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Consumers Energy fined $515K for billing violations

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LANSING, Mich. -- The Michigan Public Service Commission on Thursday announced a fine against Consumers Energy for the company's estimated billing practices.

The commission is fining Consumers Energy $515,800, according to a release.  The fine comes after the MPSC released a report in May on the company's billing practices.  The report contained 11 recommendations to the company, all of them telling Consumers to step it up in certain areas.

About 49,000 meters were estimated for three consecutive months, and over 12,000 customers had estimated bills for a year or more.

Some customers received estimated bills for hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars.

"Consumers Energy's lack of effective monitoring, controls and consumer communications to avoid recurring estimated bills for such a large number of customers over an extended period of time shows a disregard for the Commission's rules," said MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg in a release.  "No customers should receive an estimated bill for over a year."

A company spokesperson said Consumers plans to comply with the commission's order.

"Consumers Energy is addressing the issue of estimated customer bills as it works with the Michigan Public Service Commission," a statement from Consumers spokesperson  Dan Bishop reads.  We recognize that our performance on this issue does not reflect our standards of customer service, and we are committed to making this right."

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17 comments

  • Vickie long

    so are they going to have to repay the people like myself who were forced to pay bills that were over 5 times the normal bill with one month having to pay over $1,200,,I no long use them for electricity as I recently moved, but do for gas so either pay me back or give my gas account a credit that s the fair thing to do

  • Jess

    Consumers energy did this to me in 2011 after i would pay my bill on time every month & they sent me a bill for the past year saying i owe them over $2000 because my meter was broken to my apartment. I had no control over the meter being broken it was their faulty equipment. How do i find out more about this?

  • NO PC FOR ME

    So consumers sends me a $1000 electric bill and the state is going to fine them 500k.
    Nice work if you can get it.
    How about those of us who would like OUR money back? Or does the state confiscate that money for EBT cards or raises for officials?

  • Jim Grimey

    DTE used to do this to me every month… of course I was using more electricity than they estimates, so I ended 5000 in debt once they caught up.

  • Tara

    I had an issue with them when I was renting a trailer. I had 3 months that the bill was estimated and then they gave me a whopping 900.00 bill in December. I was not happy about it at all. From that time on I always called them and did a read over the phone. Most of the time my bill would be more than what they had. But at least I was not getting hit with an outrageous bill. I think they should stop doing the estimated bills and hire more people. You can not tell me they are hurting for money.

    • Caleb

      Part of the issues, surprise, is the laziness of the workers. They would estimate instead of doing their jobs and come up with a story to suit the practice. That’s another reason they’re replacing them with computers. Computers do their job.

  • Pam

    So when are they going to be lowering our bills my bill use to be 75 a month since the new meter was put on my house it has not been lower than 200 I can’t afford these bills they have my budget at 257 a month. To high I am on. Limited income please help the real people trying to pay their bill Due to health conditions I can’t go without air in the summertime. So I have to pay out the ass because of this new meter. Go back to the old meters.

    • Jackie

      I use to rent a mobile home and they would charge me 300- 700 a month all the time… I raise two kids and work at a factory.. I could not afford it. I called them all the time and they would say that’s how much electric your using.. ( estimating) …. i moved cause I was thinking this is impossible. And worried the house bad a leaky wire or something. Now in my new home, and new electric company…. I am so happy I moved. I sure hope consumer’s pays back all their customers. Consumers energy stay awake.. they are crooks.

  • Nancy Looper

    They estimated my bill for 6 months and then gave me a huge bill. They weren’t doing their job to check the meters so I suffered. It wasn’t fair. I filed a complaint.

  • Renae

    What are they gone do about the estimated bills. I was a customer with estimated bill because they failed to add correct charges. To have a hundred something dollar bill jump to over a thousand they said it was nothing i could do but get on a budget for their error and then the budget had to be based on average. I had to agree to pay over $150 a month or get my services cut off. I have moved and was promised i can return on the budget when i find a new place but, guest what that was lie because now they say i have to complete the total balance before they can put it in my name. As a single parent of 3 with 1 job and back up support due to them i am barely making ends meet

  • Will

    Funny how it’s against the law to move into a home without proper electric, but they can cut service with no penalty.

  • Clarence Zastrow

    If You ever get a bill that is way too high and estimated, just go outside and get the actual number and call them. Fixed mine in like 10 minutes. It IS stupid that it is necessary, but if you have to pick between paying a super high bill and taking less than a minute to write down a number…….

  • Lona

    DTE read my “water meter” for 8 months and didn’t bill me for that part of my electric. Then after it was $200 decided to bill me. Forcing me to “agree” to a payment plan as I get SS and at $757 a month I cannot do $240

  • Bill

    I’d like to know why they are brushing off an energy bill that went from $200 in November/December to 400 in January and finally 800 in February when NOTHING else changed. In fact my son (who lived in the apartment) had the thermostat turned down to 60 degrees fearing that it was due to the cold weather. Not THAT cold. Consumer blamed the apartment complex, complex blamed consumer, but they still get their $$ and nobody cared to help figure out why? Told several times that it was “normal”? Those kids were very conscious of their usage after the first bill doubled.

  • Patti Franklin

    I too am one of the thousands of people affected by this outrageous action by consumers. I am on shut off mode due to the billing errors of consumers….i am seeking outside sources to help pay this $2500 Bill.
    This is the third time consumers has overbilled my account and I just don’t have the funds or resources to fix this problem…if you have any ideas please feel free to help….would be grately appreciated..Ty in advance Patti Franklin
    810-336-8598

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