Consumers Energy and BBB Serving Western Michigan warning customers of utility phone scam
The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan is warning businesses and the public of a utilities scam.
The scam begins with a phone call to a business or customer from someone claiming to be with Consumers Energy. The script is simple, there’s an overdue bill. If it’s not paid immediately, the power will be shut off. The payment should victoria secret pink hoodie sherpa made by either wire transfer or a prepaid card.
Consumers Energy has seen an consumers energy pay bill over phone in this deceptive tactic over the past two months with 12 consumers energy pay bill over phone in Kent County, seven in Allegan and five in Kalamazoo County. For the year, so far, 76 people have been scammed. The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan says in 2019 the con artists have collected over $52,000.
Christopher Bush, Consumers Energy’s director of corporate security. “If you receive a scam call or are unsure if the call is legitimate, hang up and call Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050 and contact your local law enforcement agency.”
Patrick Center, WGVU News.
DTE, Consumers Energy tepid support for rooftop solar a blatant smokescreen
LANSING – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters today issued the following statement in response to false statements made by DTE Energy and Consumers Energy regarding House Bill 4236, which would remove the arbitrary and punitive 1% cap on affordable rooftop solar generation.
“Michigan is bank vibe number only state in the country with this ridiculous restriction on creating jobs and investing in affordable rooftop solar — yet DTE and Consumers lobbyists have fought tooth-and-nail for 5 years to block this common-sense legislation,” said Bob Allison, deputy director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “Our residential electricity rates have skyrocketed, resulting in Michigan having the highest energy costs in the Midwest — yet DTE and Consumers continue to spread self-serving misinformation and ignore strong bipartisan support to end this unneeded, punitive restriction on Michigan homeowners who just want the freedom to generate their own energy.”
Know The Facts
The arbitrary 1% cap on distributed generation in Michigan is nationally unique. No other state has such punitive limits on customers’ right to generate their own clean energy. Rooftop solar provides a net benefit to the energy grid, generating electricity when the sun shines hottest and energy costs are the most expensive. The excess energy generated during these high usage times puts cub foods west mankato pressure on the grid and reduces energy costs for everyone.
Furthermore, according to a 2018 report from the Michigan Public Service Commission, DTE paid rooftop solar users only a fraction of the true value for the energy produced, turning around and selling that energy back to normal customers at a much higher rate. DTE paid rooftop solar users 3.9 cents/kWH while the true value of that energy was estimated to be 13.8 cents/kWH by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
During a February 17 House Energy Committee Meeting, Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman Dan Scripps addressed the subsidy question on the record, saying, “There is no economic need for the cap. We’ve addressed the cross subsidization issues.”
On April 14, a group of more than 40 environmental justice advocates, community and faith-based organizations, residents and businesses sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to support House Bill 4236.
“Michigan’s 1% cap on distributed generation is not only nationally unique, but it is one of the most limiting caps across the country. HB 4236, which will remove the cap, benefits pollution reduction, provides good-paying jobs, advances energy independence opportunities for low-income communities, and improves our state’s general well-being,” the groups wrote in the letter.
The full letter can be found here.
JACKSON, MI – Consumers Energy is warning its customers about a phone scam that demands they pay their bill over the phone using a Green Dot prepaid credit card.
Reports of the scam have come from customers in Genesee County and the Grand Rapids area from callers who claim to represent Consumers Energy.
A typical scenario involves a caller demanding for a Consumer Energy bill payment to be made within an hour and telling the customer to buy a Green Dot prepaid credit card from a drug or food store. Customers are then instructed to call a toll-free number to pay the bills with these cards.
“Consumers Energy never demands payment using only a Green Dot card,” Michael Williams, the utility’s director of corporate security, said in a statement. “Customers who are bullied into paying by these imposters will lose their money. We urge customers to be alert to this scam, and never pay over the phone using a Green Dot card. Customers should never give money or personal information over the phone to anyone they do not know.”
