View Full Version : Consumers Power gets picky over penny debt

Otter Mii-kun
May 17th, 2006, 4:45 PM
Our public utilites sure must be really desperate for profits!

From http://www.mlive.com/news/fljournal/index.ssf?/base/news-36/1147702819242260.xml&coll=5 :
Penny pinching: 1-cent debt gets power shut off
Monday, May 15, 2006
By Bryn Mickle
[email protected] • 810.766.6383

FLINT - The lack of a single penny left Jacqueline Williams in the dark for about seven hours last week.

Consumers Energy cut off the electricity of Williams' W. Marengo Avenue home about noon Wednesday after she racked up a $1,662.08 bill.

She managed to round up all but a penny of what she owed, but the lights still went out.

When Williams called Consumers to find out what was going on, she said she was told the power wouldn't be turned on again until the company got the penny.

"I went down there, paid my penny and got a receipt," said Williams, 41.

She then took the penny receipt to a government caseworker who gave the go-ahead to have the lights turned back on.

The power was back on by 7 p.m. but Williams questions the fuss over a cent.

"All of this for one penny," she said.

The troubles started in November when Williams, who gets Social Security payments, began to fall behind on her Consumers bill.

She went to the state Department of Human Services for help last month and was told the agency would pay most of the bill.

Still short more than $500, Williams went to the Salvation Army and got $430.67. Consumers then agreed to match $430.66 toward the bill.

But when all was said and done, Williams was still a penny short.

And out went the lights.

A Consumers Energy spokesman said the utility had no choice in the matter.

Terry DeDoes said the DHS requires a co-payment before funds are released.

When the Salvation Army and Consumers matching funds came up a penny short, DeDoes said Consumers shut off the power.

DeDoes said he's not aware of other situations where electricity service was stopped for a penny.

"This was the first one I've heard about," said DeDoes.

The turnoff notice meant Consumers workers had to drive to Williams' house and turn off the power then come back a few hours later and turn it on again.

DeDoes said the utility has plenty of programs to help customers who fall behind in their bills.

Williams said she doesn't want to find herself in the same situation again.

"I'm praying to God I stay on top of my bills," she said.
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