GRANDVILLE, Mich. — A Grandville business owner’s massive Consumers Energy bill was dropped after he mentioned that he called the FOX 17 Problem Solvers and complained to the state. Ronald Hite runs C&R Mobile Wash, a power washing business in Grandville. He’s only had the business for a month, and says he risked it all to start it. “All my savings…and I actually had an aunt help with all the investments,” he said. Hite said a bill like the one he received from Consumers would have basically ruined his new business. “I went to the owner that owns this building and showed him the bill. And they have six of these buildings and they have never seen a bill get this high,” he said. “Like the highest bill $200, $250 a month depending on how much they use on electricity.” His bill for a 29 day billing period was $13,628.79. He called Consumers Energy, believing it was all just a big mistake. He says he was told the smart meters don’t lie. Consumers has told FOX 17 on numerous occasions that the estimated high bills from old analog meters would be solved by the installation of smart meters, but Hite had a smart meter, and this is the largest bill FOX 17 has seen from a viewer. Consumers Energy had a change of heart when Hite mentioned the Problem Solvers. “Within 24 hours I got a call saying it was a clerical error,” Hite said. Hite’s bill was dropped to about $39.
LANSING — The agency overseeing Michigan’s utilities said it’s investigating estimated billing practices by Consumers Energy Co., which have prompted customer complaints. The Michigan Public Service Commission said the investigation announced Tuesday calls on the Jackson-based “utility to provide detailed explanations about its estimated billing practices.” The commission said “problems have persisted for several years despite repeated meetings” with Consumers Energy. Consumers Energy spokesman Dan Bishop said the utility is working with the commission. He added bad weather and dangerous animals have prevented some workers from doing actual meter reads, but the utility is “making progress” on reducing estimated reads. He said Consumers also is accelerating installation of upgraded, smart meters. The utility must file a report by Feb. 18. The commission plans to produce its analysis and recommendations by May 18.