Those who believe they have been a victim of this scam or have concerns should call Consumers Energy at (800) 477-5050. Visit www.consumersenergy.com/waystopay to glenview state bank review ways to pay for customers' utility bills.
Extra funding for energy assistance ends this month: How to get help
As the pandemic continues and unemployment remains high, the state is encouraging Michigan residents who are unable to pay their energy bills to seek help before they receive a shutoff notice or are almost out of propane or fuel oil, especially as winter approaches.
The state offers three programs to help people with utility assistance. The cap on one of them, the Michigan Energy Assistance Program, was raised from $2,000 to $3,000 per household but will go back down after Sept. 30.
The Michigan Public Service Commission and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said customers should first contact their energy provider or propane supplier for payment options or seek help from state assistance programs. DTE and Consumers offer payment plans and can connect people to additional assistance. Call DTE at 800-477-4747 and Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050 for options.
Here's how the state's programs work.
State Emergency Relief Program
The State Emergency Relief program helps low-income households pay part of their heating or electric bills and keep utilities in service or restore them. This program is available year round but due to the pandemic there have been several changes to the program:
Here are some of those changes and deadlines, according to a news release:
- Customers no longer have to go through a phone interview to apply. They can apply online at www.michigan.gov/mibridges or fill out a paper application, which can be find online at michigan.gov/mdhhs or at consumers energy pay bill over phone Michigan Consumers energy pay bill over phone of Health and Human Services offices.
- The state has suspended "one-time energy assists" meaning that customers can fidelity national loans more assistance if they have not reached their energy caps. These caps were increased from $1,200 to $1,500 for deliverable fuel customers and from $850 to $1,150 for customers usingnatural gas, electricity and wood. A family of five is eligible for the same amount of assistance as a family of two. This $300 increase is in effect until Sept. 30.
- Households can have up consumers energy pay bill over phone $15,000 in assets and still remain eligible for the program.
- Minimum payments toward energy services based on a household's size have been eliminated. MDHHS previously required that households make minimum payments in order to be eligible. Because of COVID-19, the minimum payment amount is now $0.
To apply go to MI Bridges at michigan.gov/mibridges. If you need help with the application or have questions, call 211 or go to mi211.org.
To be eligible, a household must not have income exceeding 150% of the federal poverty level. Energy services must be in "past-due or shut-off status." For those who heat their homes with deliverable fuel, their tank must be at or below 25% its capacity.
These requirements have not changed as a result of COVID-19, however MDHHS excludes the federal pandemic unemployment income when determining income eligibility, said Bob Wheaton, a spokesperson for MDHHS.
Michigan Energy Assistance Program
Households that qualify for State Emergency Relief program can also apply for a different state program called the Michigan Energy Assistance Program and receive additional assistance until the end of next month.
The program provides supplemental bill payment assistance and "self-sufficiency services," like energy needs assessments and waterproofing, for low-income residents statewide.
MEAP funding increased from $2,000 to $3,000 per household but will go back down after Sept. 30. Households can get the additional money if they have not reached the $3,000 cap yet.
For more information and help getting this money, customers can contact a MEAP provider. In Southeast Michigan these providers are: Society of St. Vincent de Paul of the Archdiocese of Detroit, The Heat and Warmth Fund, the Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division and United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
Connect with a provider during your MI Bridges SER application process by calling 211 or going to mi211.org.
Home Heating Credit
The Home Heating Credit program helps eligible homeowners and renters receive a credit to pay winter heating bills. The application deadline is Sept. 30.
More: President Donald Trump says Big Ten football might happen without Michigan, Michigan State
The Michigan Department of Treasury determines eligibility based on income, exemptions and heating costs. Households do not have to file a Michigan tax return to apply for this program.
The average homestead heating credit issued is $195. For those city bank lubbock texas phone number consumers energy pay bill over phone heating from DTE Energy, Consumers Energy or SEMCO Energy Gas, the credit may be sent directly to the provider.
