Due to frigid temperatures across the state, the Michigan Agency for Energy is alerting utility customers that major gas and electric providers will not shut off services to customers this week.
DTE Energy Co., Consumers Energy Co., and SEMCO said they have temporarily suspended shutoffs due to inclement weather. Utilities are required to file with the Michigan Public Service Commission their policies on extreme weather shutoffs. For DTE, temperature forecasts must be below 15 degrees and/or wind chills below zero for two or more consecutive days. For Consumers, it’s actual temperatures below 15 degrees and/or wind chills below zero degrees.
“With the extreme weather it’s vitally important that Michiganders stay safe and warm,” said Madhu Anderson, deputy director of the Michigan Agency for Energy. “If anyone has trouble paying their utility bills, there are a number of options available to them, from community service agencies to low-income assistance by utilities. We urge those in need to access these critical services by calling either 211 or your local utility provider.”
Nine community agencies throughout Michigan have been designated to help distribute emergency funding through the Michigan Energy Assistance Program. They are: Barry County United Way, Michigan Community Action, Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Superior Watershed Partnership, The Heat and Warmth Fund, TrueNorth Community Services, United Way of Jackson County, and United Way of Southeastern Michigan. Individuals can call the statewide helpline at 211 to be connected to any of the providers or other social services.
Anyone having difficulties paying utility bills should call their local electric or natural gas provider and enroll in available help programs. Customers of Consumers should call 800-477-5050; DTE, 800-477-4747; Upper Peninsula Power Co., 800-562-7680; and Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp., 800-242-9137. Check utility websites for more information.
For issues with utilities, customers can call the MPSC Customer Assistance at 800-292-9555.
Customers are also warned to be aware of imposters who may try to take advantage of the weather situation to scam customers out of payments. Utility companies never call customers requesting immediate payment to keep services from being shut o?. Nor do they ask for payment by gift card, bitcoin, or money order. If you suspect a call to be fraudulent, hang up and immediately call your utility at the telephone number on your bill and ask to speak with a customer service representative. You may also file a consumer complaint with the Michigan Department of Attorney General by visiting michigan.gov/agcomplaints or calling 1-877-765-8388.