GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Consumers Energy customers statewide have recently been confused by statements showing a $0 balance in what the power company is calling a "billing error."
Many bills for residential customers across Michigan show they don't owe the company any money when, in fact, they do have an outstanding balance.
"It looks like you don't owe anything, but unfortunately that's an error on our part," spokesman Roger Morgenstern told 24 Hour News 8 Monday. "You still owe us the money."
Consumers started hearing about the problem from customers in the last couple of weeks, Morgenstern said. It's not yet known exactly how many people are affected.
"I don't know if it's 5,000 or 50,000. I really don't know," Morgenstern said.
The problem appears statewide, is affecting both gas and electricity services, and appears to be affecting only residential customers on a payment plan. Commercial customers do not appear to be affected at this point.
The problem appears to be with billing software, but Consumers still hasn't tracked down exactly what caused it. The company does not believe the problem to have originated with any sort of hack and Morgenstern said customer information is not at risk.
The company is in contact with software providers.
"This is our error and we're working to correct it," Morgenstern said.
Consumers is promising that customers who do not pay their bill this month because their account shows a $0 balance will not incur late fees and will not be reported to any credit agencies.
However, customers are eventually going to owe the payment. It will be adjusted into the next payment period.
Customers are asked to send a check for their normal monthly payment to:
Lansing, Michigan 48937-0001
That address does not have a street number or name or PO Box number.
Payment can also be made at any Consumers payment center.
24 Hour News 8's Steve Kelso contributed to this story.
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