Request the form from the Michigan Department of Treasury at 517-636-4486, online at michigan.gov/Treasury and search "home heating credit" or visit a local MDHHS office. The treasury department receives these claims.
What to expect from utility companies
Shut off protections implemented by DTE Energy and Consumers Energy have already expired or may end soon.
DTE Energy's voluntary moratorium on utility shutoffs for low-income residents and seniors ended July 29, after four months. Nonpayment disconnects have since resumed for commercial and residential customers.
More: Whitmer and Benson: Legislature's inaction risks integrity of November election
DTE says it is providing one-time balance reductions for people who don't qualify for debt forgiveness and is enrolling customers in energy efficiency programs to lower bills and offering custom payment plans.
Consumers Energy shutoff protections began March 16. Although these protections were extended due to the hot weather until further notice, "residential customers are still eligible for shutoff for nonpayment," said Katie Carey, director of media relations, for Consumers via email last week.
"We have not shut off a residential customer since the start of COVID-19. Now that summer is concluding, we have plans to resume the process, with a minimum of three but up to five customer notifications, while also looking at external factors such as weather, COVID and availability of additional federal assistance dollars."
How to get help
- Apply for State Emergency Relief Program and Michigan Energy Assistance Program online through MI Bridges at www.michigan.gov/mibridges. If you need help applying or navigating the application process, call 211 and ask for your local MEAP provider.
- For more information on the Home Heating Credit program call 517-636-4486 or go to michigan.gov/Treasury.
- Call DTE at 800-477-4747 to discuss setting up a Personalized Service Protection plan. For more information, go to dteenergy.com/covid19.
- Residential customers of Consumers Energy can call 800-477-5050 or go to ConsumersEnergy.com/coronavirus for payment plan options.
MEAP Providers in Southeast Michigan
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul of the Archdiocese of Detroit: 313-393-2930; svdpdetroit.org
- The Heat and Warmth Fund: 313-226-9465; thawfund.org
- The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division: 248-443-5500; salvationarmy.org
- United Way for Southeastern Michigan: 211; unitedwaysem.org
Online Guest Pay Terms & Conditions
By using Consumers Energy’s guest pay services online, provided by Paymentus Corporation, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions stated below.
Use of Third-Party Services
Please note that Consumers Energy does not accept payments through this process from collection agencies and third party agencies, and does not allow access to the Text (SMS) payment platform to any such agencies. By using the Text (SMS) payment platform, you represent and warrant that you are not a collection agency, third party agency, third party commercial payor, or a payment aggregator. You agree that any breach of this warranty constitutes a material breach of this agreement. You agree to (i) indemnify Consumers Energy for interchange fees, merchant fees, as well as all other costs and fees in processing a payment transaction in violation of this agreement, and (ii) indemnify Consumers Energy for all other damages, costs, expenses, and attorneys’ fees resulting from your breach of this agreement.
By Clicking on the "I agree to the terms and conditions", you agree to pay the chosen amount to be paid to Consumers Energy Company. All authorizations are subject to the agreements governing your credit or debit card. Under normal circumstances, there are no refunds on the payments processed through guest pay online. If there is a discrepancy, please contact us at (800) 477-5050 or [email protected] The payment transaction will only be completed after receiving successful authorization from your credit or debit card company for the total amount charged.
Looking for ways to save on your Consumers Energy bill? Stacy asked and we found answers! For more than 130 years, Consumers Energy has provided electricity to Michigan residents. Currently, over 6.6 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents receive their power through Consumers Energy.
Did you know that Consumers Energy can help you save money on your power bill?
Save Money Every Month on Your Consumers Energy Bill
Apply for the Home Heating Credit!
You don’t want to miss this! Qualifying Michigan renters and homeowners must apply by September 30, 2017.
You may claim the home heating credit if you meet ALL of the following criteria:
- You occupy a Michigan homestead
- You own your home or have a rental agreement
- You qualify based on income
- You were NOT a full-time student who was claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return
- You did NOT live in college or university housing for the entire year.
