Consumers Energy Complaint - Budget plan and atrocious customer service
MIDLAND, MICHIGAN -- I recently got into my own fight with CE and it has not yet been resolved...
Just this last Thursday (2/14/2008) I received by combined gas and electric bill totaling approximately $284.00 which is more than I can pay at once. To make matters worse CE took me off the budget plan, on which I was paying $100/month on the combined bill. CE claims I am past due on $76.00, the reason I was removed from the budget plan. I both emailed and called CE's customer service and I was told I missed two payments, however I have both copies of the bills and all canceled checks that prove I payed my bills on time every month for at least the amount charged.
I think the trouble began last fall when they combined my two bills into one. When I received two bills, they had calculated my budget plan amount to be $50.00 each for gas and electricity. When they combined my bill into one, they were charging me only $50.00 for both. It was obvious to me that was not enough so I was sending in $100.00 as I had been doing before.
Last year I had been on the budget plan and as a result built up such a large credit balance with them, that I requested to go off the plan in August until the credit was used up. CE agreed and returned me to the plan about two months later with a new budget amount - $50.00 for gas and $50.00 for electricity, and had been on this new plan until they just removed me from it, claiming past due amount. It seems to me if there is any past due amount, it is due to CE lousing up its budget plan calculation and NOT due to any error on my part. Now they are punishing me for their error, especially since they are threatening credit action.
When I called and emailed this weekend I told them I cannot afford the approximately $284.00 right off the bat and will send in instead $150 which is more than enough to cover whatever past due amount they are claiming as well as what would have been the budget plan amount. However, all this will do is cause the remaining $134 to be past due and I still won't be placed back on the budget plan and next month another bill that I won't be able to pay all at once, all because of their accounting error. Since my energy expenditures in the summer are very small, my summer credit for next summer will have been more than enough to pay for this winter.
So much for CE's customer no-service.
This fight has only just begun and they haven't yet threatened to shut off my energy, so I don't think I need a lawyer, yet. Any advice on dealing with these people without coming off like a raving lunatic???