Mike’s Musings- I’m fed up and angry at Consumers Energy

Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor

“Heads are going to roll. You just watch,” said I in a very angry state.
“You take it back or I’m going to call the police, take it back now. We take threats very seriously,” said the anonymous Consumers Energy customer service representative.

I took it back, but I don’t know why. I didn’t know the reps name or where he was located. I sort of wished I would have challenged him to get the local authorities involved. It would have been interesting.

Instead I took a deep breath and calmed down. I had explained to the rep that I felt Consumers had done my family a huge disservice and wanted his help in getting it resolved. My electricity had been turned off and I didn’t understand why. Further I wanted it turned back on immediately, and he wasn’t willing to help.

Back to square one. About three weeks ago I received a shut-off notice (I don’t get regular bills because I made the mistake of paying once online and Consumers policy is once you pay online, you no longer get bills in the mail) claiming I owed $1280.00. Now I pay at the same time every month, and I know there is no way, we could possibly use that much electricity in a month (normal usage is around $300).

I hate to call Consumers because you spend what seems like hours on hold waiting for an available rep. Finally after 20 minutes I was able to talk to a helpful lady who told me to go read the meter when I get home and call her back next day with the results. Well I did that, called her first thing, and she wasn’t there. I asked the person who was on the line to help me and they said since I had already spoken to someone and I had to talk to them directly. He said he would deliver the message and I would get a return call from her that day.

Of course that didn’t happen. Next day I called again. Same result. No return call. And on day three, I made another call and after waiting over a half hour on hold, simply hung up. I decided I would send in $700 to cover the greater share of the current bill, and would figure out what the actual bill should be by writing a letter versus trying to get someone by phone.

About a week ago, only two weeks after they had received a $700 check from me, I got a frantic call from my wife. We had no power. Thinking it was an outage in the neighborhood, I called around but learned everyone had their power. Then I thought, could this have really happened? Would Consumers turn off our electricity without warning? Of course they would.

Let me regress, I have a pretty darn good record as a Consumers customer. I have been a customer for a long long time and have always paid my bills with them. Hence my call and anger at the first rep I talked to. I paid him the difference that was supposedly owed, plus a $150 deposit, plus a $50 reconnection fee. I asked to speak to a supervisor, because he couldn’t tell me when my electric would be back on and I thought the deposit was ridiculous because this was not my fault.

The supervisor was sympathetic, said someone would be out to turn the electric back on that night, and would waive the deposit because she agreed, I had a good payment history with them, but couldn’t do it until it posted the next day. She said she would definitely give me a call the next morning to make sure all was good.

Well we waited and waited. Soon it was 6, then 7, and at 9 p.m., we pretty much decided we would be powerless that night. We’ve all been there. Being without power for a night or two is no big deal. And it really wasn’t for us. It’s just when a company promises you something, you expect them to deliver.

Next day, because I was tired of telling my story, my wife made the call. Her rep had the audacity to say they had called to come and reconnect, and no one answered. I had left them with my cell phone number which never leaves my side. Of course there was no record of them calling. It was another outright lie from a company that apparently preaches fibbing to customers is acceptable.The rep said they would be out to reconnect sometime that day.

Meanwhile, the supervisor who I thought was going to be so helpful, never called back, nor did she take care of the deposit issue. Of course, she simply lied to me to get me off the phone.

Finally when the technician came out to turn the electricity back on, he stated, he never got a call the previous day to turn the power on. Surprise, surprise! He said he would have gladly been here if a call had been made, because he only lives a few miles away.

Well now we have electricity but the $1275 bill still remains unresolved. Consumers got their money so I’m sure they could care less at this point. My letter hasn’t been addressed, either. Meanwhile I’m checking in to alternative sources of electricity. Consumers Energy gets my vote as the worst public service company in America.

And guess what , I’m still on a mission to make heads roll. I will be writing the Michigan Public Service Commission, several elected officials and the top dogs at Consumers Energy. If that’s a threat, I guess you need to come arrest me now.

One Response to Mike’s Musings- I’m fed up and angry at Consumers Energy

  1. ECN Reply

    June 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Bad customer service and the highest electricity rates in the Midwest have resulted since Consumers Energy and DTE Energy received a virtual monopoly of 90% of the electricity market from the MI legislature and Governor Granholm in 2008. Where MI’s rates were below the national average prior to 2008, we are now well above them, with average price hikes from 20-30%. What other businesses in the Clare region have had the luxury of hiking their rates to such stratospheric levels? More than 10,700 MI electric customers have signed contracts to get their electricity from competitive suppliers but are forced by this 2008 law to stay with Consumers Energy and DTE. If you think this is wrong, it’s critical you let your local legislator(s) know. The 10% cap on electric competition needs to go, but it won’t happen without public outcry. It’s easy to contact them; go to http://www.ECNmichigan.com. If you think the electric monopoly needs to go, please consider joining Energy Choice Now, a MI-based coalition of over 1200 MI businesses, associations and suppliers and lend your name to this critical public policy issue — that directly affects your pocketbook. We need more money into jobs, job creation, business expansion, better schools and economic gardening … and less into turning on the light switch.

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