- You did NOT live in a licensed care facility for the entire year.
Income is calculated in one of two ways. You will use the Standard Credit chart if your income is within these limits, you’re claiming the heating for your Michigan home and you lived in Michigan for any amount of time during the year. You can use the Alternate Credit chart if you’d rather rely on heating costs to compute the amount of the home heating credit.
Click here for more information, including application instructions!
Apply for Helping Neighbors!
You can save a lot of money by improving the energy-efficiency of your home. After all, you’re paying for all that hot air that escapes through your walls, windows, doorways, roof and more. Energy efficiency stops the leaks and keeps more of that warm air in your home.
Although energy efficiency improvements can be expensive, the Helping Neighbors program will help you improve your energy efficiency absolutely FREE! The income guidelines for this program are very generous. A family of four can make $48,600! A family of 8 can make $81,780!
This program sends an energy expert to visit your home and assess your home’s energy efficiency. During the assessment, the expert will offer to complete FREE energy efficiency upgrades. These services may include insulating pipes or installing free LED bulbs and faucet aerators.
Are you renting? No problem! You may still be eligible to participate with consent from your landlord. To qualify, your building must have four or fewer connected units.
Do you qualify for an additional bill credit?
If you’re age 65 or older, you can receive a Senior Citizen credit on your Consumers Energy bill! This bill is equal to $3.50 per month. That’s $42/year!
If you meet the requirements for the Michigan Home Heating Credit, you can qualify for a $7 monthly credit toward your bill! That’s a savings of $84/year! If you receive natural gas services, you can also receive an $11.75 monthly credit ($141/year) on your natural gas bill!
Unfortunately, you can only receive one of these two credits at a time.
Choose your ideal rate plan.
Consumers Energy allows customers to choose the rate plan that best suits their needs. Most consumers are on the Electric Residential Service Rate plan. You can confirm this by finding the code 1000 on the back of your bill.
But you could potentially have a cheaper option!
With the Time of Use Rate, you save money by using electricity when demand is low. This plan works by shifting your electricity use from high-demand times (like summer afternoons) to low-demand times (like evenings and weekends). If you can wait to run your dishwasher, your laundry machines and other high-demand appliances, consumers energy pay bill over phone might be able to save money! There are two Time of Use programs that could save you money. Get the details here!
Avoid unpredictably high bills throughout the year.
Like most companies, Consumers Energy offers a convenient budget billing program that helps you level out your seasonal bills. When you enroll in the Budget Plan, Consumers Energy will estimate your annual usage and divide into twelve equal payments. The average amount is about $100/month for electric service and $57/month for natural gas service.
At the end of the year, your last bill will include the difference between what you used and what you paid for. You may owe a balance or you may receive a credit toward your next bill. Your next Budget Plan payment will be adjusted accordingly.
Avoid a Crisis with these Helpful Consumers Energy Programs
Avoid service shut-offs.
If you’ve been living the low income life very long, you’ve probably experienced a dreaded disconnection visit from the utility company. It’s one of the worst feelings ever. Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid a shut-off from Consumers Energy.
Your Consumers Energy power cannot be shut off in the following situations:
- You didn’t pay for merchandise, appliances or services OTHER than your electric bill.
- You dispute an unpaid bill.
- You or your spouse renasant bank routing number albany ga called to full-time active military service.
- You are a Critical Care Customer or have a qualifying medical emergency.
- You are enrolled in the Winter Protection Plan or Shut-off Protection Plan.
If you (or your spouse) are called to active full-time military service, you’ll need to submit verification to Consumers Energy. Once the verification is received, you’ll be protected against shut-off for 90 days. As long as you’re still on active duty, you can extend this for at least one more 90 day period. However, you’ll need to notify Consumers Energy of your change of status as soon as you leave active duty. You’ll still be required to pay for the energy used during this time but a payment arrangement can be made to pay the balance over the course of a year.
