Consumers runs test on smart meter after man amasses $1700 bill - WNEM TV 5

Consumers runs test on smart meter after man amasses $1700 bill

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

TV5 is learning more about what may have led to the spikes in bills for many Consumers Energy customers.

The company said the hikes are due to a longer billing cycle and the recent cold snap, but customers are not buying it.

"They were actually here for probably about a half four, 45 minutes," said Jeremy Iafrate, Consumers Energy customer.

He said a crew from Consumers stopped by his home to test his smart meter on Wednesday. Iafrate has amassed a bill of more than $1,700 over the last two months.

Iafrate said Consumers' crew told him the device tested out fine, but there are other concerns. He claims the meter kept reading usage after shutting down the power to his home.

"They didn't notice any visual drop in the meter (after turning off the breakers)," Iafrate said.

He said the crew noticed something else.

"From a fridge that we have in our garage. So they're going to have me leave that off for the weekend and come back out and see if that affected anything," Iafrate said.

He is like a lot of upset customers who reached out to TV5 wanting to know what they can do about their soaring bills.

"Well they certainly can call the Public Service Commission customer assistance line and that's 800-292-9555," said Nick Assendelft, with the Michigan Public Service Commission.

The MPSC regulated Consumers Energy and other utility companies throughout the state. He said his agency can help.

"We have a staff of people who will work with the utilities and the customers to try to figure out what the issue might be and how it might be resolved," Assendelft said.

As for Iafrate, he said Consumers will be back at his home on Monday. He is hoping whatever is causing the high bill gets resolved quickly.

"Kind of worried you know that this problem is not going to end," he said.

If conditions warrant, the MPSC can fine Consumers Energy.

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