GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Around 18,000 DTE Energy customers across the state are overdue for their indoor meter inspections and are at risk of having their services shut off, the utility says.

DTE Director of Greater Michigan Gas Operations Scotty Kehoe said the company still utilizes more than 80,000 indoor meters throughout Michigan. The Michigan Public Service Commission requires the utility company to physically inspect those meters once every three years.

“Our meter assembly checks on our inside meters ensure that we have the quality, the safety and the reliability of our system,” Kehoe said.

Kehoe says that the meter assembly check — or MAC — process is simple and should only take crews about 15 minutes. The most difficult part is reaching the customers who are overdue.

“We have 18, 000 meters that are currently expired that need the meter assembly checks,” Kehoe said. “Every year, additional meters expire, so our goal is to keep inspecting those as they expire, ensure that safety and reliability of our product for our customers, and then get to the next batch the next year as they expire.”

DTE says it has tried reaching those 18,000 people by phone, mail and door unsuccessfully.

The routine MAC inspections are free but if the company is unable to reach the overdue customers, it is forced to stop service by cutting the gas line at the street. Restoring that disrupted service could cost the customer thousands of dollars and leave them without natural gas for a week or more.

“Our first and foremost goal is if you’ve received notification that you have a meter assembly check, a MAC inspection, due, it is critically important that you contact DTE on the number that’s on the documentation and notify us and schedule that appointment with us to gain access,” Kehoe said. “That prevents our need to discontinue service and then have the carrying cost and burden of being without service and the potential cost of a reconnect.”

The company is imploring its customers to respond to the notifications they have received about an overdue inspection. If you got one, you can call 877.853.9434 to find a time that works to have your meter checked.

Kehoe added that anyone who knocks on a customer’s door from DTE or its contractor, RECONN, will have proper identification and documentation of the services that need to be performed.