Consumers Energy responds to billing concerns - WNEM TV 5

Consumers Energy responds to billing concerns

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Many Consumers Energy customers believe their smart meters are to blame for the skyrocketing bills.

"It's not that they're wrong, but there could be a perception. And again, we are a customer oriented company. The people of Michigan are very important to us. So when they have questions what we really want them to do is again call our customer service representatives," said Kathryn Burkholder, spokesperson for Consumers Energy.

TV5 met with Burkholder and other company representatives at their meter testing center in Jackson on Friday.

"The meters are tested in a number of different ways by us, by the company that manufactures the meters. Again, most people when they get that new meter don't see a difference in their energy use or their bills because the meters are accurate," Burkholder said.

Burkholder said Consumers Energy is required by the Michigan Public Service Commission to have meters that are at least 90 percent accurate. She said you can monitor your own smart meter online any time you want to follow your actual energy use.

"On the web portal if they want to know what their approximate bill will be, they can look per day. And we have an estimator that says at this rate this is probably what your bill will be at the end of the month," Burkholder said.

You can also request a smart meter test. Consumers Energy will come to your home and test it. You can even go to Jackson and see your meter tested there.

"If they really wanted to come in and see the meter be tested they can do that as well," Burkholder said.

Many residents also questioned the smart meters ability to work accurately in the Mid-Michigan cold. Burkholder said extreme cold should not adversely affect the reading.

"They are designed to work in conditions down to -40 degrees," Burkholder said.

She said outside of a lightning strike or tampering, the smart meters work fine.

TV5 asked Burkholder if Consumers Energy would let customers know if something was wrong.

"It depends on what it was. Usually it's something the customer can control and we would only of course want to talk to the customer about that," Burkholder said.

If you are having issues with your bill, Consumers wants you to call them at 800-477-5050. You can also call the Michigan Public Service Commission at 800-292-9555.

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