upgraded, smart meters.

    Like that will lower costs. Most people don’t realize that with the small amount of cost a smart meter saves your utility per meter read, it will take about 40 YEARS to pay for the one they install on your house. Apparently Consumers Energy doesn’t want to wait that long, as they’re now asking the MPSC to raise base rate electricity rates to pay for the “smart” meter program. And this was a program that was supposed to SAVE consumers money! At least Schutte is fighting to prevent any such rate increase from affecting those of us who are already paying to opt out of the smart meter program. Perhaps we’ll get some of our money back after all.

  • Jessie

    We just got an ‘estimated’ billing that was 4.5 times the prior month’s bill!! (went from $134 to $620… for about 1100 sf home!) However, when I called they were very pleasant and adjusted the bill to a much more comparable amount. ‘Bout gave us a heart attack when the bill came….

  • Scott

    Agreed, if you need anymore examples my wife and I just moved into a new house. Our old 700 square foot house has been sitting empty/winterized for 2 mouths using no electricity/gas and consumers still billed me for 108$

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