If you have a qualifying medical emergency, you can be protected from shut-off for up to 21 days. You’ll need to submit written proof from a medical professional or public health official that a disconnection would aggravate your existing condition. You can re-certify your emergency and extend the shut-off by another 21 days. However, after 63 days, they can and likely will shut your service off. The utility is not required to offer more than 126 days of extension per year.
You will be declared a Critical Care Customer if a physician or medical facility verifies that someone who resides at your address relies on home medical equipment or a life support system and that an interruption of electrical service would be immediately life-threatening.
You can also delay a shut-off if you are a low income customer seeking emergency assistance from an energy assistance program. If you’re looking for resources to help you pay your bill, please notify Consumers Energy immediately so they don’t terminate your service!
If you’re a senior or low income customer, you can enroll in the Winter Protection Plan. With this plan, you’re required to pay about 7% of your annual usage per month and apply for state/federal heating assistance. This rate lasts from November 1 to March 31. In April, the bill will be finalized and you’ll receive new arrangements to help you pay the remaining balance before the next protection period begins.
The Shut-off Protection Plan offers year-round protection from disconnection. To enroll, you’ll have to pay an initial down payment. After that, you’ll pay equal monthly amounts calculated based on your expected usage and a portion of your past due balance.
Apply for the Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE) Program!
With the CARE Program, you can save money on your monthly bills, receive payment rewards and so much more. The CARE Program provides forgiveness for past-due bills (less than $2,000), lowering your monthly payment and energy efficiency improvements.
To qualify, you must meet the following requirements:
Please be aware that enrollment opens in October. You’ll want to enroll as quickly as possible since enrollment is limited.
Get emergency assistance from other agencies.
If you need additional help, you may be able to receive help from the following agencies:
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services provides State Emergency Relief provides up to $850 per energy service (or $1,700 for combined gas and electric) to eligible customers who have past due balances. You can apply online at mibridges.michigan.gov. This program operates between November 1 and May 31.
Depending on the amount of available funds, you may also be able to receive help from the following agencies:
- The Salvation Army: (855)929-1640.
- TrueNorth Community Services: (855) 300-8013.
- THAW: (800) 866-8429.
- Michigan Community Action Agencies: Click here to apply.
- St Vincent de Paul: (877) 788-4623
Have too much month at the end of your money? Me too - and that's how Low Income Relief got started. I have over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Over the years, I've worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. My work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow.com, Livestrong.com, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), The Chronicle (Centralia, WA) and others. At Low Income Relief, I use my professional research and reporting experience to help low income families save money and make ends meet. It's been my full-time job since 2016, and it's truly an honor to serve you.
Consumer Energy Phone Number
Dial the 800 number below to speak with customer support representative. Get help with consumers energy pay bill over phone account, new service, power outages, bill pay questions etc. When you call, you will be asked the questions below.
- Hi. Welcome to Consumer Energy. Your call will be recorded consumers energy pay bill over phone monitored to ensure high quality service.
- For a gas leak, wire down, carbon monoxide emergency, or a fire, press 9 now.
- If you are calling for your home or residential account, say “home” or consumers energy pay bill over phone 1.
- Option 1
- To report an electric outage or to get an outage update, say “outage” or press 1.
- To make a payment over the phone, say “payment” or press 2.
- For account information, payment arrangements, or other billing matters, say “billing” or press 3.
- To start, stop or transfer service, say “move” or press 4.
- For appliance repair or appliance service plan, say consumers energy pay bill over phone or press 5.
- For all other matters, say “other” or press 6.
- If you are calling for your landlord or business account, say “business” or press 2.
- To report an emergency, say “emergency” or press 1.
- To report an outage or electrical problem, say “outage” or press 2.
- To get consumers energy pay bill over phone information by validating your Tax ID, say “Tax ID” or press 3.
- To access more information using your account number, say “account” or press 4.
- For your home or residential account, say “home” or press 5.