Northern Michigan Consumers Energy Bills Spike, Customers Looking for Answers

“It’s more than I make in a month and how am I supposed to pay that and other bills?”

Many are taking a look at their latest Consumers Energy bills and asking the same question.

It’s spiked and they don’t know why.

Many of you have called Northern Michigan’s News Leader, personally, wondering why this month’s electric bill has increased, some by hundreds of dollars.

Consumers Energy says they are receiving just as many calls.

“I had no problem paying $200, $300 a month,” says Don “Bud” Lappo, Traverse City. “$600 a month starts getting a little bit hard.”

Don Lappo has kept a close eye on his bills over the last three years since he moved into his late-father’s home.

“Towards the middle of 2015, I started noticing my electric bill going higher,” Lappo says. “[My house] was all rebuilt, passed all the state inspections, new electrical, everything.”

Don says in years past, he had Consumers come out to check his meter.

The price dropped, but after getting his power shut off, the bills kept coming — and rising.

“I would just keep paying them because you have to have it,” Lappo says.

Bridget Soper in Kingsley also noticed something off.

“Before, they ran around $360,” Soper says. “This last one was a little over $1,100. I was going through, going over everything, trying to figure out what I did different that might have changed it and I couldn’t come up with anything.”

Consumers Energy says the harsher winter may not have helped.

“We are estimating that our customer’s natural gas use is up about 25 percent for the month of January, compared to last year,” says Roger Morgenstern of Consumers Energy. “Even to keep your house at a lower temperature, say 62 degrees, the furnace is going to work harder when it’s 10 degrees or even zero out. We are seeing those types of increases. We know it can be a challenge for our customers. We want to help them.”

Another explanation — a longer billing cycle.

“The way the year goes and how we bill our customers, sometimes the December billing cycle is longer,” Morgenstern says. “This time, it was 35 days instead of 30.”

Consumers says if a customer thinks their meter is inconsistent or if they have any questions, call them.

They say for a free meter inspection, you can call 2-1-1.

Meanwhile, Don says keep an eye on what you’re paying.

“Start watching your bill,” Lappo says. “Try to look for some of your bills from four or five years ago, and start comparing them.”