DTE Energy Electric Utility — faulty meter overcharges
I have lived with my husband in our mobile home for 14 yrs. I have been seriously ill for about 12 of those years, so my husband did the bills, which is not his strong suit. And he doesn't keep receipts or copies of bills.
In 2005 when I took the bills back over, I noticed a balance even though we were paying all our equal monthly payments. I called them and they said it was normal, don't worry alot of their customers have this. Some of it was because at that time, they didn' t balance your account at the end of every year. But of us that wasn't it.
Once I began checking into it, I started looking closely at our bills. We were/are being billed almost 3 x the amount of other homes our size and with the same number of people! I paid attention to how much electricity we were using, and it wasn't enough for that. I compared to neighbors and they were using about 650 kwh / month while we were getting bills for anywhere between [protected] kwh/month and it would fluctuate wildly!
I called dte 3 times between 2005 and 2008, before they would help me. When they did, they told me we owed it and had to pay it. By now it is over $3000 !!
We called the mpsc office and got an agent to work with us. He is really more on dtes' side than ours. He is always calling the dte customer service team, his 'people' and telling me I should trust them because they have my best interest at heart.
So I began researching and got on the net and spoke with electricians and engineers. I also had an electrician out and he siad allwas ok with what we are responsible for, but he didn't know why the bills are so huge. Their electrician checked the meter and said it was ok. But the meter had been involved in a lightning strike shortly after we moved in. They refused to replace it anyway unless I would agree to sign an agreement that said I would pay back the back balance even if the new meter showed our bills were a lot less, which would be proving that I was right all along! I told them to keep their meter, I was going to a hearing.
] i asked why we had to sign an agreement and the woman said because others have complained their meter was too high too and they were just trying to rip off dte! I aksed how she knew and she would't say, but she said that the reason you have to sign is because otherwise, when you get your new meter you'll do what others have done: you'll use a lot less so it looks like it was the meter, when I n reality you were cutting back. I told her I seriously doubt that anyone can cut back as much as I would have to do to get my readings down to the normal range. And I had an electrician agree that there was no way we could alter our energy use that much!
Mpsc works like this: if you can't resolve the dispute, you go to an informal hearing with a hearing officer who is chosen by dte from a pool of people who volunteer. Supposedly they aren't in dte's corner, but where do they come from then?
If you don't like the answer at the hearing you can appeal to the mpsc supervisor, then to the mpsc board, then to the appeals court. Isn't that ridiculous? And no one has any authority to make dte do anything until yo u get to the mpsc board! Why bother with the other two then? To make the customer give up that's why.
So I am waiting for my informal hearing. Oh, and you cna't have an attorney with you until the appeals court. Does't matter, an attorney turned us down because it wasnt worth $10, 000!
So I am researching and getting as much info as possible.
I am posting on here because I have had a hard time finding dte complaints and I know that they exist. I wonder if dte got an order sealing the complaints so ono one else will try it.
They are an underhanded dishonest company that is trying to stick it to the customer!
And this is important: they and all the other utility companies want you to believe that your meter is practically infallible. They say it can run slow, but never fast. That is ridiculous! I saw my meter speed up and turn so fast I couldnt' count it. I also saw this happen to both my neighbors meters. But with mine, I knew what I had on in the house. And my husband was standing right near the refrigerator and it hadn't come on, so there was nothing else that it could be. But meters aren't supposed to do that, so I am lying.
They are also hyping the new digital meters and saying they are even more reliable than the ones we have. They are wrong again! Connecticut attorney general had to step in when customers started complaining about high bills when they began putting in the new digital meters. The electric company told them it was because the digital ones are so much more accurate, but that wasn't true. They were terrible. They had to have hundreds of them fixed.
So, dont' believe everything that dte or any utility tells you. They can and do manipulate your meter readings. In fact, they do their own lab work and maintenance on the meters! They should have an independant lab doing it so that everyone knows they aren't setting the meters to run too fast, but they don ['t. They think they can do anything they want.
Start watching your electric and gas bills and make sure you know where your money is going!
I would really like to see other dte complaints here.
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